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The New Model of Power Relations and the Middle East Crisis: Part II

Posted: January 5, 2018 at 9:00 am   /   by

By LTC Sargis Sangari and Steven Weingartner

On 16 OCT 15 NEC-SE posted the article: “The New Model of Power Relations and the Middle East Crisis.” The article was reposted by Western Free Press on 24 AUG 16. [1]

The article summarized NEC-SE’s perspective on the geo-strategic security situation vis-à-vis the United States and the then-vaunted “New Model of Power Relations” being bandied about by Russia, China, and the U.S. Starting in September 2012, when Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi coined the phrase, China utilized a bait-and-switch stratagem to trick the U.S. into believing that it only needed to leave China alone in certain areas of the world, and peace would reign. [2, 3]

Subsequently the U.S. did leave China alone, more or less. But peace did not ensue. Instead China, in partnership with Russia, intensified its efforts at providing nuclear weapon delivery technologies, as well as biological and chemical weapons, to North Korea and Iran. At the same time the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) worked to gain and enlarge its footholds in the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia, and also to double down on supporting the brutal regime in Venezuela, expand its footprint into the Cuban transportation arena, and tighten its neo-colonial grip on many parts in Africa. [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

In the aftermath of the America’s 2016 presidential election, the Trump administration decided that what amounted to a plan for appeasing China needed to be overhauled, if not scrapped altogether. In acting to chart a new course for American foreign policy, President Trump’s administration responded to voter dissatisfaction with America’s long record of what they understood to be failure, frustration, and ineffectiveness in the sphere of international relations – a dissatisfaction signaled not only by the presidential election results but also by the results of the House and Senate races. It was clear from these results that the American people wanted the government to deal with U.S. foreign policy “missteps” that had, over a period of two decades, steadily diminished America’s standing in the global community of nations. [10]

President Trump responded accordingly with the formulation and issuance of his 2017 National Security Strategy Strategy of the United States of America. The plan is notable both for what it addresses and what it does not. In the main, it is concerned with the actions of (and potential threats from) three distinct groups: major powers generally hostile to the U.S., i.e. China and Russia; the rogue states of Iran and North Korea; and militant transnational organizations and terror groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. All are in active competition with the United States and its allies and partners, and although in each instance the nature of that competition is varied and changeable, all involve both economic and military components, and use technology and information to pursue their agendas. [11]

While the clear identification of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terrorist organizations as opponents of the U.S. is long overdue, the 2017 National Security Strategy still falls short, perhaps critically, in failing to identify the SCO as the unifying agent in binding these disparate groups into an informal but increasingly effective anti-American alliance.

In 2015 the NEC-SE noted that the SCO laid the groundwork and provided foundational support for challenging the establishment of a unipolar world under U.S. leadership. It did so by creating a Central Asian political axis (China was later to make this the focus of its “One Belt, One Road” policy), and by conducting intelligence sharing and joint military exercises with its allies. [12]

It is important to understand that the nuclear technology transfers between China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are neither opportunistic nor are they occurring in isolation. Rather, there is a framework for these activities that has been in place for several years that facilitates cooperation between these nations in their efforts to oppose and undermine U.S. power.

Thus, while the U.S. has taken a big step in the right direction in calling out these nations as threats to American interests and security, and in particular by openly identifying and challenging militant Chinese expansionism on multiple fronts, the 2017 National Security Strategy remains a seriously flawed document because of the blind eye it turns toward the existence of that framework and the forces sustaining it.

