Iran-China Deal Does Pose a Threat to the U.S?
Iran-China Deal Does Pose a Threat to the U.S?. The huge deal between Iran and China has struck much speculation regarding the deal’s future consequences within the Middle East region, learned citing moderndiplomacy.
The huge deal between Iran and China has struck much speculation regarding the deal’s future consequences within the Middle East region. The possibility of China securing vital commodities, save the grappling Iranian regime, establish strategic influence in the region and consequently challenge the United States is dwarf. Such events from occurring in the future to many seem possible; however, the current reality remains an obstacle to such events from manifesting anytime soon or in the future.
According to the 18-pages document obtained by the New York Times, Iran is under negotiations with China regarding a strategic partnership, which could expand Chinese influence within the region. The deal will supposedly last for 25 years. China intends to splash its cash on Iranian oil and gas sectors and construct railroads and improve manufacturing. In exchange, Iran is willing to provide energy to China at a special discount, which stands at 32 per cent according to the documents. The deal also incorporates strong military cooperation between the two nations.
China, over the years, has been severely indulged in its commercial adventures around the globe. China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative ( BRI) has caused much stir over the past few years regarding the country’s possibility of dominating Eurasia. Henceforth, Iran acts as one of the bedrocks for China’s BRI project just like CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) in Pakistan. But there is a reality check. China’s commercial projects with many nations have already come under a lot of cynicism lately. For example, China’s CPEC last year came under much scrutiny.
An investigation of the project led to the conclusion that China’s CPEC is nothing more than a bogus scheme. Pakistan still yet has to benefit from the CPEC project because in reality the billion-dollar Chinese loans are used by Pakistan to pay back the Chinese workers who are involved in the construction of the project. Thus, every cent ends up leaving Pakistan’s pockets and returns into China’s. Similarly, China’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ with Sri Lanka has also caused much scepticism where Sri Lanka ended up ceding the country’s port and 15,000 acres of land around it for 99 years.
The other issue for China, besides the commercial projects is that, it lacks the political will and ideology; instead, the country emphasizes on Chinese nationalism and money, which keeps the nation intact. Behind every commercial project, there seem to be no political objectives of China insight. Chinese mentality revolves purely around economic interests where it fails to transcend them; instead, it continues to indulge in splashing the cash whenever it sees possible.
A nation needs to define its political objectives otherwise large commercial projects, and the surge in the production of several types of military equipment or cooperation becomes meaningless. For China to enter the Middle East and establish a preeminent position, especially in a region, which primarily consists of America’s predominant political power is a big challenge. China until now has not been able to transition itself from an economic player into political player within its region- South East Pacific, which ironically consists more of America’s political influence than China’s.
There is also a rising school of thought within China, which believes that China’s chance to win the Middle East has passed. The real opportunity for China to establishing a political sphere of influence lays within its region and nowhere else. The reason for China’s inadequacy concerning its political objectives is because China is a one-dimensional power, unlike the U.S, which is a comprehensive power. After the Second World War, the U.S was already carrying out political manoeuvres from Yalta to Potsdam where it started to sow seeds for its post-war international order. As for China, there seems to be no participation in major international affairs, besides commercial projects, which is owing to the nation’s naive mindset.
To add salt to the wound, America’s unparalleled military is what protects the dollar’s pre-eminence under today’s globalized world.Till now China does not possess the capabilities to challenge U.S naval supremacy, henceforth, U.S sanctions in the future can create majorcomplications for China to import oil from Iran. The reality is that U.S sanctions in recent years have already created many implications on the volume of Chinese oil imports.
Chinese tankers thus have recently started switching off its transponders to avoid the sight of U.S trackers. Moreover, since the U.S withdrawal from the JCPOA agreement and the consequent application of sanctions on Iran, has made it difficult for the Europeans to import oil from Iran. The search for alternative methods by the Europeans has so far been unsuccessful. Therefore, it is unlikely that China will be successful in finding an alternative since its institutions and its political capabilities are still premature.
When it comes to Iran, there is no guarantee that it is going to be immune to Chinese exploitation in the future. Iran’s economy is in tatters due to U.S maximum pressure campaign, which has started to increase the public’s disbelief regarding the Tehran regime. It is highly dubious that Chinese investments in Iran’s oil and gas sectors are going to benefit Iran. Even if it does, the country’s circumstances would not result in bringing any radical improvements than the current.
History has shown how foreign powers time and time again have exploited Iran’s energy resources henceforth; there is little chance that Chinese investments are going to change the circumstances of the country for the better. Neither improving Iran’s railroads, or its manufacturing capabilities is in any way or shape or form is going to help the Iranian public’s dire situation.
Besides the U.S sanctions, the high unemployment and the debased standards of living are owing to the major problem of hoarding wealth. According to the data, ultra-rich Iranians, which consists of 10 per cent of the 80 million population, spends 86 times in comparison to the rest of the Iranian people. Also, many of these super-rich Iranians also possess intimate links with the Iranian regime. Thus, bringing China into the country and building infrastructure is not going to help the situation because the problem is not infrastructure, modernization or increase in the production of goods instead, the main issue is the distribution of wealth in the country.
This deal also shows that Iran is trying to signal the United States for the elimination of U.S sanctions. Last year’s attacks on Abqaiq oil fields was also a desperate attempt by the Iranian regime to persuade the U.S in removing the sanctions. Iran desires a type of an agreement that can somehow benefit both the U.S and the Clerical regime, but the Trump Administration does not seem to be interested. The U.S is only interested in putting an end to Iran’s malign activities in the region and its involvement in conflicts within Syria and Yemen, which the previous JCPOA was not designed to do, and thus, the maximum pressure strategy has been implemented by the Trump administration.
In conclusion, the U.S maintains the upper hand since China does not have the necessary tools to challenge the U.S in the Middle East. Till now China has not even been able to challenge Washington within its region- South East Pacific. Therefore, the Middle East remains a pipe dream for the Chinese. As for Iran, it is trapped in a quagmire where there is hardly any space to escape the shackles of U.S pressure.
Furthermore, there is no insurance that Iran would not be exploited by China in the foreseeable future, which would place the country under an entirely new level of financial strain. There is also a lack of significant backlash from Washington regarding the deal, which goes to demonstrate the significance it poses towards the American superpower. Even though today’s U.S is in a period of decline, the U.S will remain a formidable power for years to come. This is simply because much more is required to challenge the U.S hegemony.