Key Points

Washington should thus welcome Doha’s move and encourage it to issue a clear condemnation of Beijing’s abuses, while mobilizing others in the Arab world to do the same. Moreover, the U.S. should push other Gulf states to follow suit in withdrawing their endorsement of Beijing. With China’s repression steadily worsening, Washington’s Gulf allies have an opportunity to demonstrate real solidarity with fellow Muslims. Finally, the secretary of state should encourage the president himself to speak out on this issue, so Beijing understands that the U.S. government stands united against these grave violations.

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Andrea Stricker is a research fellow at FDD where she conducts research on nonproliferation, Iran, North Korea, and other security policy topics.

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If the United States truly wants to apply the maximum pressure its strategy calls for, then Washington should move quickly to cut Tehran’s polyethylene exports, especially those to China. As a first step, the U.S. Treasury should reiterate that polyethylene imports are prohibited, and should add to its sanctions list the Iranian companies that produce the chemical. Despite the blanket industry sanctions, the majority of Iranian petrochemical companies are not on the list. Next, Washington should discuss with China and other importers how they could find alternate sources of polyethylene. If China demonstrates a willingness to cooperate, the U.S. can follow the precedent it set regarding crude oil, whereby it facilitated a transition to new sources of supply by issuing temporary waivers that approved the continuation of imports at a reduced level. If Chinese firms resist – as some of them have in the case of crude oil – Treasury should punish them to demonstrate that a failure to comply has significant costs.

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Clifford D. May is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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Bradley Bowman is senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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EVENT: Instruments of American Power: Implementing Foreign Policies and Protecting Against Global Threats

October 10, 2019 | 12:00

EVENT: Securing the Courts: Exploitation of the Judicial System by Foreign Adversaries

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