Público (Spain): China against the “paper tiger” in the middle East

“He is strong only in appearance, but in fact is a paper tiger, unable to withstand the wind and rain,” said Mao Zedong on American imperialism. Since then it’s been rain, and parallel with the growth of military aggressiveness of the United States is gradually turning into a failed state (failed state — so the United States is called country can not cope with delivery of basic public services — approx. ed.). This became especially clear during hurricane Katrina (2005) and now with the coronavirus in the country, where only 4% of the population, one third of all infected covid-19 in the world. In addition, to date there have died from the pandemic, about 88 000 people and 36.5 million were left without work.

Against this background, China seems like an effective Manager for the fight against the pandemic on a national scale, the benefits of a state planned economy. But at the same time, an alternative United States the world leader that supplies medical equipment and financial assistance to at least 100 countries. China, do not have such vast natural resources as the United States, but with four times larger population, feeds a fifth of humanity. While China has managed to raise four times the average salary of their employees over the past 20-25 years — indicates the British economist Richard Wolff. In addition, as approvingly noted by the UN, over recent decades China out of poverty 850 million people. It turns out that the Chinese model is an alternative to the inhuman and aggressive capitalism of the USA and his not-very-nice to the President. This situation gives rise to debate about the new world order and the likelihood that China will deprive the U.S. hegemonic role that they play in 1946. However, in the middle East of strategic importance due to the fact that 1) there are concentrated about 65% of the world’s oil and gas reserves and 2) the proximity of this region to the two great powers — China and Russia — the reality appears in a different light:

1. It is not true that — as claimed by the most ardent opponents of Donald trump — he left the middle East and gave it to the mercy of Russia and China. Trump managed:

  • To increase the power of Israel by the “final solution” to the Palestinian question.
  • To continue the war in Yemen.
  • To impose new sanctions against Iran to strangle this country.
  • To increase the number of its troops in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Deploy about twenty of their bases in Syria and to send its recalcitrant NATO ally Turkey to this country that it occupied part of Syrian territory, and at the same time and got stuck there.
  • To undermine OPEC and take control of oil prices.
  • To further strengthen the military activity in the Persian Gulf.

The Position Of China

Independent political course of Mao Zedong, ended the “century of humiliation,” found its expression in the theory of “Three worlds”, according to which the United States and the Soviet Union as imperialist powers, formed the First world; Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia belonged to the Second world, while China and developing countries formed the Third world (hence the expression). Accordingly, the Second and Third worlds should unite to crush the First world. And here he made a big mistake: the US is a fading Empire, as a consequence, China had to mobilize the world against the growing power of the Soviet “social-imperialism”. Henry Kissinger took advantage of the rift between the two largest socialist countries and made a secret visit to China to prepare the visit there of President Nixon, while pursuing two goals: 1) to contain the Soviet Union and 2) to turn to China for help to get out of the Vietnam adventure. This approach, abolishing the concept of “class struggle”, declared itself during the popular uprisings in Arab countries in 2011: Russia and China, apparently, considering the “Arab spring” as the machinations of the US, like the fight against poverty in the Arab world, ceased of itself, as if by a magic wand. The popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and even on the basis of the U.S. Sixth fleet — the Emirate of Bahrain (Saudi tanks entered the country to suppress popular demonstrations), had nothing to do with the machinations of the US and its allies against Syria and Libya. In this situation, China has established strategic partnerships with Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, UAE, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Turkey. Since 2013, China is the largest investor in the region. The volume of Chinese investment in the Middle East is about 123 billion dollars. The success of the Beijing explained with the following circumstances:

1. The lack of Imperial ambitions and colonial past. China advocated a “clash of civilizations”, let’s say, Buddhism or Confucianism, Islam or Judaism. “Religious wars” occur within, rather Semitic religions. Beijing prefers to watch from the sidelines and not interfere in regional politics.

2. Following the principle of “an eye for an eye” in a positive way: relations of reciprocity and gratitude, based on moral duty. All this is an integral part of the culture of the region, so difficult to understand for foreigners.

3. The priority of the “cooperation between States” in foreign policy and the abandonment of the conceptions of the state, as Marx and Hobbes.

4. The projection of its power, not through the militarization of strategic regions or aggressive realism, but by economic interdependence, a clear manifestation of which is the project of the New silk road. This initiative is aimed at “mutual development of Nations” and their shared economic growth. In this largest-ever infrastructure project of China has already invested about $ 400 billion in 80 countries. The military-industrial complex is one of the pillars of the economy: its export share in the arms market is 36%, while China accounts for 5.2%.

5. The human factor: if you compare the serious, sober and respectable President of China XI Jinping with Donald trump, then comments are unnecessary.

