China’s recent threat to impose sanctions on U.S. defense companies that sell arms to Taiwan should come as no surprise to American officials or corporate executives: Washington has been issuing sanctions of these sorts for years. It was only a matter of time before U.S. competitors started copying its tactics. Regardless of whether China follows through on its threat, Washington needs to be ready for a new normal in which the United States must defend against sanctions as well as impose them.

China is taking a page from the sanctions playbook Washington developed against Iran. Between 2010 and 2015, the United States effectively gave companies a choice: If they did prohibited business with Iran, like buying oil, they would get cut off from doing any business in the United States. Forced to choose between access to the world’s most important financial system and an Iranian market less than 1/30th the size, most companies stuck with Washington and avoided Tehran. FULL REPORT