US Losing Middle East in Fighting China for World Leadership


Foreign Policy’s article “Why Mohammed bin Salman Suddenly Wants to Talk to Iran” on April 29, 2021 tells readers why Saudi Arabia has now been mending fence with Iran, the country it regarded as its enemy to be invaded four years ago.

According to the article, at least since January 2021 Saudi has been having secret meetings with Iran. The article quotes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as saying to Saudi television, “We are seeking to have good relations with Iran”. Why?

The article says, “One factor looms larger than all others: increasing signs that the United States is serious about shifting its focus away from the Middle East.”

An important fact is US planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. Though the US regards itself as world leader, it cannot afford the commitment to defend all its allies and partners in the world including Afghanistan and maybe Saudi Arabia.

Sad!!!

There has been much speculation about China’s ambition to be world leader now. There has been no sign of that so far. True, China has been working hard to attain its target of modernization by 2049. Yes, it may be the largest economy in world by that time, but can a country with such an economy be world leader. I doubt. It is ridiculous that even its Belt and Road initiative is regarded as indication of such ambition but it is merely a part of those efforts to enable it to attain that goal through win-win cooperation in the world. Its geopolitical influence may be enhanced, but it is not able to become world leader by such cooperation. In fact, it has lots of trouble now, being attacked by the West on many issues: Taiwan, South China Sea, Xinjiang, Tibet, etc.

Though the second largest economy, it lacks the financial, military and other powers to be world leader. Be sober! If a country is strong and wise enough as world leader, it will be recognized as such in the world. That will be the natural outcome of its development and wisdom. It would collapse just like Napoleon’s France, Hitler’s Germany, etc. no matter how hard it has tried if it lacks the strength and wisdom to be qualified as world leader.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/04/29/saudi-arabia-iran-uae-mohammed-bin-salman-secret-talks-biden-withdrawal-pivot-middle-east/?utm_source=PostUp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=32603&utm_term=Editors%20Picks%20OC&?tpcc=32603.


Weapon Deal Not Merely Commercial but Also Political, Even Military


SCMP says in its report “China hesitant over J-10C barter deal with cash-strapped Iran: experts” that Iran is said to be interested in buying 36 of China’s advanced J-10Cs that are regarded as good as Russia’ well-known Su-35 by some analysts, but China is hesitant over a barter deal of the sale.

According the report, analysts believe China is considering the move though China has no need for the oil or gas from the barter deal as there is abundant supply of oil and gas and China has already had full stock of them.

Those analysts perhaps are ignorant of the recently signed Iran-China 25-year cooperation program. In the deal, China promised to invest $400 billion in Iran in that period. The easiest way is use the proceeds from the deal as China’s investment in Iran, but China is certainly considering other cooperation alternatives such as the investment in the construction of gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to China’s Xinjiang to enable direct flow of gas from Iran to China.

China has a large demand for gas to be satisfied by all the gas Iran can produce. China wants to use gas as the clean feul of its 1.4 billion people and to replace coal in China’s large number of coal-fired power plants.

The above is but the economic benefit of such energy deals for China.

Such deals facilitate strengthening the Russia-China-Iran iron triangle to counter the US. With such deals, Iran will no longer be vulnerable to US sanctions while China’s advanced fighter jets will enable Iran to protect China’s shipping to the Middle East from Pakistan’s Gwadar port through Persian Gulf.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3129539/china-hesitant-over-j-10c-barter-deal-cash-strapped-iran?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=share_widget&utm_campaign=3129539&fbclid=IwAR22rVm0LCD22n_ZOdnFWNhIxESag6ZqjfRSPS2MmAgfYErYcCJe8KX7yuA.


Biden Administration Caves: Will Lift Sanctions on Iran for New Deal


By Humeyra Pamuk, Mohammad Zargham, and Arshad Mohammed

April 7, 2021 6:33 pm

WASHINGTON—The United States is prepared to remove sanctions on Iran to resume compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, including those that are inconsistent with the 2015 pact, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday, without providing details.

