February 5, 2007

Bush’s Diplomatic Triumphs leading America to a Global Catastrophe: Part Two

The New Asiatic Power Bloc?
W. joseph stroupe has presented the hypothesis that, over the last few years, america’s belligerent, foreign policies have alienated russia and china to such an extent they have been moving toward a closer political and military alliance. He also believes that both iran and india are drifting towards this new asiatic alliance. "Rather, India will lean significantly inward either toward alignment with the US or with Russia-China. The fundamental evidence proves India is aligning with Russia-China, notwithstanding the "face" of its pragmatic policy of concluding certain cooperation agreements with the US for access to crucial advanced technologies to accelerate its rise as an emerging power, agreements India insists must be concluded mostly on its own terms." (W Joseph Stroupe ‘Revamping US Foreign Policy, Part 2: The misnomer of multipolarity’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HL15Ak01.html December 16, 2006).

The question of global sanctions against iran could be seen as a test case for stroupe’s hypothesis. If russia and china shared enough common interests, and if they had enough interests in common with iran, they would have combined to oppose american demands for un sanctions on iran on the spurious grounds of its non-existent nuclear weapons. But, in the end, they acquiesced with america’s demands. The following sections explore the underlying structural factors which might explain their reasons for doing so.

China and Iran.
China exports huge quantities of goods to iran. It has massive investments in the country especially iran’s fossil fuel industry. It imports huge quantities of iranian fossil fuels. These imports are critical to china’s long term economic growth and prosperity. All of these factors seem to suggest that china has substantial vested interests in protecting iran from punitive un sanctions and from an american, or jewish, or jewish/american, attack on iran. China is likely to lose out considerably if america does to iran what it has done to iraq. China could lose not only its exports to iran and its investments in the country, it could also lose its vital fossil fuel contracts. "The most coveted sites in Iraq are the Majnoon and West Qurna fields, both close to Basra in the south of the country. Together, these fields represent nearly a quarter of Iraq's proven reserves. Total and Russia's Lukoil had deals in place with Saddam Hussein's government on the Majnoon and West Qurna fields respectively. It is arguable whether these contracts are still valid, and Exxon is now seen by insiders as the frontrunner to nab the rights to the Majnoon field." (Danny Fortson ‘Iraq poised to end drought for thirsting oil giants’ http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article2132467.ece January 07, 2007). Given that america forced the iraqi government to renege on saddam-era fossil fuel contracts with russia and france why shouldn’t it do the same, if it attacks/invades iran, to iranian contracts with china?

One commentator believes china has a vested interest in protecting iran – albeit whilst keeping america bogged down in iraq. "With its US$10 billion annual exports to Iran and tens of billions already committed in Iran's oilfields, China's vested interests rank higher than the other veto powers in the Security Council ... There is a catch here, though. China is simultaneously keen on the potential circuit-breaker impact of the UN resolution with respect to any US-Iran cooperation on Iraq, in light of the Iraq Study Group's (ISG's) recommendation for US engagement with Iran (and Syria). Compared with the shrinking Russia, China's star in the geopolitical universe is rising, and Beijing relishes the US quagmire in Iraq that is taxing its hegemonic prowess." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘Russia's grand bargain over Iran’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA04Ak05.html January 04, 2007).

Another commentator has no doubts china would do its utmost to defend iran. "Oil is transforming world politics. Iran can afford to face down the wrath of the West and be robust about becoming a nuclear power because it has the cast-iron support of China - secured by oil. In November 2004, Iran gave China the rights to exploit the giant Yadavaran field. Importantly, China plans to bring this oil into China, not across the Indian Ocean and through the Malacca Straits, but by pipeline across central Asia, free from the surveillance of the US fleet. China's attitude to Iran is foretold; it has refused to condemn Sudan over the killings in Darfur since Sudan allowed it to build a 500-mile pipeline to the coast. Ahmadinejad can therefore be 100 per cent certain that China will veto any attempt to win UN approval for military intervention in Iran." (Will Hutton ‘A battle for oil could set the world aflame’ http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1764542,00.html April 30, 2006).

There are a number of reasons why china failed to defend iran from being sanctioned. Firstly, the chinese seem to regard iran as being more dependent on them than they are on iran. "Without a doubt, China will carefully weigh pluses and minuses of its fruitful economic relations with Iran. Trade with Iran was an estimated US$10 billion in 2006. Almost 13% of China's imports of oil come from Iran. Chinese business is steadily expanding into diverse sectors of the Iranian economy. But Beijing would be justified in assessing Iran's greater need of "partnership" with China at this juncture. True, China has initialed long-term energy deals with Iran, but it has made them conditional on a satisfactory resolution of the nuclear issue." (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China's Middle East journey via Jerusalem’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA13Ak02.html January 13, 2007).

