And Now the China-Iran Alliance

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Sertorio
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And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by Sertorio » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:57 am

Iran & China ink 25-year strategic partnership accord
27 Mar, 2021
https://www.rt.com/news/519382-iran-chi ... agreement/

A cooperation deal between Iran and China covering a quarter of a century has been signed in Tehran, furthering Iran’s role in the Chinese global infrastructure initiative. Both nations are being targeted by US sanctions.

The landmark document was signed during a televised ceremony by visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. The document was described by the Iranian side as “a complete roadmap with strategic political and economic clauses covering trade, economic and transportation cooperation.”

The Chinese minister hailed Iran’s independence of foreign policy, according to Iranian media, saying that it “is not like some countries that change their position with one phone call.”

Wang arrived in Iran on Friday for a series of meetings with top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and Ali Larijani, the ex-speaker of the parliament and a senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The visit marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Beijing and is part of a larger tour across the Middle East by the top Chinese diplomat.

The Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was first announced in January 2016 during a visit to Tehran by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The agreement is touted as securing Iran’s participation in China’s Belt and Road initiative, which is aimed at diversifying trade routes between China and its key partners through ambitious infrastructure projects in various countries.

The visit coincided with an incident in the Suez Canal, which is currently blocked by a mammoth container ship that ran across it earlier this week. The waterway is a major trade route, so its unavailability for maritime traffic gives weight to the Chinese trade diversification effort.

China is a major trade partner for Iran. Both countries are also targeted by the US, which accuses them of human rights violations and has slapped them with various sanctions. Iran in particular was subjected to crippling economic sanctions under the administration of US President Donald Trump, who opted for a so-called “maximum pressure campaign” against Tehran, threatening other nations in order to stop them from doing business with Iran.

As part of the policy, Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, which involves Iran and major world powers, including China. Tehran was offered a relief of international sanctions and profitable business opportunities in exchange for agreeing to restrict its nuclear industry.

Iran started gradually reneging on its part of the bargain a year after Trump’s demarche, saying the steps were meant to leverage the European signatories of the deal into shielding Iran from Washington’s sanctions and thus deliver the promised benefits. The Biden administration said it wanted to return to the agreement, but it has refused to do so until Iran fully complies with it again.
Insulting China not only does not bring any benefits to the US but it encourages the development of a network of alliances which will slowly squeeze the US out of Asia and the Middle East, with the exception of Israel and Japan. A strategic alliance of Russia, China and Iran will make sure that nothing the US will try in Asia or the ME will work. The Empire is just about finished.

Ellen
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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by Ellen » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:16 am

Sertorio,

Your conclusion is ridiculous. There are a whole slew of nations in Asia and the Middle East that oppose Chinese domination, and will create a countervailing force to do so more effectively in the future. They will not have a choice if they don't want to become subjects of a new Chinese Empire.

As for Iran and Russia, they are both declining powers. Russia can and will survive and as a relatively poor, and increasingly technologically backward society whose only strong card is threatening its neighbors militarily. But, even this will fade after Putin retires or resigns due to ill health (there are rumors he has Parkinson's Disease).

Without Putin's master skills at politics, bullying, and manipulation, Russia will go back to what it was in the 19th century.

Iran will continue its 42 year decline, with or without Chinese investment, for the simple reason that its ideology is bankrupt. The younger generation in Iran mostly doesn't even identify with Shiism anymore, according to recent public opinion polls, let alone with a theocratic government devoted to destroying its neighbors and threatening Israel. When the Ayatollah dies, there will be a shakeup and change in Iran.

Don't be too surprised if the Chinese level of investment in Iran is far less than what this announcement suggests. The Chinese are not going to throw good money into the Islamic rathole, where it will be used to occupy and destroy Arab countries rather than promote economic development. By the way, the Chinese are also investing in Israeli hi-tech industry, which over time will amount to more money than what they are likely to spend in Iran. Do you think the Chinese will willingly invest money in Israel, knowing that their investments in Iran are likely to be used to launch attacks on Israel? I don't think the Chinese are that stupid.

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Sertorio
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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by Sertorio » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:48 am

Ellen wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:16 am
Sertorio,

Your conclusion is ridiculous. There are a whole slew of nations in Asia and the Middle East that oppose Chinese domination, and will create a countervailing force to do so more effectively in the future. They will not have a choice if they don't want to become subjects of a new Chinese Empire.