“We are prepared to take the steps necessary to return to compliance with the JCPOA, including by lifting sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA. I am not in a position here to give you chapter and verse on what those might be,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. He was referring to the pact formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Biden Administration Caves: Will Lift Sanctions on Iran for New Deal”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Iran oil imports seen hitting new high in March, curbing OPEC output options


By Reuters Staff

MARCH 30, 202111:42 AMUPDATED 3 HOURS AGO

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China will receive another large influx of cheap Iranian oil in March passed off as crude from other origins, curbing the top importer’s appetite for crudes from other suppliers, according to traders and analysts.

Close to 1 million barrels per day of Iranian crude could arrive at China this month, nearly half the volume that the world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia supplied to China in the first two months this year.

Refinitiv Oil Research estimates this month’s arrivals at 3.75 million tonnes (27 million barrels), topping the previous record in January of 3.37 million tonnes.

“The trend seems to be continuing, though buying appetite is waning because of high inventories at ports and abundant supplies,” said Emma Li, a senior Refinitiv analyst.

Separately, a trade source familiar with Iranian ship movements pegged China-bound cargoes at 30 million barrels for March, while Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, estimated Iran oil exports this month exceeded 1 million bpd.

Reuters reported last month that China quietly accepted record amounts of Iranian oil in early 2021, despite U.S. sanctions designed to penalise buyers. Analysts say the buying was a key factor behind the slide in global Brent oil pries from $70 per barrel, limiting room for OPEC to increase production.

“The recent jump in Iranian crude exports, notably to China, and crude going out of inventories are contributing to the weakness of the oil market, undermining OPEC+ efforts to limit supply and setting prices for a third weekly drop,” Rystad Energy analysts said ahead of the OPEC+ meeting on April 1.

China, Iran’s top oil client, said last week it will work to safeguard the Iran nuclear deal and defend the legitimate interests of Sino-Iranian relations.

China’s commerce, foreign and energy ministries had not responded to faxes and messages at time of publication.

U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to revive talks with Iran on a nuclear deal abandoned by former President Donald Trump in 2018, although harsh economic measures remain in place that Tehran insists be lifted before negotiations resume.

“Iran is exporting more oil to China and that poses a challenge to the U.S. sanctions regime,” Eurasia Group analyst Henry Rome said.

“However, the structure of the sanctions is not on the verge of collapse by any means especially because Iran is not able to repatriate much of that revenue.”

According to Refinitiv’s Li, about 650,000 bpd of Iranian oil were discharged in the first 19 days of March, mainly via the eastern province of Shandong, the hub for China’s independent refiners.

This compared with 490,000 bpd discharged in February and a record 797,000 bpd in January, she added.

Chinese buyers are attracted to low prices for the crude which is being offered at discounts of $4-$6 a barrel to ICE Brent on a delivered basis, traders said, adding that sellers were sometimes packaging the sale with import quotas.

“The ultimate rule for private Chinese buyers is cost and margin…and they find the Iranian barrels offered at steep discounts hard to resist,” said a Beijing-based trader.

Reuters was unable to identify the buyers of the cargoes.

Officially, China skipped imports from Iran in March for the second month in a row as no cargo has been marked for its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), according to Refinitiv.

Tankers carrying Iranian oil typically switch off their transponders when loading to avoid detection, but then become traceable via satellites near ports in Oman, the UAE and Iraq. Some transfer part of their cargoes to other ships near Singapore or Malaysia before sailing to China.

China maintained small monthly purchases of Iranian oil that averaged 2.4 million barrels over the whole of 2020, according to Chinese customs.

