Friday, February 26, 2010

The Rise of China, European Security, Iran Revisited

In case you haven't already read it, I suggest reviewing the remarks of China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the Munich security conference (here is the transcript of the question and answer period that followed). Two interesting themes that I detected; one, a "concert" approach to solving global problems, rather than U.S. leadership; and two, what seems to be an embrace of the "World without the West" thesis.

Second, Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic's remarks at Johns Hopkins. I was struck by the similarity in his assessment about the importance of including Turkey and Russia in the European architecture (rather than as peripheral powers to Europe), and some similarities in what I heard Paul Saunders of the Nixon Center address when he spoke at the Naval War College on Thursday.

And this week's WPR column: No Magic Bullet on Iran

Comments:
I find it hard to comprehend how someone with your education and experience could seriously entertain that Russia, China, Brazil, and others would join US in a policy of "focusing on deterrence in the short run while increasing efforts to promote regime modification -- by internal means -- over the long haul".

In regards to the nuclear umbrella: do you seriously propose to protect UAE against Iran? UAE where there were days of jubilations and celeberations following the 9/11 attacks on US? With college girls coming to class, gigling about the attacks? Are you people mad?

The geopolitics of the Great Power rivalry on this planet mitigates against any such concerted policy at the present moment in history. US policy towards Iran, since the days of Bill Clinton, has locked US in a position that only advances the geopolitical and geo-strategic interests of Russia and China.

The most grievous policy of successive US administrations was the inclusion of other parties in the resolution of issues that were fundamentally were bilateral in nature between US and Iran.

The aim of the Western Alliance (US, EU, NATO, Japan) of changing the geopolitical orientation of the Iranian state is impossible to achieve – neither war nor isolation nor sanctions are going to achieve that. And I suggest to you that a prickly – but independent – Iran is something that benefits Russia, China, Brazil, and even India .
 
"The most grievous policy of successive US administrations was the inclusion of other parties in the resolution of issues that were fundamentally were bilateral in nature between US and Iran."

To the extent that the problem is nuclear proliferation, I don't think it is a bilateral issue. The difficulty is that the US has fixated itself on Iran's claim to a civilian nuclear energy, which the NPT allows, and not on the aspect that is relevant to military uses, the delivery systems for weapons.

A shared strategic defense with other states in the region and with outside powers could prevent any state in the region from delivering nuclear and other weapons by air. The problem with US policy has been a failure to internationalize the crisis on a basis that the great powers and neighboring countries could all openly support. The proposal of a shared strategic defense could achieve this purpose. It would also present Russia and China with an alternative much harder to reject, and if Iran refuses or later backs out, much harder to abandon.
 
I should also add that Iran should be invited to belong to any shared strategic defense. The point would be for no country in the region to need missiles or other airborne systems to defend against neighbors.
 
David Billington:

There was a war between 1980 and 1988 in which WMD was used.

I cannot take your statement "no country in the region to need missiles or other airborne systems to defend against neighbors" seriously and the points in your earlier message.

You are sleeping under the defense umberella of US and are telling others with real strategic concerns that, in fact, they have nothing to fear.

At least try to envision, as I know it would be hard - specially for an American - the serious concerns of the others on this planet.
 
Anonymous:

I am only trying to propose an alternative to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Your post implies that there is no alternative and perhaps you are right. But a nuclear arms race can only lead to stability in the region if the nations there do not then miscalculate in a crisis. The US and USSR narrowly avoided nuclear war on one or two occasions. Nuclear standoffs between dozens of countries increase the chances of one country miscalculating.

As to my sleeping, the American nuclear umbrella is worthless if a local nuclear war breaks out between two other countries somewhere and adversely affects the planetary environment. The other great powers may not agree that this danger is serious enough to change the international system, and we Americans may have to reconcile ourselves to a more dangerous world as a result. But I see nothing complacent about wanting to limit the spread of nuclear weapons as part of a shared defense that limits our own freedom of action as the price of winning the international support necessary to make a shared defense effective.

Please note that I am speaking for myself and not for my government, which clearly is not open to such ideas at the present time.
 
David Billington:

The alternative to more war and bloodshed in the Middle East is the creation of a Concert of the Middle East.

But your country is not interested in that; she pursues a maximalist position and plays for keeps.

In regards to a possible nuclear arms race in the Middle East - that is a red herring - no state there has the financial or human resources to undertake that. [Unless, of course, you subsidize them.]
 
Anonymous:

"The alternative to more war and bloodshed in the Middle East is the creation of a Concert of the Middle East."

Could you please explain what you mean by a Concert? If you mean a voluntary agreement, on what basis could this come together, given the tensions between states that you referenced in your previous post?

"In regards to a possible nuclear arms race in the Middle East - that is a red herring - no state there has the financial or human resources to undertake that. [Unless, of course, you subsidize them.]"

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Egypt has a number of civilian reactors under development with Saudi funding. Pakistan could supply any technical expertise still needed, as it has to other countries in the past. Nobody thinks that Iran lacks the financial and human resources to go nuclear. And Turkey has the ability to do so too.
 
The popular comment layout is common, so it is easily recognized scanning to post a comment. If the comment section is in a different format, then I am going to spend more time trying to decipher what everything means.
study abroad
 
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