As for Iran and Russia, they are both declining powers. Russia can and will survive and as a relatively poor, and increasingly technologically backward society whose only strong card is threatening its neighbors militarily. But, even this will fade after Putin retires or resigns due to ill health (there are rumors he has Parkinson's Disease).

Without Putin's master skills at politics, bullying, and manipulation, Russia will go back to what it was in the 19th century.

Iran will continue its 42 year decline, with or without Chinese investment, for the simple reason that its ideology is bankrupt. The younger generation in Iran mostly doesn't even identify with Shiism anymore, according to recent public opinion polls, let alone with a theocratic government devoted to destroying its neighbors and threatening Israel. When the Ayatollah dies, there will be a shakeup and change in Iran.

Don't be too surprised if the Chinese level of investment in Iran is far less than what this announcement suggests. The Chinese are not going to throw good money into the Islamic rathole, where it will be used to occupy and destroy Arab countries rather than promote economic development. By the way, the Chinese are also investing in Israeli hi-tech industry, which over time will amount to more money than what they are likely to spend in Iran. Do you think the Chinese will willingly invest money in Israel, knowing that their investments in Iran are likely to be used to launch attacks on Israel? I don't think the Chinese are that stupid.
I find it a bit scary that some people may believe all this nonsense.

1. Russia is now richer than at any time in its history, people live better and are happier with their country's economy and government than ever before. Their technology is doing fine, as we see in the quality of their military equipment. Believing otherwise is opening the door to adventures which are likely to strongly backfire.

2. Iran's ideology may be appalling but Iran has resisted pretty well to the massive American sanctions, its armed forces are capable of inflicting serious damage to any potential aggressor and, if necessary, it will quickly develop a military nuclear capability. Messing with Iran could become very costly.

I sincerely hope neither the US nor Israel will make the mistake of underestimating their adversaries. If they do, they may not live to see the consequences...

You would do well to read the latest Spengler article:

https://asiatimes.com/2021/03/china-sho ... ddle-east/

neverfail
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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by neverfail » Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:16 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:48 am

I find it a bit scary that some people may believe all this nonsense.
:lol: Well Sertorio - as Casso and I keep on trying to tell you, your perspicacity likewise gives us cause for concern. :)
1. Russia is now richer than at any time in its history, ...
Thats still not saying much as by the beginning of this century they started from such a low base. Further, by now they would (despite this) probably be enjoying better living standards by now were it not for the gangsters and oligarchs skimming off enormous amounts of the country's GDP and depositing it in secret private bank accounts in Cyprus - a favourite foreign hangout for this class of Russian. But then; for whose benefit is Putin running Russia anyway?
Their technology is doing fine, as we see in the quality of their military equipment.
The USSR was noted for turning out high quality weaponary as well as participating in the space race while the general public suffered routine shortages of even the most basic consumer goods and depressed living standards. Some things never change.

(Not in Russia.)
2. Iran's ideology may be appalling but Iran has resisted pretty well to the massive American sanctions, its armed forces are capable of inflicting serious damage to any potential aggressor and, if necessary, it will quickly develop a military nuclear capability. Messing with Iran could become very costly.
When since their 1979-80 revolution that turned the Shah's Iran into the Islamic Republic have their armed forces ever been seriously tested? Only during the 1980's decade when Saddam Hussein, scared that Iran's example would provide food for thought for members of his own country's Shia majority population used the Iraqi armed forces to invade Iran. To oppose the invaders Tehran could not even afford to employ the regular army inherited from the Shah's time (professional and lavishly armed with the best US weaponary) out of fear that if these won victories over the Iraqis it would accord them hero status that likely would jeopardise the power of the Ayatollahs. So they cobbled together their Republican Guards militia out of the country's youth and threw these in massed attacks to foil and repel the invaders.

After years of fighting these Revolutionary guard units turned the invader back so the fighting shifted from Iranian on to Iraqi territory. It was a pyrrhic victory - casualties on the Iranian side were three times as high as on the Iraqi. I am also convinced that this pushback was likely helped by poor fighting morale on the Iraqi side: a typical Iraqi soldier was a Shia conscript with no particular incentive to place his life on the line fighting for Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime.

I do not know whether members of Iran's revolutionary guards would have the same sort of fighting spirit as the generation who fought in the 1980's; especially if the foreign adversary offered the prospect of regime change in Iran - to go by the information provided by Ellen (above). Probably not!