Secondly, although china is highly dependent on iranian fossil fuels, it has recently developed a close alliance with saudi arabia which will considerably reduce its dependence on supplies from iran. Iran’s value to china will be reduced by china’s new relationship with saudi arabia. "But the most important factor in Chinese thinking will be the strategic considerations of its relationship with Saudi Arabia. The exchange of visits by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and Hu to each other's capitals within a four-month period early last year greatly cemented Saudi-Chinese political equations. Translated to the geopolitical plane, simply put, China has to be sensitive about the Saudi stance toward Iran. Riyadh's animus toward Tehran is real. It is born out of the instincts of self-preservation of the Saudi regime." (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China's Middle East journey via Jerusalem’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA13Ak02.html January 13, 2007).

Thirdly, china exports far more goods to america than it does to iran. It has vastly greater investments in america than it does in iran. And it has acquired vast reserves of petro-dollars. America is the engine of the world economy to such an extent it is responsible for much of china’s economic growth. "Rather than private consumption, external demand, originating primarily from US consumers, drives economic growth in China. Between 2001 and 2005, China's annual average rate of export growth was 25%. Exports grew by 35% in 2004 and 28% in 2005. The very strong nominal growth of exports accounted for about 2% of real GDP growth in 2004 and about 4% in 2005. In the first half of 2006, net exports accounted for about 2.5% of real GDP growth. Including goods re-exported from other countries and Hong Kong, China's exports to the US account for about 50% of total exports. Thus export growth is largely determined by the growth of US demand. Because almost all of China's exports are consumer goods, personal consumption demand in the US drives China's export growth. In addition to exports, external demand also plays a key role in the growth of investment in China." (Jephraim P Gundzik ‘What a US recession means for China’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/HI27Dj01.html September 27, 2006).

China’s economic dependence on america means it has little option but to support american foreign policies in the middle east. "The heart of the matter is that ideology or no ideology, as China's integration with the world economy grows deeper it is in China's interest to help the Bush administration preserve the stability of the Middle East's political order." (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China's Middle East journey via Jerusalem’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA13Ak02.html January 13, 2007).

China and Russia.
Similar considerations also apply to china’s relationship with russia. Firstly, china seems to believe that russia is more dependent upon it than it is on russia. "Although two of the agreements deal with energy issues of top importance to China, the two countries may not have enough complementary interests to make their much-touted "strategic partnership" of primary importance to either. China's main interest in Russia is as a supplier of arms and commodities, primarily oil and gas to fuel China's rapidly expanding economy. Putin has sought to promote sales of Russian industrial goods, but China is not much interested in anything except commodities and arms. It does not take much looking in the Russian press, moreover, to find articles suggesting that imports of Chinese goods are threatening whole sectors of Russian industry, or that it is unwise to sell weapons to a large and dynamic country that poses a potential strategic and demographic threat to Siberia." (Patrick G Moore ‘China gets its pound of Russian flesh’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HC24Ad02.html March 24, 2006).

Secondly, china is reliant upon russian fossil fuels. It is destined to become even more dependent after the construction of a russian oil pipeline to china. However, just as the chinese government considerably reduced its dependence on iranian fossil fuels by forging a fossil fuel deal with saudi arabia, so the same also applies to china’s relationship with russia.

Thirdly, china has vastly greater economic relationships with america than it does with russia. "The volume of Sino-Russian trade is 2% of China's total foreign trade, or one-tenth the amount of China's trade with the United States, one-ninth of that with Japan, one-eighth of that with the European Union, and one-sixth of that with South Korea." (Patrick G Moore ‘China gets its pound of Russian flesh’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HC24Ad02.html March 24, 2006).

There are, however, two further considerations which undermine the prospects of a russian-chinese alliance. Firstly, russia’s vulnerability over siberia. "Russia's sparse population in that region, the need to monitor the borders, and the existence of high-profile military and R&D assets in Russia's eastern territory necessitate constant surveillance and observation. The recent economic development of the region - oil and natural-gas exploration and the importance Moscow now attaches to such industries - makes it ever more necessary to keep an eye on this expanse. China's recent interests in the Russian Far East and the constant debate about Chinese cross-border immigration to that region add to the importance of constant observation of vast open spaces that hold huge quantities of much-coveted natural resources. If Moscow's ability to observe and monitor even a part of that region were to be degraded to any degree, it would be at a disadvantage in its ability to see what takes place on the ground. Lack of roads and railroads and degraded infrastructure already make any official Russian response to a military or a humanitarian emergency there difficult. If Moscow went "blind" suddenly in huge portions of its eastern territories, there is no sure way to predict its response." (‘A nasty jolt for Russia’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/IA23Ad03.html January 23, 2007).

