IRAN, RUSSIA, CHINA, AND THE SILK ROADJune 21, 2019
This has been one of those weeks in which news events have overtaken my original intentions for articles to blog about. And this is one of those cases, as E.G. brought this article from Zero Hedge to my attention:
In yesterday's New's and and Views from the Nefarium, I outlined a high octane speculation scenario concerning the recent attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf. There's no question that attacks occurred. The real question is, who actually did it and how was it actually done? Iran, as the US is claiming? Or is this a false flag? Was it a mine? or as the Japanese ship's crew maintains, something that flew into the ship?
This highlights my chief and fundamental difficulty with the whole thing. My chief difficulty was, and remains, that it is highly unlikely that the Tehran regime, nutty as it is, would not very likely attack a Japanese-owned tanker while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Tehran for talks! Not since George Bush the Dumber have we seen such pressure for military intervention with so little evidence being made available to the public. In fact, while we're on the subject, this has all the "feel" to it of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, under Lyndon Johnson, a man who reached Clintonesque levels of corruption very early in his "career". I remember that "feel" because I was a boy at the time. If a false flag, then one could easily finger the usual suspects: the (out)House of Saud, the regime of Nuttyahoo, the Brits, the U.S.A.
But in yesterday's New and Views I outlined a scenario that it appeared to me might be emerging, namely, the presentation of a "united Front" against Iran. The episode of Chancellorin Merkel's "shakes", and then her press conference in which she maintained the evidence for Iranian involvement in the attacks was "quite strong", or words to that effect. I have to wonder if the shakes were a "message" sent to her to play along, "or else." So, as of today, add Germany to the "list" of "powers endorsing the narrative." Then, as I also noted yesterday, India has sent powerful elements of the Indian Navy to the Persian Gulf, so add another nuclear power to the mix in the region besides the USA.
The most highly speculative element of my musings yesterday - and they are very speculative - was my wondering if, behind the scenes, Russia at least, and possibly China, had not been convinced to go along with a "regime change" scenario. Consider a high price of oil: this would benefit Russia and Saudi Arabia, hurt China, India, and Japan. If America, on the other hand, suppressed the price, this would benefit China and Japan, and hurt Russia and the American ally the (out)House of Saud. So oil may or may not be a way to gauge the possibility of my speculation.
Which brings us to E.G.'s article, and these statements in it:
Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin’s early June 2019 summit in Moscow with People’s Republic of China (PRC) Pres. Xi Jinping seems likely to have a disproportionate influence on the next phases of the crises unfolding in the greater Middle East, and therefore on the future of the region.
The escalating confrontation between Iran and the US is both influencing and influenced by the mega-trends set by Russia and the PRC.
One of the first major confrontations with the US by Russia and the PRC was to be over the greater Middle East. The main reason was the advance negotiations with all key oil producers - including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran - on substituting the petrodollar with a basket of currencies where the yuan, the euro and the ruble dominate. Using the currency basket would enable the sellers and buyers to go around the US-imposed sanctions and quotas. Indeed, Beijing and Moscow were now enticing the oil producers with huge, long-term export deals which were both financially lucrative and politically tempting by offering guarantees for the well-being of the participating governments.
The crux of the proposal is regional and includes flagrant disregard of the US sanctions on Iran.
However, the key to the extent of the commitment of both Beijing and Moscow lies in the growing importance and centrality of the New Silk Road via Central Asia.
Persia had a crucial rôle in the ancient Silk Road, and both the PRC and Russia now expect Iran to have a comparable key rôle in the New Silk Road.
The growing dominance of heritage-based dynamics throughout the developing world, including the greater Central Asia and the greater Middle East, makes it imperative for the PRC to rely on historic Persia/Iran as a western pole of the New Silk Road. It is this realization which led both Beijing and Moscow to give Tehran, in mid-May 2019, the original guarantees that Washington would be prevented from conducting a “regime change”.
Therefore, even though both Russia and the PRC were not satisfied with the Iranian and Iran-proxy activities and policies in the Iraq-Syria-Lebanon area, it was far more important for them to support Iran, and also Turkey, in their confrontations with the US in order to expedite the consolidation of the New Silk Road. (Emphasis added)
It's that last statement that opens up the possibility that my scenario isn't as wild as it may sound, for it indicates that under certain conditions, Russia and China might be prepared to throw over the Tehran regime if they had a reasonable assurance that any replacement regime would be amenable to their Silk Road plans. It's an indicator that the Tehran regime really benefits no one. Meanwhile, even as I compose this blog, some radio media in this country are pointing out that President Trump's remarks that "Iran maybe made a mistake" are giving that country an "out", and perhaps are indicative that he's not completely on board with the idea of a military intervention. In the long term, the Tehran regime is not only destabilizing to the area, it is destabilizing to the entire Silk Road project's "southern route". That means the political calculus will inevitably change for Iran, Russia, and China, if the regime remains in place, and it may imply that the calculus just did.
So for now, it's not only "watch oil" but watch Russia, and China. And there's a third European power that we've not heard from which, due to its recent Memorandum of Understanding with China to use its ports as a component in the Silk Road project, has vaulted to the top of having a vital interest in the situation.
And that's Italy.
See you on the flip side...