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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by Ellen » Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:17 am

In addition, I just read an article that claims the Chinese are investing more money in the Arab Gulf states than their vague (and probably meaningless) promise to invest in Iran. What does that tell us about the long game that China is playing. Unlike US foreign policy, the Chinese foreign policy is aimed at the long-term, not short term gratification or advantage.

Would the clever Chinese be investing loads of money in the Arab oil states being threatened by Iran, if they thought Iran would be stupid enough to attack and destroy these largely defenseless states. (Why defenseless? Because the US will no longer fight wars on behalf of these monarchies, it is quite clear. And Israel will never do so either, in spite of the new alliance system). Of course not. The Chinese may very well issue a very strong diktat to the Mullahs. If you continue to attack the Arab Gulf states, we will not invest one yuan in your economy. Our investment is predicated on you coming to some sort of neighborly coexistence arrangement with the Sunni states to the south. Chinese threats are likely to focus the minds of the Mullahs more effectively than American threats, because the theocrats have no one else to turn to for foreign investment. Russia is an investment pygmy. As NF points out, the capital flight from Russia goes to London and Cyprus, not countries like Syria and Iran. Sorry comrades.

Regarding your threat of Iranian attack on Israel and its likely consequence, spare us your delirious fantasies of the demise of the Jewish state. How many years of such gibberish have we listened to coming from Arab mouths, and what has been the consequence? The Arab states live in self-inflicted (or Iranian-inflicted) ruin, and Israel is the preeminent military power in the MidEast. Israel has been bombing and blowing up via cyber and espionage Iranian targets in 4 countries (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran) now for the past 3 years, and what has been the Iranian reaction? Absolutely nothing, except attacking Saudi Arabia and US troops in Iraq. The Iranians know very well that their regime life expectancy will drop to zero if they inflict significant damage on Israel. Even martyrdom-loving Soleimani was unwilling to directly attack Israel in any significant way. This is called DETERENCE.

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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by Sertorio » Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:53 am

Ellen wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:17 am
In addition, I just read an article that claims the Chinese are investing more money in the Arab Gulf states than their vague (and probably meaningless) promise to invest in Iran. What does that tell us about the long game that China is playing. Unlike US foreign policy, the Chinese foreign policy is aimed at the long-term, not short term gratification or advantage.

Would the clever Chinese be investing loads of money in the Arab oil states being threatened by Iran, if they thought Iran would be stupid enough to attack and destroy these largely defenseless states. (Why defenseless? Because the US will no longer fight wars on behalf of these monarchies, it is quite clear. And Israel will never do so either, in spite of the new alliance system). Of course not. The Chinese may very well issue a very strong diktat to the Mullahs. If you continue to attack the Arab Gulf states, we will not invest one yuan in your economy. Our investment is predicated on you coming to some sort of neighborly coexistence arrangement with the Sunni states to the south. Chinese threats are likely to focus the minds of the Mullahs more effectively than American threats, because the theocrats have no one else to turn to for foreign investment. Russia is an investment pygmy. As NF points out, the capital flight from Russia goes to London and Cyprus, not countries like Syria and Iran. Sorry comrades.

Regarding your threat of Iranian attack on Israel and its likely consequence, spare us your delirious fantasies of the demise of the Jewish state. How many years of such gibberish have we listened to coming from Arab mouths, and what has been the consequence? The Arab states live in self-inflicted (or Iranian-inflicted) ruin, and Israel is the preeminent military power in the MidEast. Israel has been bombing and blowing up via cyber and espionage Iranian targets in 4 countries (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran) now for the past 3 years, and what has been the Iranian reaction? Absolutely nothing, except attacking Saudi Arabia and US troops in Iraq. The Iranians know very well that their regime life expectancy will drop to zero if they inflict significant damage on Israel. Even martyrdom-loving Soleimani was unwilling to directly attack Israel in any significant way. This is called DETERENCE.
You didn't mention Goldman's article

https://asiatimes.com/2021/03/china-sho ... ddle-east/

I wonder why...

And, like China, Iran wants to be left in peace, not to interfere in other countries affairs. Iranians are Persian, not Arab, so why would they want to mess with the local Arabs as long as they are left alone? And Iran knows very well that it will not be able to expel Jews from Israel. All it wants, I presume, is recovering control over Muslim holly places in Jerusalem. If Israel promised that, Iran would recognize Israel in the next minute.