Secondly, and to an extent, following on from the first consideration, russia is unwilling to provide china with advanced weaponry. "Furthermore, while Russia is happy to sell military hardware to China, there is a clear line that Moscow will not cross with its neighbor. Moscow's military leadership has stated on a number of occasions that Russia will not supply its latest high-tech weapons to China for security reasons, even if the price is right. There is a growing level of discomfort in Moscow with China's rapid ascent. Now, China can potentially threaten one Russian asset that still gives it enormous strength and confidence - its space-based assets. The time when China can overtake Russia militarily is approaching. It has already done so economically, and is steadily gaining on Russia politically with its powerful diplomatic drive buttressed with trade incentives. How Russia will react to China's continued drive for high-tech military dominance will have a powerful and lasting effect on the future of international relations." (‘A nasty jolt for Russia’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/IA23Ad03.html January 23, 2007).

It has been concluded, "Of course, like Russia, China is opposed to US hegemony. But Russia is too weak to be a "partner". At any rate, the relationship with the US is too important for China to seek any alliance against it. A former Soviet diplomat who served in China in the 1980s, Yevgeny Bazhanov, wrote recently that even if China and Russia were to form an anti-American alliance, its fate couldn't be any different from the pact that collapsed in the 1950s with disastrous consequences. He wrote, "Russia and China are too different, and they have too many different interests."" (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China begins to define the rules’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/IA20Ad03.html January 20, 2007).

China and America.
China’s economic relationships with america are far greater than it’s economic relationships with either russia or iran and even with both combined. However, there are commentators who believe china’s relationship with america is no longer as lopsided as it was once. "A US economic downturn next year will undoubtedly have a strong negative impact on China's economy. However, this impact could be mitigated by the government's marshaling of China's considerable resources, including the country's nearly US$1 trillion of foreign exchange reserves. In addition to these reserves, China has enormous fiscal resources that it can employ to boost the economy either directly or indirectly through the country's massive state-owned banking system - not exactly music to the ears of foreign investors who have poured money into China's banks. Though dependent on consumer demand in the United States, China's economy could easily withstand a US economic recession because of its vast resources and its ability to extend these resources through the still-dominant state-owned economic structures." (Jephraim P Gundzik ‘What a US recession means for China’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/HI27Dj01.html September 27, 2006). What is more, china’s dependence on america/american consumers is declining. "Since 2000, Japanese, South Korean and Southeast Asian exports to China have been galloping while those to the US are stagnating. Two-thirds of China's exports are heading now to non-US destinations even as domestic Chinese consumption increases its share in the country's overall economic growth." (Sreeram Chaulia ‘Epitaph to unipolarity: A Review of Russian Rubicon: Impending Checkmate of the West by Joseph Stroupe’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/HJ14Ag02.html October 14, 2006).

China could be seen shifting away from russia and iran towards america (and saudi arabia) prior to the security council vote for sanctions against iran. In november 2006, the bush regime organized a meeting of asian fossil fuel consuming countries to co-ordinate their energy policies against the dominance of russian fossil fuel exports. America had already attempted to organize european fossil fuel consuming nations and now it was trying to do the same in asia. Although stroupe suggested china was developing a close alliance with russia implying that it would have no interest in joining with other asian fossil fuel consuming countries to co-ordinate their policies against russia, the americans successfully wooed the chinese not merely to attend the conference but to host it. This was a huge diplomatic victory for bush and a huge slap in the face for russia. "But the US has met greater success in recent weeks with the principal-energy consuming nations of Asia - China, Japan, South Korea and India. It is a singular success of US energy diplomacy that Washington was able to get Beijing not only to sign in but to host the first-ever conference of Asian energy-consuming countries on Saturday. The ministerial-level meet was hosted by China immediately after the first session of the strategic economic dialogue between China and the US in Beijing. If political symbolism was needed, Beijing was signaling that it was perfectly willing to work with the US as a responsible power eager to contribute to global energy security. China evidently relishes the huge attention that Washington has been paying lately in building up a strategic economic dialogue with Beijing. Indeed, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who co-chaired the US-China dialogue in Beijing, hailed it as a platform for the countries to cope with strategic issues in their economic relationship. The delegation accompanying Paulson included as many as 10 cabinet secretaries, as well as the chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank and the US trade representative. A Xinhua dispatch boasted, "The world is watching: nearly half the Bush administration is in Beijing."" (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China plays its own energy game’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HL19Ad06.html December 19, 2006).

For the americans the cherry on top of this energy conference was an american company winning a massive contract, against competition from the russians, to build nuclear power stations in china. "China has favored Westinghouse over Russia's Atomstroiexport for the $8 billion deal on the four nuclear power plants. This is despite robust Russian lobbying at a time when Russian exports to China are dropping." (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China plays its own energy game’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HL19Ad06.html December 19, 2006). That china agreed to host the asian energy conference and then gave a massive contract to america seems to suggest its alliance with america was far more of a priority than its alliance with russia or iran. The chinese seemed reluctant to risk an intimate russian embrace.

