The Reactions

The problem with this US tactic is that the countries targeted by this policy immediately look for alternative ways to pursue their trade despite these restrictions. In many cases, the US crackdown has made it easy to find these solutions and they are now undermining the US-dominated global trading system.

China, in particular, is currently trying to build new systems on all fronts. This includes payment transactions with countries such as North Korea or Iran via Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. In addition, the country is increasingly trying to enforce its own standards in international trade, especially in the areas that are connected to the Belt and Road Initiative.

The country is also using such tactics vis-à-vis Iran, with which China recently concluded an agreement on certain trade provisions. For example, the Chuxin Bank was founded specifically for Chinese-Iranian trade. In this way, both countries have created a way to circumvent the US-controlled SWIFT payment system. Similar attempts have been made by European countries in their attempt to circumvent the sanctions imposed by the US on companies trading with Iran.

Basically, the tactic of maximum pressure was chosen at a wrong time. If it had been used 20 years ago, the US would still have had the means to impose its will globally. Now, however, with China as a rising power and the ever-diverging strategies and views of individual US presidents, enough other countries have the capabilities to withstand US pressure while still strengthening their own position.

As it is, however, it has only led to a weakening of the USA.

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