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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by neverfail » Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:19 pm

Ellen wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:17 am
In addition, I just read an article that claims the Chinese are investing more money in the Arab Gulf states than their vague (and probably meaningless) promise to invest in Iran. What does that tell us about the long game that China is playing. Unlike US foreign policy, the Chinese foreign policy is aimed at the long-term, not short term gratification or advantage.
The Chinese might invest in the Gulf States for profit and in Israel to become privy to its high technology (for the purpose of advancing their own high tech - I hope that Mossad is good at guarding Israel's cyber state secrets). But might I suggest that (under state directive) the PRC does not always invest money abroad specifically to turn a pecunary profit.

For instance they have poured enough money into Pakistan that it is unlikely that they will ever get more than a fraction of it back: but should they care? They have obtained as collatoral the port of Gwadar located strategically close to the Gulf of Oman. They have got Erdowan's Turkey hooked on PRC "loans" to stave off insolvency - western lenders by now would likely regard Turkey as too great a risk to confidently lend to any more. Iran? Apart from being in a position to lever Iran into supplying China with cut-price crude there is also the added attraction that Iran forms a terrestial bridge between their dependency of Pakistan and soon-to-be client state Turkey.

Since loending institutions in the West operate strictly on a profit-loss basis the USA and other Western powers cannot compete with the PRC in this game of entrapment. The PRC has the field all to itself.

See the geostrategic pattern?

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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by Sertorio » Mon Mar 29, 2021 4:01 pm

neverfail wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:19 pm
Ellen wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:17 am
In addition, I just read an article that claims the Chinese are investing more money in the Arab Gulf states than their vague (and probably meaningless) promise to invest in Iran. What does that tell us about the long game that China is playing. Unlike US foreign policy, the Chinese foreign policy is aimed at the long-term, not short term gratification or advantage.
The Chinese might invest in the Gulf States for profit and in Israel to become privy to its high technology (for the purpose of advancing their own high tech - I hope that Mossad is good at guarding Israel's cyber state secrets). But might I suggest that (under state directive) the PRC does not always invest money abroad specifically to turn a pecunary profit.

For instance they have poured enough money into Pakistan that it is unlikely that they will ever get more than a fraction of it back: but should they care? They have obtained as collatoral the port of Gwadar located strategically close to the Gulf of Oman. They have got Erdowan's Turkey hooked on PRC "loans" to stave off insolvency - western lenders by now would likely regard Turkey as too great a risk to confidently lend to any more. Iran? Apart from being in a position to lever Iran into supplying China with cut-price crude there is also the added attraction that Iran forms a terrestial bridge between their dependency of Pakistan and soon-to-be client state Turkey.

Since loending institutions in the West operate strictly on a profit-loss basis the USA and other Western powers cannot compete with the PRC in this game of entrapment. The PRC has the field all to itself.

See the geostrategic pattern?
What you seem to be thinking is that China is doing now what the US has been doing for many decades. There is however a difference: the Chinese are a lot smarter than the Americans, and they will further their interests without trying to make vassals out of the people they are dealing with.

Ellen
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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by Ellen » Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:41 pm

"What you seem to be thinking is that China is doing now what the US has been doing for many decades. There is however a difference: the Chinese are a lot smarter than the Americans, and they will further their interests without trying to make vassals out of the people they are dealing with."

You haven't been to Asia lately, clearly. I was in Vietnam a few years ago, and they feel very much like vassals. The whole coastline around the city of Hue is now colonized by Chinese beach lovers who have built condominiums along the sand. Only one little patch of beachfront was left for the local Vietnamese to go and enjoy a day at the beach.

The Chinese are buying up property like there's no tomorrow, including an island that belongs to cash-strapped Laos. They are rapidly becoming as hated as the "ugly Americans" of the late 20th century.

The Chinese are much more of a predatory threat in SE Asia, as Iran is in the Near East, than America ever was in either place. Why? As NF hints, China is a local imperialist power that isn't going to retreat across an ocean, like America always does when the natives start to rebel. And, yes, there is a grain of truth to what you said about Chinese imperialism. They are more subtle, and initially - at least - they behave politely and graciously as they incorporate territories and civilizations under their domination and sinoform them, as Spengler keeps on mentioning.

The Chinese are an experienced imperial power who take the long view of history (like a 5000 year view), not the short view that Americans are used to (like a 4- or 8-year presidential term, or a 10-year corporate investment cycle). Although, as Gordon Change has recently pointed out, their demographic future is dim, so even China will eventually run up against the same problem that Iran is now experiencing. That is a shortage of willing young men to go out a do a cruel regime's bidding.