China made its new position over iranian sanctions crystal clear after a visit from the jewish prime minister. "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, midway through an official visit to Beijing, said he received a candid assurance from China that it opposes Iran having a nuclear arsenal. "China made it absolutely clear that it opposed an Iran with a nuclear bomb," he added, although he refused to elaborate on the contents of his talks." (Ron Bousso ‘China assures Israeli PM on Iranian nuclear bomb’ http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070110/wl_asia_afp/chinaisraeldiplomacy_070110170737 January 10, 2007). China reprimanded iran for not taking un sanctions seriously. "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao openly rebuffed Tehran's claim that the United Nations Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran was a mere "piece of paper". Wen said, "Resolution 1737 adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council members reflects the concerns of the international community about the Iranian nuclear issue."" (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China's Middle East journey via Jerusalem’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA13Ak02.html January 13, 2007).

It might have been thought america would have been grateful to china (and russia) for sanctioning iran but this didn’t stop it from exerting further pressure on china. "The privileged five include China, which was immediately warned by the US ambassador to Beijing not to proceed with a mega-energy deal with Tehran, a timely warning so far heeded by China's cautious rulers in spite of their unquenching thirst to lock in the deal." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘Russia's grand bargain over Iran’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA04Ak05.html January 04, 2007); "Iran also is hoping to turn to China and Russia for help. But U.S. officials already have warned that they will seek to hold China accountable under Washington's unilateral sanctions laws if it proceeds with a $16-billion project to develop Iran's North Pars gas field. China also has signed a memorandum of understanding under which it may take on development of the Yadavaran field in southwestern Iran, expected to boost production by 300,000 barrels a day." (Kim Murphy ‘U.S. puts squeeze on Iran's oil fields’ http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/fairenough/latimes716.html January 7, 2007). It didn’t stop america from imposing unilateral sanctions on chinese (and russian) companies.

The bush regime believes it has the economic clout to impose unilateral sanctions on china. But, china believes that since the bush regime is so indebted to it then perhaps america is not in a position to bully china too blatantly. "The U.S. government expressed concern last month to Beijing about a planned investment by state-owned Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd. in Iran's Northern Pars gas field. Washington said major business dealings with Tehran were inappropriate at a time when Iran was defying U.N. resolutions over its nuclear program. China warned the United States on Thursday not to meddle in its trade relations with Iran after Washington expressed concern about a planned investment by a Chinese oil company in an Iranian gas field. "We think this kind of cooperation and relationship is legitimate. Normal cooperation should not be interfered (with)," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. Asked whether that meant Beijing believed the United States was interfering in its dealings with Iran, Liu said: "This is our position."" (‘China tells U.S. not to meddle in ties with Iran’ http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-01-11-china-iran_x.htm January 11, 2007); "Nor would China benefit geostrategically from such an outcome, in light of that country's burgeoning energy relations with Iran today, further solidified by a new US$3.6 billion Tehran-Beijing agreement for liquefied natural gas. In signing this LNG deal, the Chinese government had to ignore a blunt US warning not to proceed, with the foreign minister telling the US "not to meddle" in China's relations with Iran. Clearly, China could not have the same expectations about the nature of Iranian regime change after an unequal bout between the recalcitrant Iranians and the US." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘The great games over Iraq’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA20Ak01.html January 20, 2007).

There are two diametrically opposed ways of analyzing russia’s decision to support sanctions against iran. Firstly, that russia vehemently opposed sanctions but was forced into accepting them either by threats of american economic sanctions or by continued western media accusations about president putin’s alleged involvement in the murder of russian dissidents. If this was the case then the bush regime could be credited with achieving a significant diplomatic breakthrough given that russia had successfully delayed for nearly three months a security council agreement over sanctions. The opposite viewpoint is that putin supported un sanctions against iran because they were in russia’s interests.

As regards america forcing russia into accepting sanctions against iran: the bush regime had already imposed unilateral trade sanctions on russian companies as a result of its ‘iran and syria nonproliferation act’ so russia wouldn’t want to face further sanctions against even more russian companies. If this was the case then putin was in for a surprise because soon after russia cast its security council vote in favour of sanctions against iran, the bush regime slapped further sanctions on three russian firms. "Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboroneksport was among the highest profile firms hit by the measures, imposed under the US 2005 Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act." (Russia says US sanctions on arms dealers 'illegal'’ http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070106/wl_afp/russiausiransyria_070106202640 January 06, 2007).

