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Lifting Sanctions Against Syria?

"With American goods already flooding Damascus, analysts say lifting restrictions will help counter Iran's influence," writes the Christian Science Monitor:

Provided that goods are not manufactured in the US or produced with more than 10 percent of American content, both increasingly the case with the globalization of production, American companies are not restricted from selling goods in Syria although the goods are not then classified as American. "Typically you have Ford cars inside the market. When they opened the showroom you had people from the US embassy attending. Ford cars are manufactured in Germany, not the US, so they are not banned from being exported here," says Syrian economist Jihad Yazigi.


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Pamela on :

If people understood what General Electric is (legally) doing trading with Iran, they'd be apoplectic. It is really just very difficult to write regulations that cover these situations without shutting down trade completely, and if you tried to enforce it the cost of doing business would be prohibitive. I'm not sure it's such a bad thing, either. I'd much rather the Syrian's get a chance to compare American-branded products against, say, products from........France. (sorry, couldn't resist)

Kyle - Atlantic Review on :

The level of trade cut off is only one measure of sanctions success, and perhaps not the most important. Sanctions also send a powerful symbolic message of disapproval for Syrian policies. The real question is whether or not the sanctions will actually encourage Syria to change its policies. Doubtful, and further doubtful that a full "successful" cut off of American imports to Syria would be more likely to bring about favorable policy change in the country.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"a powerful symbolic message of disapproval for Syrian policies." I got two somewhat contradictory responses to that: 1. Does Assad really care about "symbolic messages"? 2. Assuming that symbolic messages are important: Perhaps this backfires. The rogue states could develop some pride in this label. Perhaps there is even some solidarity among rogue states because of the United States' frequent use of this label as well as this axis of evil rhetoric. See for instance the arguments in this Op-Ed: [b][url=][u]Western Woes and Rogue Pride[/u][/url][/b]

Kyle Atwell on :

Thanks for link, Joerg. You bring up great points. "Does Assad really care about "symbolic messages"?" I do not think Syria wants to be known as a "rogue nation", because it does not want its trade relations with the US or any western country or bank compromised. "Symbolic messages" lead to uncertainty for Syria's economic future, which in turn scares away investors and trade partners. However, I also do not think these symbolic messages will have enough effect for Syria to change its policies, especially since trade seems to be doing so well. As for "solidarity among rogue nations," I doubt this is the case beyond rhetorical backlashes from rogue partners. The "rogue" nations will continue to seek out partnerships that provide economic or security gains, whether their partners be other rogue nations or the US itself.

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