Posts

Showing posts from January, 2019

Support for US Iran policy out of left field: China dramatically reduces trade with Tehran

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr
China has dramatically reduced its trade with Iran in line with US sanctions, raising questions whether Iran will remain committed to an international agreement that puts severe limits on its nuclear endeavours.
Reduced Chinese trade also suggests that Iran is likely to face increased obstacles as it seeks to blunt the impact of the harsh US sanctions imposed last year in a bid to force the Islamic republic to change its regional and defense policy.
China’s apparent willingness to accommodate the sanctions is remarkable given Beijing’s declared efforts to salvage the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program as well as its escalating trade and technology dispute with the United States.
Bourse & Bazaar, a self-described media and business diplomacy company operated by Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, the founder of the Europe-Iran Forum, disclosed …

Black swans haunt Eurasia’s Great Game

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
The battle lines in the 21st century’s Great Game aimed at shaping the creation of a new Eurasia-centred world, built on the likely fusion of Europe and Asia into what former Portuguese Europe minister Bruno Macaes calls a “supercontinent,” are all but cast in cement.
For now, the Great Game pits China together with Russia, Turkey and Iran against the United States, India, Japan and Australia. The two camps compete for influence, if not dominance, in a swath of land that stretches from the China Sea to the Atlantic coast of Europe.
The flashpoints are multiple. They range from the China Sea to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Central European nations and, most recently, far beyond with Russia, China and Turkey supporting embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
The rivalry resembles Risk, a popular game of diplomacy, conflict and conquest pla…

Players’ Skewed Maps complicate Eurasia’s 21st Century Great Game

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
The United States and China are playing Eurasia’s 21st century Great Game from different but equally skewed maps. While the US map appears to be outdated, the Chinese map portrays a reality that is imagined.
If the skewed realities of both China and the United States have one thing in common, it is in strategist Parag Khanna’s mind the fact that neither realizes that the Great Game’s prize, a new world order, has already been determined.
“We are living – for the first time ever -- in a truly multipolar and multicivilizational order in which North America, Europe and Asia each represents a major share of power,” Mr. Khanna says in his just published book, The Future is Asian.
While the United States sees the Great Game as an as yet open-ended battle for influence in Europe and Asia and looks at Russia as a European rather than a Eurasian power, China overestima…

Shaping the new world order: The battle for human rights

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
China is leading the charge in a bid to undermine accepted concepts of human rights accountability and justice.
The Chinese effort backed by autocrats elsewhere has turned human rights into an underrated, yet crucial battleground in the shaping of a new world order.
China is manoeuvring against the backdrop of an unprecedented crackdown on Turkic Muslims in its north-western province of Xinjiang, the accelerated rollout of restrictions elsewhere in the country, and the export of key elements of its model of a 21st century Orwellian surveillance state.
The Chinese effort, highlighted in Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2019, is multipronged.
It involves proposals to alter the principles on which United Nations Human Rights Council operates in ways that would enable repressive, autocratic regimes.
To achieve its goal, China is employing its financial muscle an…

JMD on NBN: Jonathan Fulton, China's Relations with the Gulf Monarchies

Image
JONATHAN FULTON China's Relations with the Gulf Monarchies ROUTLEDGE 2018
January 17, 2019  By James M. Dorsey

Jonathan Fulton‘s China’s Relations with the Gulf Monarchies (Routledge, 2018) sheds light on China’s increasing economic role at a moment that the traditionally dominant role in international oil markets of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil producers is changing as a result of the United States having become more or less self-sufficient, China replacing the US as the Gulf’s foremost export market, and members of the Organization of Oil-Producing Export Countries (OPEC) becoming increasingly dependent on non-OPEC producers like Russia to manipulate prices and regulate supply demand. Fulton’s book is also a timely contribution to discussion of the changing global balance of power as Gulf states increasingly see the United States as an unreliable and unpredictable ally. In describing China-Gulf relations as one of “deep inter-dependence,” Fulton charts with three case studies – Sa…

Inside the Bellway: Iran hardliners vs Iran hardliners

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
Alarm bells went off last September in Washington's corridors of power when John Bolton’s national security council asked the Pentagon for options for military strikes against Iran.  
The council’s request was in response to three missiles fired by an Iranian-backed militia that landed in an empty lot close to the US embassy in Baghdad and the firing of rockets by unidentified militants close to the US consulate in the Iraqi port city of Basra.
“We have told the Islamic Republic of Iran that using a proxy force to attack an American interest will not prevent us from responding against the prime actor,” Mr. Bolton said at the time.
Commenting on the council’s request, a former US official noted that “people were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
Then US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, like Mr. Bolton an Iran hawk, worried …