Reporting by Asia energy team; Additional reporting by Jonathan Saul and Alex Lawler in London; Editing by Florence Tan and Edwina Gibbs

Source: Reuters “China’s Iran oil imports seen hitting new high in March, curbing OPEC output options”


Russia-China-Iran Iron Triangle


US-Japan-South Korea Iron Triangle

When former US President Obama began his pivot to Asia to contain the rise of China, he attempted to set up a US-Japan-South Korea iron triangle to contain China. Compared with his successors Trump and Biden’s Indo-Pacific Quad grouping, it is indeed a much stronger alliance. Both Japan and South Korea have strong economies and are US allies. However, South Korea and Japan were not on good terms due to the history of Japan’s colonization of Korea for five decades until Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine that commemorate some war criminals in invading and ruling Korea seriously upset South Korea.

The triangle broke before it was really established.

Russia-China-India Triangle

The idea of Russia-China-India grouping (RIC) was first raised by Russia former President Yeltsin’s second foreign minister, Yevgeny Primakov in his visit to India in 1998. At that time Russia needed RIC to balance US Power and wanted RIC to be the political nucleus of BRICS. Due to historical enmity and conflicts of interest with China, Russia wanted India to balance China and as link to the US as India had been trying to improve its relations with the US.

However, India did not want to be Russia’s ally but adopted an equal-distance diplomacy in order to be benefited from both Russia and China, and the West especially the US. China knows it is impossible to really be close to India if its border disputes with India have not be resolved. It has tried hard for decades to resolve the issue and was able for a time to make the border troops of the two countries friendly.

When Putin came to power, he has tried hard to establish the Russia-China-India triangle through quite a few summits of the leaders of the three countries but still without success.

In June 2020, in order to please the US, India sent troops across the Line of Actual Control to fight Chinese troops and thus created tensions in the border between China and India. It even joined US-led Quad later in March 2021. By so doing, it has made the Russia-China-India triangle entirely impossible.

China-Russia-Iran Iron Triangle

US former President Obama tried to improve US-Iran relations without much success. Anyway it joined Russia and other nations to reach an agreement with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. If Obama’s successor had followed up US policies to improve relations with Iran, there might have been less hostility between the two countries.

The agreement improved stability in the region and lifted sanctions on Iran that crippled Iran’s economy. Obama’s successor Donald Trump, however, unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and imposed sanctions on Iran again. He banned Iran’s export of oil, the major source of Iran’s income and made things very difficult for Iran. Iran could not but turned to US major strategic competitors Russia and China for help. By late 2020 China had become Iran’s major source of financial, technological and military assistance.

The US has tried to use sanctions to block Iran’s export of oil and gas but China needs more than all Iran’s oil and gas so that it had greatly increased its purchase of Iran’s oil. In order to obtain more oil and gas from Iran, China has allocated about $400 billion for investment in upgrading Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemical industries and improving Iran’s overland transportation.”

In fact, there is a pipeline connecting Iran with Pakistan, which is now being expanded to China’s west for safe low-cost overland transportation of oil and gas to China through pipelines. China has invested in Iran’s world largest natural gas field to help Iran extract natural gas and export it to China through pipelines. China needs lots of natural gas as clean fuel for its households in order to reduce air pollution.

Moreover, US sanctions have forced Iran to receive Chinese currency yuan for its exports of oil and gas to China. That helps internationalization of yuan and increases Iran’s imports from China. It will also increase Russia’s imports from China as Iran will use yuan it has earned from China to buy Russian goods, especially Russian weapons. Russia will certainly spend the yuan it earns from Iran to buy Chinese goods.

That has not only economical but also political significance. In his recent visit to China, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov suggested to China the use of non-US currency as a way to resist US sanctions.

Russia historically has much influence in the Middle East but the US has tried hard to drive Russia away. Russia has made great efforts to maintain its influence in Syria and Iran is helping Russia doing so. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has already been cooperating with Russian troops and auxiliaries in Syria.

While the US has deployed an aircraft carrier battle group near Iran to threaten it, Russia is offering its advanced weapons to Iran to help it strengthen its defense and China is helping Iran expand its Jask Port and Chabahar’s airport for control of the Strait of Hormuz and build a regional eavesdropping post to intercept signals within a range of around 3,000 miles.

Trump’s pressures on Iran facilitated the establishment and strengthening of the Russia-China-Iran iron triangle, a strong alliance against US influence in Asia.