In order to shed some light on why russia might have voted for sanctions, some of the stark differences between russia and china need to be pointed out. China’s military relies on relatively low tech weaponry and is focussed primarily on defence whereas russia is the world’s second most powerful military possessing a formidable array of hi-tech offensive weaponry some of which is superior to its american counterparts. Whilst russia has a massive military industrial complex, china does not. China has virtually no oil or gas (although lots of coal) whereas russia has an abundance of both. China has a massive economy and enjoys rapid economic growth whilst in comparison russia’s economy is tiny and growth is sluggish. As a result of the collapse of the soviet empire, the russian economy virtually collapsed in the 1990s. It has recovered in recent years but this is primarily because of external factors - high oil prices brought about partly by increased chinese demands for fossil fuels and partly by america’s military, and economic, catastrophe in iraq. It is still producing less now than it was during the era of the soviet empire.

What these differences suggest is that russia is much less vulnerable to american pressure over sanctions than china. Militarily it is more than capable of retaliating against america whereas china has much fewer retaliatory capabilities. What is more, it could never be blockaded and suffer from a lack of fossil fuels in the same way that america could blockade china and deprive it of fossil fuels. Economically, russia’s small economy makes it less vulnerable to american pressure whilst china’s massive economy makes it much more vulnerable to american demands. What is more, putin has gone out of his way to limit american investment in russia’s fossil fuel industry so america cannot apply any critical pressure on this jugular industry. It can be concluded that since russia is much less vulnerable to american unilateral sanctions than china, it had a much greater capability for defying america over un sanctions against iran. This doesn’t mean that american sanctions against russian companies wouldn’t hurt but that, overall, russia had less to fear from america than china. See for example, "The United States is urging its allies to go beyond U.N. sanctions against Iran over its atomic program and choke off foreign investment but is meeting strong Russian and European resistance, Western diplomats said. "A number of countries, especially Russia, feel the United States is bullying them to end even legitimate business with Iran due to the nuclear dispute," a senior Western official told Reuters. A diplomat from an EU country that is also in the Group of Eight (G8) club of developed states said Iranian sanctions were discussed at a meeting of G8 officials in Berlin last week. He said Russian officials had complained at the Berlin meeting that the sanctions were hurting them more than any other country because of their close business ties with Iran. "The exposure of Russian banks in New York is enormous," said the EU diplomat. "They can't ignore the U.S. pressure (not to deal with Iran) and Moscow doesn't like it."" (Louis Charbonneau ‘EU, Russia resist U.S. on Iran sanctions: diplomats’ http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070130/ts_nm/iran_sanctions_dc January 30, 2007). This leads to the conclusion that it is unlikely that russia was forced into sanctioning iran because of american threats. The alternative way of looking at russia’s support for un sanctions is that putin believed they were in russia’s interests.

Russia and Iran.
There are a handful of factors suggesting the basis of an alignment between russia and iran. There is considerable trade between the two countries. They have considerable common interests as regards fossil fuels - the more they can act in concert over fossil fuel exports the more profits they will make – as opposed to competing with each other and driving down prices. Indeed, america has accused russia and iran of trying to establishing a global gas monopoly. .. "a recent confidential NATO study whose report warned that Russia might be seeking to build a gas cartel including Algeria, Libya, Qatar, Iran and the Central Asian states. (Early last month, the International Energy Agency warned of "the possibility of major gas-exporting countries coordinating their investment and production plans in order to avoid surplus capacity and to keep gas prices up.")." (M K Bhadrakumar ‘China plays its own energy game’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HL19Ad06.html December 19, 2006).

On the other side of the equation, there are factors suggesting only a limited alignment is possible between the two countries. Moscow doesn’t welcome the presence of another nuclear state on its doorstep. It is fearful of iranian shiite fervor which could undermine the control of western minded russians over large parts of the country where russian moslems predominate. There are also political and cultural barriers between the two countries. "Russia's interaction with Iran has been much discussed in the press, and most pundits have regarded this policy as harmful to Western interests. Russia, in tandem with China, has prevented the US from engaging in vigorous action against Iran at the United Nations over its nuclear program, including military action. Russia has also provided Iran with advanced technology. Still, Russia's desire to engage with Iran is limited and cautious. Nikolai Berdyaev, one of the seminal Russian philosophers of the last century, stated that the "Russian soul is feminine, and she always looks for a groom from the West". The notion is still valid today. Russians, with all their grievances toward the West, especially the United States, still regard their historical fate as connected if not with the US, at least with Europe. The November 4th demonstrations in Russia (November 4 became a national holiday to replace the November 7 commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolution) were driven by dislike toward people from the Caucasus, Central Asia and China - all of whom Russia regards as Asian - not toward Europeans or even Americans. This desire not to drive the West to break all ties with Russia puts a certain brake on cooperation with Iran. The Russians have even hinted that they might not even finish the Bushehr nuclear station they are building in Iran if Moscow were compensated by the West in some way. Besides the fear of being relegated to a part of an "axis of evil", Russia also has a fear of a rising Iran on its borders. Thus Russia is far from ready to embrace Iran wholeheartedly ..." (Dmitry Shlapentokh ‘Belarus, another 'axis of evil' candidate’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/HK15Ag01.html November 15, 2006). Kaveh l. afrasiabi makes a similar point about the psychological/cultural/religious connections tying russia to the west rather than to iran or to china. "This is yet another related, and pertinent, question we may pose in light of the new Russia-US alliance shaping before our eyes around Iran. The alliance acts as a pivotal learning experience setting precedence for future such cooperation, to the chagrin of China, which may have counted too much on Russia as an anti-Western bulwark. But Putin is enamored of Russia's European heritage and, when the price is right, he has no hesitation to sell out his Eastern friends and allies." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘Russia's grand bargain over Iran’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA04Ak05.html January 04, 2007).

