Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Sino-Russian Situation

What Would and Israeli-Iranian War mean for the World?

Talk is heating up of an Israeli confrontation with Iran is heating up fast, not to mention what could blow up into a regional conflict with players all over the globe.  Hilary Clinton has admitted that enforcement of a "no-fly zone" in Syria is on the table, similar to one that was in place in Libya, whilst Israel has given the United States memo after memo detailing a potential Iranian threat.  It came to light yesterday  that Israel had detailed a scenario for any conflict with Iran, and it encompassed a large scale cyber-attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, followed by a missile barrage, then a further wave of  jet fighters.  All this was to be accompanied by a massive mobilization of Israeli defense forces on the ground in anticipation of what could be retaliatory attacks  from Iran proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah from Sinai and the West Bank.  All this, of course, would be carried out in conjunction with the U.S.  All though it seems as though Israel has covered all the immediate bases, for some reason or another the implications this conflict could have on ones throughout the region and for countries all around the world.

China and Russia are two countries that have vehemently refuted any attempt by any country to intervene, and I would agree with them if their motives had been as innocent and kind-hearted as they try to make it seem.  Russia has been the primary source of nuclear expertise and equipment, while China, along with India and many other emerging economies, has continued to buy Iranian oil, inadvertently funding a government that has incited genocide, a crime in itself,  against the Jewish people on multiple occasions, all while developing an arsenal of nuclear weapons that will allow them to carry out their threat to "wipe Israel from the map."  Both these countries opposed any form of support for various insurgent groups throughout the Middle East in the Arab Spring, and China even shipped weapons to Qaddafi during this conflict.  Why would they do this in the face of international pressure to do the complete opposite?   I'll outline it below.

China's rise on the world stage has been meteoric; annual growth numbers that make the rest of the G8 finance ministers green with envy, and even the numbers put up by Brazil and India, two other emerging economic powerhouses pale in comparison.  With it has come increased political clout for Beijing, and the politburo is determined to harness this to outdo not only the U.S, but every other western power, primarily Japan, through what we'll call "soft power."  American culture is everywhere, and everyone knows the good ol' US of A, and you only need to turn on news channels from Russia to China to Ethiopia to catch up on what's going on stateside.  American music and movies are loved across the globe, and China seethes at the sight of this.  It should be their culture in the spotlight, and so they set out to do that.  Although they do use the traditional avenues such as cultural attaches and expositions, not to mention the Olympics, they've realized that creating a sphere of influence outside of traditional American allies will help establish China as a rival superpower to the Americans.  They've invested heavily in African countries, building dams, roads and factories that the West, bloated with bureaucracy, and held back by red tape, has been unable to build.  This efficiency has impressed many in Africa, who now prefer doing business with the Chinese, rather than us.  But what does Africa have to do with the situation in the Middle East, you may ask.  Well, if you noticed, many African leaders haven't been too impressed with the West, however unfair their judgement may have been.  In the Middle East, Iran and now Syria are both countries with and adamant hatred for America, as well as the West at large.  With these countries in a sphere of influence centered around Russia and China, they are now all nations allied against the U.S and it's allies,  not in a militaristic sense, but an ideological sense.  By protecting these countries, and this is where Russia comes in, they are defying a group of countries they view as a tired old boys club, interfering in their affairs.  

So with that out of the way, if Israel and the U.S do go ahead and launch a preemptive strike against Iran, it would go without saying that Canada, most of Europe, South Korea and the Philippines would pony up on their side, although I feel only maybe the U.S, Canada and possibly Great Britain would actually put down boots on Israeli soil should Iran attempt a land invasion either directly.  More likely, Iran, which has threatened to do so, would fire multiple ballistics towards major cities in Israel, followed by terrorist attacks by Iranian proxies, which would probably result in a higher casualty count than the predetermined 500 dead. I doubt that China and Russia would actually attack Israel, but Russia especially would supply money and arms to Iran while China would make a lot of noise in the security council and denounce the U.S and it's allies, and it could plunge U.S-Sino relations to new lows, as well as hurt Chinese relations with South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines.  

China and Russia have repeatedly irritated the West, ignoring sanctions and blatantly funding the war machines of autocratic states that sponsor terrorism and intentionally building diplomatic relations with countries that are a proverbial thorn in America's side.  While much ado has been made about the immediate consequences, I feel that the U.S feels reluctant to attack primarily to avoid upsetting China, whom's actions it is frustrated by, but who at the end of the day is America's largest single foreign creditor, and a major trade partner.  A case can be made for the war-weary American public as well.  After having been led through that rabbit hole we know as Iraq in search of WMDs, and a increasingly impossible situation in Afghanistan, a conflict with Iran, however justified it is, will not be very popular with the public, and popular with the public is one thing President Obama must be if he is to win this election.

On a side note, in regard to the ongoing civil war in Syria, international support for the rebel FSA is picking up steam, but Saudi Arabia and the U.S, two primary backers of the opposition, have been in this all to familiar situation before.  In the 90's, Iran had warned the U.S about the growing prominence of a Islamic fundamentalist group, backed by the Saudis, called the Taliban, and a clan of essentially a group of religious zealot mercenaries, a group we know as the Al Qaeda, and the threat they posed to the U.S.  Alas, blinded by the need to eliminate their immediate foe, they not only  paid no heed to the inner workings of these organizations but went forward and funded their crusade against the "infidel invaders" from the north. Now years later, with the Soviet Union dead and gone, these same fundamentalists, painted as revolutionaries and freedom fighters by the media, much in the same way that the fighters in Syria are, set their sights on America. It seemed to tolerant, too "morally bankrupt" (oh horror, women in the army!) for their taste, and lacking any better enemy, set out to wage "jihad" against them. Prior to this though, the American and international media, primarily the Saudis, had given people the impression that the people actually fighting the Soviets were for the most part actually Afghan. As it turned out, that was the opposite. The majority of these glorified militia men were actually from across the Middle East, but primarily from Saudi Arabia, come to wage a holy war to "liberate" their Muslim brothers, much like the steady flow of mercenaries now flowing into Syria from Lebanon and Jordan to fight a battle against a bloody tyrant in the name of freedom. Iran has warned that the opposition is not much better than the Assad regime, and this is clearly exemplified in its indiscriminate use of IEDs, suicide bombs and liberal application of extra judicial justice, not to mention brazen attacks on UN observers for no apparent reason. Iran correctly warned the U.S against supporting a group that would go on to become public enemy number 1 once, and it isn't much of a stretch to imagine that they could be right again. Replacing tyranny with tyranny is not a recipe for success and is a situation ripe for disaster.