Biden Unable to Break the Iron Triangle

Now, US new president Joe Biden wants to continue Obama’s efforts to improve relations with Iran but he is slow in doing so. He has sought to revive talks with Iran on the nuclear agreement abandoned in 2018 by his predecessor, Donald Trump in 2018. Tehran wants the sanctions that Trump imposed removed before any negotiations resumes.

China grabs the opportunity to conclude a 25-year cooperation agreement with Iran before revival of US-Iran talks on restoration of the agreement. Obviously, the 25-year term means a lot in contrast to US withdrawal from the agreement within 2 years.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said ahead of the televised signing ceremony meaningfully, “Our relations with Iran will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent and strategic… Iran decides independently on its relations with other countries and is not like some countries that change their position with one phone call.”

The timing of the conclusion of cooperation agreement is very good before improvement of US-Iran relations and to a great extent make the improvement not significant as the agreement will make almost all US sanctions ineffective.

China really knows to choose the best timing of its diplomacy. It established RCEP and concluded trade deal with EU precisely before US new president Joe Biden had time to provide better alternatives to interfere with the establishment and deal.

The Iron Triangle Contributes to Driving US Hegemony Away from Asia

When China has upgraded Iran’s gas and oil production, Iran may supply oil and gas to India through a pipeline in Pakistan. In building the pipelines, Iran and Pakistan planned to extend them to India to provide India with oil and gas but due to hostility between India and Pakistan, India would not use any pipelines through Pakistan but prefers a sea route to Iranian port of Chabahar that India has been upgrading since 2015. Due to India’s attempt to ally with Iran’s enemy the US, Iran canceled its cooperation with India in building railway from Chabahar port to Afghanistan and thus put an end to India’s dream for connection with Central Asia through Chabahar port it has been upgrading.

If Iran’s supply of oil and gas has greatly increased, Russia can divert part or all its supply of oil and gas for China to South Korea through North Korea if China has eased the tensions between North Korea and South Korea and Japan. As a result Japan will get Russian oil and gas from a port in South Korea. That will greatly reduce the shipping costs for getting oil and gas from the Middle East. Japan and South Korea may use Russia’s coast facilities for shipping shortcut to Europe through the Arctic. Such economic links will facilitate integration of Asia. As a result, US economic influence in Asia will be much reduced. The US will not remain a hegemon in Asia.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Iran and China sign 25-year cooperation agreement


Sat, March 27, 2021, 11:33 PM·2 min read

Hassan Rouhani

DUBAI (Reuters) – China and Iran, both subject to U.S. sanctions, signed a 25-year cooperation agreement on Saturday to strengthen their long-standing economic and political alliance.

“Relations between the two countries have now reached the level of strategic partnership and China seeks to comprehensively improve relations with Iran,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted by Iran’s state media as telling his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“Our relations with Iran will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent and strategic,” Wang said ahead of the televised signing ceremony.

“Iran decides independently on its relations with other countries and is not like some countries that change their position with one phone call.”

The accord brings Iran into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme intended to stretch from East Asia to Europe.

The project aims to significantly expand China’s economic and political influence, and has raised concerns in the United States.

China has spoken out often against U.S. sanctions on Iran and partly contested them. Zarif called it “a friend for hard times”.

Wang met President Hassan Rouhani ahead of the signing in Tehran. The agreement was expected to include Chinese investments in sectors such as energy and infrastructure.

Rouhani expressed appreciation of Beijing’s support for Iran’s position on its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, in which it agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

“Cooperation between the two countries is very important for the implementation of the nuclear accord and the fulfilment of obligations by European countries,” Rouhani said, according to his official website.

U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to revive talks with Iran on the nuclear deal abandoned in 2018 by his predecessor, Donald Trump in 2018. Tehran wants the sanctions that Trump imposed removed before any negotiations resume.

“Under the new administration, the Americans want to reconsider their policy and return to the nuclear accord, and China welcomes their move,” Wang said.