There is, however, another, much more significant reason for russia’s acceptance of un sanctions against iran. This is the possibility that russia would benefit enormously from an american or jewish or judeo-american aerial attack on iran just as it benefited considerably from america’s disastrous invasion and occupation of iraq which tripled the price of fossil fuels. Russia would probably benefit even more from an american or jewish or judeo-american invasion of iraq. And, russia would benefit to an even greater extent if iran retaliated against either an attack or invasion by destroying the huge number of oil facilities across the middle east. The arithmetic is easy to work out. The greater the scale of the damage done to oil refineries, oil pipelines, oil tankers, oil supertankers, and oil platforms, in the middle east, the more important russia’s fossil fuels become. It is true that a global economic downturn would dramatically reduce demand for fossil fuels but a fall in the supply of fossil fuels is likely to be greater. It doesn’t even matter whether, militarily, bush wins or loses such a war, geostrategically russia would still emerge as a new goliath. If there is a war in the middle east, russia would sit relatively safely on the sidelines until the carnage is over, then dust itself off as the world’s fossil fuel goliath reaping vast mountains of wealth. It is already the world’s fossil fuel superpower but a war in the middle east would turn it into the world’s fossil fuel hyperpower. "By unintentionally shoving the entire oil-and-gas-rich Middle East on to a fast track to chaos, the US will empower Russia as the immovable global energy kingpin. Already, Europe and Asia are being forced to reconsider placing too much reliance on the region for energy imports, opening the way for Russia." (W Joseph Stroupe ‘A blueprint for chaos in Iraq’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA19Ak04.html Jan 19, 2007).

Putin must be in a state of hysterical mirth over bush’s gross stupidity in trying to implement the jews’ plans to obliterate the middle east. It is blatantly not in america’s strategic interest to attack iran for the sake of regional jewish supremacism when this will waste american lives and treasure and, almost invariably, elevate russia to the status of the world’s fossil fuel hyper-power. America might detest iranian leaders - although quite what justifiable reasons there are for such an attitude have to be questioned. But surely america cannot hate them to such a degree that it would sacrifice its geostrategic primacy by transforming russia into a fossil fuel hyper-power? Surely americans cannot be so grovellingly subservient to jewish interests, that they would sacrifice the gulf states’ fossil fuel facilities under a rain of iranian missiles leaving russia as the world’s undisputed fossil fuel master? It has to be suggested that if america really is intent on reducing iran to the same state as palestine, iraq, and lebanon, then its military ought to drive straight through iran to moscow because otherwise it will find its global supremacy in tatters.

There is however, one caveat, to this interpretation of russia’s interests. Just as america is highly protective of neighouring countries, what it calls its "backyard", so putin is concerned about nato’s increasing encroachment of russia’s "near-abroad". The last thing russia wants is a long term american occupation of iran which would enable it to permanently station troops and missiles in the country. Russia would benefit enormously from an american air attack on iran, or even a short term invasion of iran, but its geostrategic calculations are probably significantly different for an invasion followed by a long term occupation of iran. Putin might have reasons to support iran but he would probably be willing to sacrifice iran in order to keep the americans from occupying the country.

It is not possible to say which of these contrasting analyzes about russia’s rationale for un sanctions against iran is correct. Speculation abounds as to putin’s motives. "But really, what caused the sudden turnaround on Putin's part? Was it primarily Russia's fear of Iran's clandestine military program, as alleged by Washington, London and Paris? Was it Putin's unhappiness with the firebrand President Mahmud Ahmadinejad? Or was it a quiet quid pro quo with Bush, whereby Putin was let off the hook over the spy murder mystery involving a Russian dissident? Or did he receive certain open and some not so open rewards, such as Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, and, perhaps, a US pledge not to make too much fuss about Russia's less than desirable record on democracy and human rights, in exchange for backing Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair versus Iran?" (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘Russia's grand bargain over Iran’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA04Ak05.html January 04, 2007). It has to be suggested that none of these rationales seem plausible. Putin might be ‘unhappy’ with ahmadinejad but if he reduces the gulf states’ oil facilities to rubble then putin must quietly think him a hero. Putin might be repulsed by western accusations over his alleged involvement in the execution of russian dissidents, but is he really going to punish iran for the lies these belligerent, paranoid, jewish nutcases are spreading through the jewish dominated western media? Outside russia, anti-putin commentators who hark back admiringly to the days when russia was ruled by corrupt, and traitorous, jewish oligarchs, might condemn putin for his "less than desirable record on democracy and human rights" but the vast majority of russians know that what he did in curbing the oligarchs was for the benefit of all russians. Putin acted to protect human rights and russia’s fledgling democracy from the parasites whose ruthless exploitation of the russian people did nothing but make a mockery of human rights and democratic politics.