Displace you can, replace no

It is obvious that USA and Europe are experiencing the deepest crisis since the Second world war, however, the increased activity of China in the region, which for centuries was part of the millennial silk road, does not mean that he intends or may take on the role of the United States. At the moment, on the basis of China’s policy, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • Beijing wants (and is unable) to take on the role of the U.S. in the middle East, although the region asking for it.
  • Instead of buying the loyalty of local ruling circles, China is seeking to enlist the support of the people, free providing millions of masks and shoes to needy children, while the United States anti-personnel mines dot the scorched earth of the Middle East, maiming unfortunate children.
  • China did not impose economic sanctions against other countries, not invade them under false pretenses with the goal of seizing their natural resources and territories.
  • Doesn’t compete with anyone, but simply exercises its progressive development. It is the largest lender that issued direct loans and commercial loans amounting to $ 1.5 trillion in 150 countries, they pay mainly for its natural resources.
  • China poses no threat to the US and seek to replace them. Rather, Beijing seeks to avoid any collision with this superpower: he joined the illegal sanctions trump against Iran by suspending their agreements with this country. To the dismay of those who think that there is an “axis China-Iran-Russia”, which holds under the gun of imperialism, in December last year, after three mills conducted military exercises in the Persian Gulf, China and Saudi Arabia have kept them together.
  • China is not trying to interfere in middle East Affairs, to establish its zone of influence or to create enemies. It acts as a reliable and pragmatic partner, respecting their own national sovereignty.
  • China slowly continues to advocate for the establishment of a Palestinian state (while Israel and the US is trying to deprive the Palestinians of even their meager autonomy) and the UN security Council veto on Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territories, clearly aware that the decisions of this body are executed only when the interests of the United States. Beijing has good relations with Israel, representing U.S. interests in the region, in addition to buying Israeli military technology, an industry group, Shanghai International Port has signed in 2015, the agreement with tel Aviv on the expansion of the port in Haifa.
  • Consumer China’s approach to the world doesn’t stop his authorities to invest part of the proceeds to the fight against poverty and underdevelopment in our own country, instead of having to buy the island and withdraw money offshore. According to the Fortune Global 500, 15 leading Chinese companies (energy, banking, telecommunications and Railways) with the highest degree of profitability of state-owned, as all land.

China in Wonderland

For Beijing, the state is not an instrument of class domination, and expresses our national interests, so is always the case with leaders, regardless of whom they represent. When in July 2018 Chinese leader XI Jinping has offered the Arab leaders a loan in the amount of $ 20 billion and a further $ 90 million to Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon for the reconstruction and assistance to displaced persons and another billion to ensure “social stability” (to prevent a popular uprising?), didn’t he realize that at least 80% of these funds will go directly to someone’s private pockets? First of all, the corrupt capitalist dictators, misogynists, who do not stop at nothing and the debt will be repaid at the expense of the most disadvantaged segments of the population? What is the point to have a high-speed train, if a significant part of the population is unable to pay the fare on the bus?

The failure of the so-called “non-capitalist development path,” which was carried out in the life of the petty-bourgeois “independent” of the dictatorship in Algeria, Libya, Iraq and Syria in the 70-80-ies of XX century showed that without the socialist government cannot reform in the interests of the majority. China is not pursuing an active policy to counter the militarism of NATO in the middle East. If he follows the principle of “When your enemy wants to hang himself, don’t distract him,” what about the hundreds of thousands of people who died in these wars? Together with Russia, China voted for the imposition of economic embargo against Iraq (1990-2003), which resulted in the death of about 2 million people. China did not veto the NATO aggression against Libya. To create a cult personality, this time XI Jinping and promote his “thinking” is it worth doing it? After all this concentration on the personality of one man not only discreditied collective work of the party and people of China, but also creates untouchable people-the demigods who cannot be criticized. And it poses a great threat to the achievements of this remarkable people. Progress, and especially socialist development is impossible without political freedom, that is, without the active and creative participation of all citizens, and mandatory control over the actions of the authorities.

USA vs China

In the report “national security Strategy of the United States” in 2018, China is accused of “attempts to weaken the safety and welfare of the United States, to create a world whose ethical values opposite to the values and interests of the United States”. The authors of the report mean values of lying about Iraq, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib or Bagram? Donald trump is so fond of anti-Chinese policy that opponents accuse him that he has removed Russia from its agenda and is an agent of Moscow. Despite the fact that the US has no clear “strategy towards China” because of its close ties to the American oligarchy of this country, Washington applies in relation to China following containment measures:

1. Increase the tempo of reconnaissance flights around China in parallel with the operations of “freedom of navigation” (FONOPS) in order to provoke Beijing.

2. The increase in the number of its troops in Afghanistan, the strengthening of the power of the Taliban along the borders with China.

3. The imposition of sanctions on the sale of Iranian oil just at the time of the signing of China contract for supply over the next 25 years.

4. The conclusion of agreements with India to prevent her eventual rapprochement with China.

5. Creating a partnership with Japan, India and Australia Alliance (2017) with the purpose of patrolling and the establishment of its influence in the Indian and Pacific oceans and the South China sea.

6. Support the right-wing opposition in Hong Kong.

7. Containment of Iran and China, following the Obama doctrine and recognizing that energy security is most worried about China.

8. Discredit. To this end, the United States referred to the “Diplomacy of a debt trap”, whereby China offers loans to countries participating in the project “New silk road” on the condition that they will sign contracts with Chinese companies and repay the loans within a short period of time. Thus, according to Washington, the sovereignty of the debtor countries gets into a serious relationship from the debt burden: 1) According to Forbes magazine (2019), over the past 18 years, China was off about 9.8 billion dollars in debt to a number of countries, including mainly Cuba. What did the EU with the “brotherly” Greece? Duty the off and even refused to negotiate on its refinancing; 2) in connection with dire economic consequences covid-19, China stated that it would consider the issue of debt relief to several African countries, thus, whom trump calls a “crappy countries”.

9. The charges (which the US does not have any moral right) that China “does not observe human rights” in countries where it has invested. These accusations are ridiculous, if we remember that in Nigeria the Anglo-Dutch company “shell” accused “of involvement in the killings, violence and torture” of the population in the 1990s; also “shell” was behind the coup in Iran in 1953 and the killings of thousands of Iranian Communists and patriots. And what can we say about the role of American companies in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — everywhere they leave bad memories. But the inhabitants of those countries, where China kept about the country quite different, much better experience.

10. In the face of growing threats to their country Beijing intends to defend himself “Chinese” in record time: from 2012 to 2018, it launched two aircraft carrier, and by 2025, it will have seven aircraft carriers, he did not intend to surround US in their own waters. But the best thing about Chinese weapons is to be a sovereign holder of US debt and a major importer of oil from Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. China has achieved what other global players depend on him.