Paying Them to Kill You
Economic engagement with tyrants has long been proffered, by “conservatives” and “liberals” alike, as a way to moderate the tyrant’s aggression while serving your own national interests by opening up new markets. In the end, you will win short-term financial gains at the price of giving the tyrant an artificial economic, technological (aka military), and legitimacy boost he could never have achieved without the accommodation of productive free countries willing to turn a blind eye to his atrocities and threats for the sake of their own supposed national self-interests. A tyranny, precisely to the extent of its oppressiveness (i.e., its willingness to stifle rational thought for the sake of power), will of necessity be unproductive and therefore self-starving. Thus, for free nations to engage with such entities economically, signing trade deals and opening their “markets” to your goods and scientific advances, amounts to nothing but feeding the sickly monster in the cellar until it eventually becomes, entirely through your pragmatic assistance, along with a measure of self-deluding good faith, just strong and healthy enough to eat your children.
The problem, to be clear, is not the free nation’s pursuit of its national self-interest, but rather its fallacious identification of that national interest with mere immediate material opportunity, regardless of the cost in other, and ultimately more precious, goods. The past century has demonstrated this lesson many times over, a lesson that has nevertheless been repeatedly unlearned or ignored as a matter of convenience, due to the intoxicating allure of cash. In the official name of softening the beast, but in the true name of shortsighted financial advantage, we throw a continual lifeline to global malefactors whose threats would never grow as strong, and would shrink to nothingness far more quickly, if they were left to fend for themselves — left, due to the unproductive irrationality of their institutions, to wither and die, most likely at the hands of their own enslaved people, as tyrants typically do, unless saved by a grand illusion of tenable governance manufactured and sustained on behalf of the tyrants by the interests of foreign greed and democratic benightedness.