It might seem as if bush has achieved a remarkable success in persuading both russia and china to support sanctions against iran given their previous reluctance for sanctions. But whilst russia would benefit significantly from an aerial attack on iran or a short term invasion of iran, china would suffer considerably because of the dramatic increase in the price of fossil fuels. Thus, whilst china has a strong incentive in deterring america from sliding into a war with iran, russia does not. As a consequence of what seem to be russia and china’s diametrically opposed geostrategic interests, bush has to be given some credit for the successful wooing of china but whether he also deserves credit for russia’s change of position is much more doubtful.

When the bush regime adopted the likudniks’ tactic of making preposterous accusations about iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons, britain, france and germany, the so-called eu3, persuaded bush to allow them to carry out negotiations with the iranians in the hope that this would discourage the bush likudniks from taking precipitous military action against iran. These countries often repeated that they did not support a war against iran. Even as recently as september 2006, chirac stated his opposition. "In a potential break with the Bush administration, French President Jacques Chirac said Monday that he is "never in favor of sanctions" and suggested that the United States and other nations could begin talks with Iran on its nuclear program before Iran formally suspends its nuclear activities." (Glenn Kessler and Michael Abramowitz ‘France's Chirac Not in Favor of Iran Sanctions’ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/18/AR2006091800512_pf.html September 19, 2006).

However, toward the end of 2006, the attitudes of the eu3 started to shift noticeably – perhaps they were so impressed by bush’s diplomatic successes with sunni arab despots that they became willing to sign up to america’s likudnik strategy for decimating the middle east. The bush regime persuaded these three countries to join in november’s naval exercise in the gulf and, currently, to take part in enforcing naval sanctions against iran. The eu3 are allowing themselves to drift into a highly unpopular war with iran without having to suffer the huge political embarrassment of stating their support for such a war. They are becoming as belligerent towards iran and its allies as their american counterparts even though substantial sections of their electorates despise the stance they are taking. "Farewell multipolarism, hello again US unilateralism thinly cloaked in the new garb of multilateralism toward Iran, as if there is an iota of heterogenity left breathing in the skin of French or German diplomacy on Iran's nukes." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘Russia's grand bargain over Iran’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA04Ak05.html January 04, 2007).

In november 2006, tony blair was invited to washington to support the iraq study group’s new policy recommendations – policies which he had been hinting about for years. But, a few days later, after attending a joint press conference with his intellectual mentor george bush, he went on a middle east peace mission, supposedly to help the palestinians, but in reality reinforcing bush’s policy of regime change in palestine and iran. "British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been touring the Middle East with a clear message: To make peace in the Middle East, Iran must be isolated. The war of words between the West and Iran was heated by Blair's call for an "alliance of moderation" consisting of Arab dictatorships to quell the challenge posed by "extremists" supported by Tehran. There is little new about Blair's strategy. Though it contradicts his initial support for the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group to open talks with Syria and Iran - a position he quickly backed away from after having been corrected by President George W. Bush - it fits well with the approach of Blair's predecessors when it comes to creating momentum for peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians." (Trita Parsi ‘The Consequences of Miscalculation: A Lose-Lose Situation With Iran’ http://www.counterpunch.org/parsi01032007.html January 3, 2007).

Blair supports the overthrow of the hamas government, or what is left of it considering many of its members are now illegally detained in jewish detention camps. He refuses to recognize that the largest ethnic group in lebanon deserves political power commensurate with its demographic size. He’s been encouraging sunni arab dictatorships to contain/attack iran, a country with a semi democratic institutions. Both bush and blair refuse to accept the palestinians, lebanese, and iranians’ democratic choices. They are determined to snuff out the shias’ efforts towards creating democratic institutions and replace them with sunni dictatorships acceptable to the jos. Blair is currently doing his best to ensure that his legacy will be to commit the next prime minister to a war against iran. "According to Moran, the USS Stennis, an aircraft carrier, and its attendant battle group, will meet the USS Eisenhower and its flotilla in the Arabian Sea in the first weeks of February. The Brits, too, have built up their naval forces in the area." (Justin Raimondo ‘Stop the Next War Before it starts’ http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=10353 January 19, 2007). Blair’s legacy is not merely his corruption by the jewish lobby and the invasion of iraq but pushing the country into a war against iran it does not want and which is against its interests. "The evidence is building up that President Bush plans to add war on Iran to his triumphs in Iraq and Afghanistan - and there is every sign, to judge by his extraordinary warmongering speech in Plymouth on Friday, that Tony Blair would be keen to join him if he were still in a position to commit British forces to the field." (Dan Plesch ‘Next target Tehran’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,1990498,00.html January 15, 2007).