Spengler's first article on Iran's gloomy demographic predicament was written in 2005 ("Jihadis and Whores"), and I still think it was one of his best essays. Not all of his predictions turn out to be true, but this one is shaping up to be correct. Iran is economically and spiritually in decline, but also demographically, which means the mullahs are destroying the future of Iran even under another regime. They despise Persian national culture so much that they would prefer to destroy the Persian core of Iran, even if they accomplish nothing else.

This self-destructive behavior reminds me of the Arabs, which suggests that there is something uniquely toxic about Islam that just creates mayhem and ruin everywhere it spreads. Both the Saudis and Iranians are going down the drain, but the Iranian people deserve better. The regime is hateful and deserves to disappear, but the people are tolerant and creative. They could be a force for the positive in the region, and a great ally of Israel. As for the Saudi people - they are no different from the regime. Wahabiism in all of its manifestations would do the world a favor by disappearing. No amount of Chinese investment will save them.

neverfail
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Re: And Now the China-Iran Alliance

Post by neverfail » Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:00 pm

"What you seem to be thinking is that China is doing now what the US has been doing for many decades. There is however a difference: the Chinese are a lot smarter than the Americans, and they will further their interests without trying to make vassals out of the people they are dealing with."
(another brilliant offering by Sertorio.)
Ellen wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:41 pm
You haven't been to Asia lately, clearly. I was in Vietnam a few years ago, and they feel very much like vassals. The whole coastline around the city of Hue is now colonized by Chinese beach lovers who have built condominiums along the sand. Only one little patch of beachfront was left for the local Vietnamese to go and enjoy a day at the beach.

The Chinese are buying up property like there's no tomorrow, including an island that belongs to cash-strapped Laos. They are rapidly becoming as hated as the "ugly Americans" of the late 20th century.

The Chinese are much more of a predatory threat in SE Asia, as Iran is in the Near East, than America ever was in either place. Why? As NF hints, China is a local imperialist power that isn't going to retreat across an ocean, like America always does when the natives start to rebel. And, yes, there is a grain of truth to what you said about Chinese imperialism. They are more subtle, and initially - at least - they behave politely and graciously as they incorporate territories and civilizations under their domination and sinoform them, as Spengler keeps on mentioning.

The Chinese are an experienced imperial power who take the long view of history (like a 5000 year view), not the short view that Americans are used to (like a 4- or 8-year presidential term, or a 10-year corporate investment cycle).
Vietnam offers a great insight historically into both the persistence of that 5,000 year old Chinese civilisation in efforts to subjugate and rule but also of the perseverance of the Vietnamese in resisting and opposing it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_u ... inese_rule

The first attempt at imperialist annexation was made coinciding with the rise of the Han - the very first long-lived Chinese dynasty and the most recent was the MIng. That covers a gap of over one and one half millenia.

Compared to that the colonialist rume by the French was like the blink of an eyelid while the US intervention (at the invitation of the South Vietnam government please note) does not even count for that. Yet all throughout the Vietnamese have managed to maintain their identity as Vietnamese and have not suffered the fate of countless, now unnamed and unknown, peoples who lived further to the north and were "Sinicised", their identities rubbed out, with the expansion of the Han domain from its core in northeastern China.
............................................................................................................

Ellen, I like your comparison of the long term view taken by the Chinese in foreign policy as well as in history and your adverse comparison with the flighty short-term US view. Yes, the Americans (unlike the Chinese and Russians) are blessed with a home country with secure frontiers that they can and do always retreat back to whenever any of their military forays abroad goes wrong and turns into a fiasco (and that is often). However, as the citizen of a country in alliance with the United States I find that disturbing because it would only takie the whim of a single US administration to void US committment to any one of America's allies abroad.

The Trump administration illustrates just how little control other parts of government in the US (e.g. the Houses of Congress) have in calling rogue presidents to account. For all intents and purposes the US head of state and head of government (vested in the same person) is non-accountable for his actions.

It would only the Americans to elect another president disrespectful of both tradition and long term US committments abroad to leave America's allies abroad bereft of backup.

The nation that enters into an alliance with the US is taking a grave risk. I would understand the reluctance of foreign nations overseas like Vietnam from entering into a pact with the US even though short term it might even be in their interests to.

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