He also promised that China would provide more coronavirus vaccines to Iran, the Middle Eastern country worst-hit by the pandemic.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the agreement was a “road map” for trade and economic and transportation cooperation, with a special focus on both countries’ private sectors.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Mike Harrison and Kevin Liffey)

Source: Reuters “Iran and China sign 25-year cooperation agreement”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China, Iran expected to sign 25-year accord, Iranian state media says


MARCH 27, 20214:13 AM UPDATED 6 HOURS AGO

By Reuters Staff

DUBAI (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Iran on Friday for a visit that Iranian state media said would see the signing of a 25-year cooperation agreement between the two countries, which are both under U.S sanctions.

The accord, final details of which are yet to be announced, is expected to include Chinese investments in Iran’s energy and infrastructure sectors.

In 2016, China, Iran’s largest trading partner and long-time ally, agreed to boost bilateral trade by more than 10 times to $600 billion in the next decade.

“The signing of the comprehensive cooperation programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China by the foreign ministers of the two countries is another programme of this two-day trip,” state news agency IRNA said.

Iran is hardening its stance towards the United States and the European parties to Tehran’s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.

“This document is a complete roadmap with strategic political and economic clauses covering trade, economic and transportation cooperation … with a special focus on the private sectors of the two sides,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state TV.

On Thursday, China’s commerce ministry said Beijing will make efforts to safeguard the Iran nuclear deal and defend the legitimate interests of Sino-Iranian relations.

China made the comments after Reuters reported that Iran has ”indirectly” moved record volumes of oil into China in recentmonths, marked as supplies from other countries, even as China customs data showed that no Iranian oil was imported in the first two months of this year.

U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to revive talks withIran on the nuclear deal abandoned by former President DonaldTrump in 2018, although harsh economic measures remain in place that Tehran insists be lifted before any negotiations resume.

The United States and the other Western powers that joined the 2015 deal appear at odds with Tehran over which side should return to the accord first, making it unlikely that U.S. sanctions which have crippled Iran’s economy can be quickly removed.

However, the OPEC member’s oil exports climbed in January after a boost in the fourth quarter, despite U.S. sanctions, in a sign that the end of Trump’s term may be changing buyer behaviour. Since late 2018 there was a sharp drop in Iranian exports to China and other Asian customers.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom, Editing by William Maclean and Grant McCool

Source: Reuters “China, Iran expected to sign 25-year accord, Iranian state media says”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Trump’s Follies


Trump’s Strategy Illiteracy in Launching His Trade War

According to China’s gifted Strategist Sun Tzu, one has to make calculation of the factors to win a war before commencement of a war. To do so, one has to know both oneself and one’s enemy. That is why he says, “Know oneself, know one’s enemy, one will never be in peril in war (知己知彼,百戰不殆 in Chinese)”

Ignorance of US Decline and Competitors’ Strength

Trump’s tragedy lies first in his ignorance of the decline of US strength and influence and neglect of the strength and influence of US competitors. His sanctions on Iran are a case in point. US extreme pressure to block Iran’s export of oil and gas is entirely ineffective as China is not only able but also need to buy all the oil and gas exported by Iran.

As a result, Trump pushed Iran into China’s arms and enable the formation of Russia-China-Iran iron triangle in Asia. He helps Russia’s recovery of its influence in the Middle East with Iran’s help and facilitates China’s strategic Belt and Road initiative the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan.

Recently, due to India’s immigration move against Muslim, Iran has removed India from its railway project linking its port of Charbahar to Afghanistan and further to Turkmenistan, making India more isolated in Asia.

India is the only leg of US Indo-Pacific Quad in Indian Ocean. Iran’s move has made Quad lame in Indian Ocean.

Ignorance of China’s Reform and Trade

For China’s transformation from export- and investment-geared to innovation-, creation- and consumption-led economic growth, China has to upgrade its labor-intensive enterprises if possible, but that is mostly impossible as it is too hard to improve the uneducated or poorly educated workers they employ. The alternatives are close up those enterprises or move them to developing countries with lower labor and land costs such as Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.