The eu3 supported the united nations’ illegal sanctions against iraq and are currently seeking ways to extend these sanctions. "The U.N. sanctions resolution bans transfers of sensitive nuclear materials to Iran, freezes financial assets of those associated with the nuclear program and asks countries to pass on information about the whereabouts of individuals on the list. The EU may expand the list of people linked to Tehran's nuclear program targeted by the U.N. resolution, sources said. The U.S. Treasury has also named Iran's state-owned Bank Sepah as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and no U.S. company or citizen is permitted do business with it." (Louis Charbonneau ‘Rice warns firms Iran may face further sanctions’ http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070121/pl_nm/iran_sanctions_usa_dc January 21, 2007).

The likudnik bush regime is continuing to pressure european countries into imposing more draconian sanctions. ""We are telling the Europeans that they need to go way beyond what they’ve done to maximize pressure on Iran," said a senior administration official. "The European response on the economic side has been pretty weak." Europe has more commercial and economic ties with Iran than does the United States, which severed relations with Iran after the revolution and seizure of hostages in 1979. The administration says that European governments provided $18 billion in government loan guarantees for Iran in 2005. The numbers have gone down in the last year, but not by much, American and European officials say." (Steven R. Weisman ‘Europe Resists U.S. on Curbing Ties With Iran’ http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/sf/nyt1_30_7.htm January 30, 2007); "The United States is urging its allies to go beyond U.N. sanctions against Iran over its atomic program and choke off foreign investment but is meeting strong Russian and European resistance, Western diplomats said. Some large EU countries with major trade relations with Iran like Germany and Italy are resisting U.S. pressure. Washington wants allies to end all business with Iran by preventing financial transactions and freezing assets of certain Iranians and Iranian companies. "U.S. treasury department officials have been touring Europe to make sure officials and companies know that they've got to put more pressure on Iran," another EU diplomat said." (Louis Charbonneau ‘EU, Russia resist U.S. on Iran sanctions: diplomats’ http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070130/ts_nm/iran_sanctions_dc January 30, 2007); "At least five Iranian banks have branches in Europe that have engaged in transactions with European banks, American and European officials say. The five include Bank Saderat, cited last year by the United States as being involved in financing terrorism by Hezbollah and others, and Bank Sepah, cited this month as involved in ballistic missile programs. A directory of the American Bankers Association lists Bank Sepah as having $10 billion in assets and equity of $1 billion in 2004. It has branches in Frankfurt, Paris, London and Rome. The United States Embassy in Rome has called it the preferred bank of Iran’s ballistic missile program, with a record of transactions involving Italian and other banks. Bank Saderat had assets of $18 billion and equity of $1 billion in 2004, according to the American Bankers directory. Three other Iranian banks — Bank Mellat, Bank Melli and Bank Tejarat — have not been cited as involved in any illicit activities, but many European officials say they expect the Treasury Department to move against them eventually. European officials say that the European Commission will meet in mid-February and approve a measure paving the way for freezing assets and blocking bank transactions for the 10 Iranian companies and 12 individuals cited in an appendix of Security Council Resolution 1737, adopted in December." (Steven R. Weisman ‘Europe Resists U.S. on Curbing Ties With Iran’ http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/sf/nyt1_30_7.htm January 30, 2007).

The bush regime has finally won a proxy military war - it used the ethiopian military to defeat islamists who were bringing peace and stability to somalia.

The turkish government, under pressure from islamic political parties, refused to support the american invasion of iraq and refused to allow the american military to use their bases in turkey for the invasion. The bush regime has recently persuaded the turkish government to allow it to station some of its long range bombers in turkey. Whether the islamic government will allow these bombers to be used in an attack on iran is doubtful but no rejection has yet been issued. The saudi arabian government, however, is attempting turkey into joining the jewish-american-european-sunni alliance against iran. "This week, the anti-Iranian alliance of Sunni-majority states stretched east to embrace Pakistan as that country's leader journeyed to the Egyptian beach resort of Sharm al-Sheikh for consultations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. President General Pervez Musharraf was coming from Riyadh, where he vowed to deepen defense and strategic ties with the Wahhabi kingdom. His trip, according to the Saudi-owned, Arabic-language news site Elaph, was intended to "expand the Sunni alliance that includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to include Pakistan as well in order to face the growing Iranian influence in the region"." (Iason Athanasiadis ‘Middle East's cold war heats up’ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA26Ak02.html January 26, 2007).


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