Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Expanding International Presence

Throughout history international relations has always created its share of intrigue. It's interesting to read about China's expanding economic and political footprint in the Middle East.

- Turkey and China last month touted "a new cooperation paradigm." Beijing's inroads with the Islamist government includes an agreement to transform the ancient Silk Road into a Silk Railway linking China and Turkey.
- China gets more than a quarter of its oil imports from the Persian Gulf and has billions invested in Iran's oil sector.
- China filled a void in Syria left by a decaying Soviet Union, providing the terrorist state with a variety of missiles and modernizing Syria's antiquated energy sector.
- China is the leading oil and gas investor in Iraq, and it is paying millions to protect its investment there. ( Iraq has the world's largest known oil reserves.) China has also forgiven billions of Iraqi debt.
- In the large scheme of things, "Although China holds a significant portion of U.S. debt, and trade relations are strong, at the end of the day the two nations are competitors, both strategic and economic- with profoundly different world views. It may be that this great game will end with Washington and Beijing as allies. More likely, though, a modus vivendi (agree to disagree) will emerge between the two powers."
- Increasingly, countries in the Middle East see China as a useful counterbalance against the West, amid a "growing regional perception that the United States is withdrawing from the Middle East."

From an article by David Schenker and Christina Lin, Los Angeles Times