However, before Trump’s trade war, those export-geared labor-intensive enterprises were still able to roughly maintain their volume of exports. There is no urgency for them to upgrade or move outside China. US trade war attacks put great pressure on them and made them realize that they would not be able to survive if they failed to upgrade or remove. Trump has thus greatly quickened China’s transformation.

To keep the pressure for the transformation, China certainly is not in any haste to reach agreement in its trade talks with the US. As a result, Trump’s dream of quickly bringing China to its knees was broken.

Trump claimed that his tariff hikes would reduce US trade deficit with China and bring back jobs to the US, but fail to know that he has no alternative sources of Chinese exports with similar low prices and good quality. As a result, Americans have to pay the higher tariffs on the Chinese goods they have to buy. It is Americans instead of China who suffer from his tariff hikes. There has been no substantial decrease in China’s exports to the US.

Even if there is substantial decrease in China’s exports, there will be loss of low-wage jobs for uneducated or poorly educated people in China. Such jobs are entirely unattractive to Americans; therefore, no jobs have been created by Trump’s tariff hikes. People may regard Trump’s claim of bringing back jobs with his tariff hikes as a lie. It is, however, his ignorance instead of lying.

US Sanctions, Others’ Opportunities

Trump failed to see that unlike in the era of Cold War, US sanctions always give rise to other countries’ opportunities.

We have already mentioned above Trump’s sanctions on Iran gives rise to China and Russia opportunities to form a Russia-China-Iran iron triangle that help Russia recover its influence in the Middle East and facilitates China’s Belt and Road initiative in Pakistan.

US sanctions on Russia to help Ukraine facilitate the strengthening of China-Russia de facto alliance.

Trump’s sanctions on Venezuela enables Russia to have military influence there and pushed Venezuela into China’s arms. China’s investment in the oil industry there has become more attractive and secure.

Even US initiated UN sanctions on North Korea are no exception. It has made North Korea entirely depend on China and forced North Korea to export mineral resources and cheap labor to China for its survival.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Trump’s Tragedy


Every US president’s greatest concern in his first term is reelection for his second term. According to US constitution, a president can only serve two 4-year terms. Four years seem quite a long time for common people, but not for a president who shall have some impressive achievements to convince voters to give him a second term.

In fact, a president does not have 4 years as the reelection will be held in November of the fourth, i.e. last year of his 4-year term so that he has to begin his efforts to campaign for reelection well before November of the last year. Therefore, usually to be reelected a president has to have impressive achievements within three years of his first term. He cannot count on an achievement in the fourth year unless the achievement is so sensational as to attract most voters. That was especially true for Trump as he won the first term with an elector instead of popular majority. He must be sure of more votes than his first election to ensure his reelection.

Anxiety for Quick Achievements

Perhaps, he wished that his good relations with China will soon obtain concessions promissed by China’s Xi on trade, investment, intellectual property and currency and North Korea’s denuclearization. Seeing no immediate results, he resort to maximum pressure as the US always does but always fail to attain its goal by doing so.

However, according to Jesus Christ’s teaching in Christian Bible, one shoul be kind to one’s enemy. The US did do so to win over its enemies Japan and Cermany and turn them into US allies.

That is similar to the Chinese way of combining kindness with severity. The typical Chinese model was set in the story of Zhuge Liang capturing Meng Huo seven times in the Period of Three Kingdoms in Chinese history (184-280). Meng was the leader of the tribe of an ethnic minority along the border between the area controlled by him and the Kingdom of Shuhan controlled by Zhuge. When Zhuge led troops to fight the Kingdom of Wei, Meng often created trouble along the border. Zhage had to fight and subdue Meng first in order to put an end to the trouble and maintain stability in the rear. However, Zhuge had the wisdom to see that he was unable to attain his goal of border stability by merely defeating Meng’s tribe. When Zhuge’s major troops were fighting Wei far away from the border, Meng might create trouble again as Zhuge was not able to leave enough troops in the rear to guard the border.