Since 2007 the possibility of a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran has grown steadily. If Iran is allowed to continue in pursuit of its goal to acquire nuclear weapons and the delivery systems to use them, other Muslim states will doubtless feel obliged to do the same. Needless to say, this situation is fueling tensions in the region and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. [13]

Although the current protests in Iran will certainly affect the situation, it remains to be seen what the outcome will be. In the event that the protests are successful in bringing about fundamental change in the Iranian government, China and the SCO will almost certainly find themselves on the political “outs” in Iran. If that proves to be the case, we may expect China and the SCO to act aggressively to preserve its position in that geostrategically vital nation. [14]

In the circumstances it has become increasingly difficult for the U.S. and its allies to deal holistically with the region’s various threats and opportunities. A holistic approach would entail attacking the problems at their common root, namely the Shanghai Cooperative Organization. Unfortunately, this is not the approach being taken by the U.S., which has instead chosen to deal with each problem individually and separate from the others. In doing so, the U.S. may eliminate the problem, but only temporarily; if the root is left intact, the problem will grow back.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but as long the SCO remains unchallenged in its operations, the problems in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world for that matter, will continue and worsen.

Put in Biblical terms: the SCO must be taken down “root and branch.” Until that is accomplished we will be playing whack-a-mole with the threats to security, to our well-being – to our very existence. We may whack Iran, only to have North Korea pop out of its hole to threaten. Then, when we whack North Korea, China may move to seize or “create” more islands in the South China Sea; or a jihadist cell in the U.S. will undertake a mass-casualty operation. And so on, and so on, the problems will continue, unless and until the SCO, the puppet master pulling the strings of our enemies, is put out of business once and for all.

China is not alone in challenging the U.S. Aiding and abetting and cooperating with China in this endeavor are Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. As President Trump has tweeted his displeasure with Pakistan, the SCO indicated as early as 12 MAR 17 that Pakistan would be paying China $90 Billion against CPEC-related projects. [15]

Americans need to learn about this “new axis,” as the SCO is accurately called in some circles. They need to know, for example, that North Korea is being guided by China to export its WMD to other nations and and non-state actors. This provides China with a certain deniability (however lame and implausible) in facilitating nuclear proliferation while at the same time manipulating events to its own advantage.

And so, as we enter 2018 with the new National Security Strategy in hand, we need to keep in mind that while there are many positives about it, there is still the need to identify and confront the reality and totality of the challenge that is facing the U.S. and our allies.

Above all, we must recognize that China is steadily enlarging its footprint in Middle East, and that its successes in the region represent milestones on the road to becoming the world’s dominant power – the one and only “hyperpower.” The Chinese believe that it is their destiny to be the global hegemon, and they have formulated a 100-year plan to achieve this objective. They will not scruple to use anyone, any method, and any group – including terrorist groups aligned with Iran – in fulfill their destiny.

And unless we take steps, as outlined above, to halt their drive to world mastery, it is not unlikely that they will achieve their goal well in advance of their 100-year deadline.

  1. https://nec-se.com/2015/10/16/the-new-model-of-power-relations-and-the-middle-east-crisis/
  2. https://www.brookings.edu/on-the-record/wang-yi-toward-a-new-model-of-major-country-relations-between-china-and-the-united-states/
  3. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/21/remarks-prepared-delivery-national-security-advisor-susan-e-rice
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/anderscorr/2017/07/05/chinese-involvement-in-north-koreas-nuclear-missile-program-from-warheads-to-trucks/#488ebe256f2f
  5. http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/china/chemical/
  6. http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-and-china-are-propping-up-maduros-regime-in-venezuela-2017-9
  7. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2016-06/26/content_25858463.htm
  8. https://www.quora.com/Is-China-colonizing-Africa
  9. http://www.newsweek.com/china-south-china-sea-islands-build-military-territory-expand-575161
  10. http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/11/18/the-top-5-foreign-policy-lessons-of-the-past-20-years/
  11. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905.pdf
  12. http://en.silkroad.news.cn/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAvrfSBRC2ARIsAFumcm9pSwQ_5kMIDgyG4GG4i6t4BzBSfwD2p9mjodaXNP6Ju8P6k8pvMOsaAk_0EALw_wcB
  13. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/157678/china-iran-nuclear-allies
  14. https://www.azernews.az/region/120204.html
  15. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1352995/pakistan-will-paying-china-90b-cpec-related-projects/

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The New Model of Power Relations and the Middle East Crisis: Part II