Western coloialists were used to resort to genocide to eliminate the tribe in order to put an end of such trouble, but that was too cruel and went against China’s dominant Confucism. In addition it would not help attain stability in the rear. When Meng’s tribe has been eliminated, other ethnic minorities nearby might move itno Meng’s area and create trouble that might be worse than Meng’s. If Meng’s tribe beca,e friendly, it might protect Shuhan against the invasion of other tribles nearby. Zhuge wanted Meng’s tribe to be Shuhan’s friend.

Zhuge defeated and captured Meng Huo seven times, treated Meng kindly and released him every time. He finally convinced Meng with his kindness and turned Meng’s trible into a friendly ally. The friendly relations made it possible for Meng’s tribe to learn from Han people’s civilitation and be assimilated by Han people.

Later dynasties mostly followed Zhuge’s model in dealing with ethnic minorities with both kindness and severity. As a result, China’s Han people have assimilated lots of ethnic minorities and become the largest race in the world. However, the most important factor for that is that there is traditionally little racism among Han people. Han Chinese are even friendly with Japanese people though they have suffered greatly when China was invaded by Japan. A typical example is the kind care taken by Chinese people of the Japanese children left in China by retreted Japanese troops.

Aroggant Way of Extreme Pressure

In spite of the teachings in Christian Bible, Western leaders, however, have long acted on a race-based colonial mindset in treating non-white peiople in Asia, and Africa. It is precisely due to such a mindset that Trump imposes extreme pressure in dealing with other nations, especially China, Iran and Morth Korea. Extreme severity without any kindness, that is Trump’s approach.

Iran

Iran has accepted the six-nation agreement to restrict its nuclear development but Trump has unilaterally withdrawn from the agreement and imposed severe sanctions as extreme pressure to bring Iran down to its knees. Iran defied the pressure and allied with Russia and China to benefit Russia in the Middle East and facilitated China’s CPEC.

North Korea

One may say that US extreme pressure fails in Iran as Iran is quite a rich country with much oil and gas resources in demand in the world. Then what about North Korea? It is a very poor small and weak country that suffers greatly under US-led UN sanctions. When Trump was working for denuclearization of North Korea, North Korea had developed enough nuclear weapons for its security and wanted to switch its efforts to economic development to feed its people. It accepted US demand for denuclearization but asked for lifting of the sanction in return. Again Trump is obsessed with extreme pressure. He believed that he would be able to get everything he wanted from North Korea without giving anything in return, but ended up in getting nothing.

Ignorance of US Decline, Competitors’ Strength

Trump’s tragedy lies not only in his obsession of extreme pressure but also in his ignorance of the decline of US strength and influence and neglect of the strength and influence of US competitors. The above-mentioned Iran is a case in point. US extreme pressure to block Iran’s export of oil and gas is entirely ineffective as China is not only able but also need to buy all the oil and gas exported by Iran.

As for North Korea, US-led UN sanctions mean nothing when China and Russia refuse to implement.

Trump Has Lost His Trade War with China

As pointed in my previous posts, Trump’s trade war facilitates China’s transformation from export-and investment-oriented economic growth to innovation-, creationg- and consumption-led growth. His tariff hikes have not significantly reduce US trade deficit with China as most of China’s exports to the US are goods needed by Americans at low prices and with good quality. Americans simply cannot find alternative sources of such goods. They have to pay the high tariffs for import of such goods. No wonder, Trump has to lose some of voters’ support for his reelection.

As a result, Trump has failed to attract voters by exploiting their hostility at China. He has launched tech war to attack some Chinese enterprises but American voters are not benefited by such attacks. For example, Trumps attacks at China’s Huawei merely slow and make more expensive US 5G development, which may create some jobs for Americans. His restriction to exports of high technology goods will reduce US exports to China and make US high-tech enterprises suffer. In all, his trade and tech wars have failed to bring jobs back to the US.

Since he have failed to get the achievements he has tried hard to obtain, he failed to win enough votes for his reelection. It is sad that he fell among the few losers who failed to serve a second term as president.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Why despite Risks, China Invests $62 Billion in Pakistan


$62 billion is a lot of money. Though rich, China is not rich enough to squander such a large sum in Pakistan, a country notorious for its political instability and constantly under India’s threat.

EuroAisan Times’ article “CPEC: Internal Pressure, External Threat – Why China’s $60 Billion Investment In Pakistan Is At Risk?” tells the true incidents to prove that China’s investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is at risk but in fact fails answer the question in its headline: why the investment is at risk?

In fact, it is clear to all about the risks in investing in political unstable Pakistan under constant military threat of a much larger and stronger hostile neighbor India; therefore, no sober businessmen who pursue fair return of investment would invest in Pakistan. The answer to the question in the headline is so clear that there is no need to answer. The question needs answer is instead why China takes the tremendous risks to make such heavy investmentsi in its CPEC in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a poor country with few resources but has to incur heavy military costs for defense against Indian attacks.

In the past the US gave Pakistan significant financial and military aids to help it maintain military balance with India in order to counter Russia as it regards India as the Sovient Union and its successor Russia’s sphere of influence. Now however, China rise instead of Russia has become US first priority.

Russia is anxious to set up a Russia-China-India triangle to counter US hegemony in Asia. China also believes that it is a good idea. To form the triangle, China has to ease or even resolve its border dispute with India. It has made quite great efforts to ease border tensions with India and some progress in resolving the dispute. However, China’s close relations with Pakistan, india’s major enemy, may be an obstacle.

With China and Russia’s joint efforts, they have succeeded in attracting both India and Pakistan into their Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and tried hard to resolve the disputes between India and Pakistan without success.

In spite of China’s long-term efforts to win over India, India regards China’s rise as a threat to its security, especially China’s Road and Belt projects in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepel, which it regards as China’s chain to encircle India. India is particularly upset by CPEC as CPEC goes through the area of Kashimir controlled by Pakistan but claimed by India as its territory.

In order to contain China’s rise, Trump’s predecessor introduced TPP and pivot to Asia, but Trump scrapped TPP as he believed it hurt US interest and gave up pivot to Asia as the US failed to form the US-Japan-South Korea iron triagle as its basis due to historical enmity between Japan and South Korea. Trump, instead, seeked to form a Quad alliance of India, Japan, Australia and the US to contain China’s rise in both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. He exploited India’s fear of China’s rise and ambition to be the hegemon in Indian Ocean and used the provision of advanced US weapons as bait. True enough, India takes the bait. In order to join the Quad, it sent troops across the border to attack Chinese border troops there. It has thus win over US trust as its border provocation proved its sincerity in joining the Quad. That makes it possible for its switch to purchase of US instead of Russian weapons as weapons from the US are more advanced and not too expensive than Russia’s as Russia is not able to subsidize India’s purchase as the Soviet Union did.

China does not need Pakistan to counter India as its own troops are much stronger than India’s while the US cannot send troops from a long way away to help India if a border war breaks out between India and China. In fact the topology in the border is not favorable for large-scale military actions. Moreover, India’s major cities lie close to the border and may become easy targets of China’s air raids while Chinese cities lie too far away to be India’s targets.

However, US navy may block China’s trade lifelines through the Indian Ocean. With the CPEC China may bypass a large part of the Indian Ocean to send its goods to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port and will be protected by Pakistan and Iran to further ship the goods to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. China’s huge investment in CPEC concerns the security of China’s trade to its west including the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

With the CPEC, China may move its labor-intensive industries to Pakistan to enjoy the low labor and land costs there.

Moreover, China has stressed the development of its west for quite a long time but without much success as its west is too far away from its coast in East China. CPEC may provide a short route for export of goods from China’s west.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on EuroAsian Times’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://eurasiantimes.com/cpec-internal-pressure-external-threat-why-chinas-60-billion-investment-in-pakistan-is-a-big-security-risk/.