China-Iran-Russia axis

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

The China-Iran-Russia axis has been dubbed "that other axis" by Asia Times' Jephraim P. Gundzik, who wrote June 9, 2005, that "Beijing's increasingly close ties with Moscow and Tehran will thwart Washington's foreign policy goal of expanding US security footholds in the Middle East, Central Asia and Asia. However, the primacy of economic stability will most likely prevent a proxy-style military confrontation, in Iran or North Korea, between China and the US." [1]

"Initially, Moscow supported Washington's 'war on terrorism'. However, the US invasion of Iraq changed this support into resistance, and later into active efforts to counterbalance the US. In the past two years both Washington and Moscow have sought to strengthen their influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus. ... More significantly, Moscow is working diligently to strengthen its ties with Iran, Syria and China - countries that Washington considers to be adversaries," Gundzik wrote in March 2005. [2]

Additionally, since the "beginning of the war in Iraq," he said, "Beijing has worked feverishly ... in an apparent effort to prevent US military action against the remaining 'axis of evil' members, Iran and North Korea. In addition to recent massive energy deals with Teheran, which place Iran in China's security web, both Beijing and Moscow have accelerated the transfer of missile technology to Teheran, while selling the Islamic republic increasingly sophisticated military equipment.

"Armed with a vast array of anti-ship and long-range missiles, Iran can target US troop positions throughout the Middle East and strike US Navy ships. Iran can also use its weapons to blockade the Straits of Hormuz through which one-third of the world's traded oil is shipped. With the help of Beijing and Moscow, Teheran is becoming an increasingly unappealing military target for the US." [3]

"Both North Korea and Iran are following a course of action that is putting them directly at odds with U.S. interests. North Korea declared that it possesses nuclear weapons and that it will continue to build up its nuclear arsenal unless it receives certain concessions from the United States, and Iran has firmly expressed its desire to control the nuclear fuel cycle, raising concerns that it plans on developing covertly its own nuclear weapons," Erich Marquadt wrote in May 2005. [4]

"It will be important for the United States, which benefits tremendously -- strategically and economically -- from its immense influence in East Asia, to prevent China from gaining hegemony over the area. In order to stunt this possibility, Washington will need to devise methods and strategies to meet increased Chinese regional influence," Marquardt commented in July 2004. [5]

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National Security: Competition / Threat

The China-Iran-Russia axis, according to Gundzik, is also "challenging US interests in Central Asia," with Washington "working feverishly to gain security footholds in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan to complement existing US military bases in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. China and Russia are working equally hard to assert their influence in Central Asia," particularly "under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO.)" [6]

"Iran's mammoth energy deals with China imply that Tehran is now integral to China's national security." [7]

Additionally, "Beijing's expanding foreign relations both within and outside the China-Iran-Russia alliance and China's growing militarism have begun to repaint Washington's perceptions of US-China relations. These perceptions have been echoed by Washington's closest allies in Asia - Taipei and Tokyo. In mid-2004, reports by both the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) and the Pentagon depicted China as a major threat to US national security," Gundzik said. [8]

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"Access to Persian Gulf oil and the security of key friendly states in the area are vital to U.S. national security. Consistent with NSD 26 of October 2, 1989, [Subject: "U.S. Policy Toward the Persian Gulf"] and NSD 45 of August 20, 1990, [Subject: "U.S. Policy in Response to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait" (C)], and as a matter of long-standing policy, the United states remains committed to defending its vital interests in the region, if necessary through the use of military force, against any power with interests inimical to our own. Iraq, by virtue of its unprovoked invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, and its subsequent brutal occupation, is clearly a power with interests inimical to our own."

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China and Disarming Iran

In his January 22, 2006, TIME magazine article "The New Power in the Persian Gulf - Forget the U.S. and Europe. China is the key player in the Iranian nuclear crisis," Bill Powell discussed China's control in any decision to have Iran give up its nuclear ambitions.

"From the beginning of the Iranian crisis, the eventual diplomatic response to Tehran was always destined to be settled in one place, far from 'the West.' For whether the world stands any chance of eventually imposing sanctions that might get the mullahs' attention will be decided in China, by President Hu Jintao and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

Powell identified three "critical facts".

  • China:
  1. is one of five permanent UN Security Council members, giving a veto vote over all resoloutions;
  2. has a voracious need for oil and gas, and is looking to the mideast to assuage it; and
  3. does not view an Iranian Nuclear Power as a direct threat.
  • "Few major powers practice a more coldly realist foreign policy than China. Beijing's external affairs are closely intertwined with its domestic policy, and the watchword that drives both is stability."
  • Hu will want a quid pro quo for no veto. Powell mentioned a few possibilities. China may sacrifice Iran if in return the US:
  1. leaves North Korea alone;
  2. does not stop European Union weapon sales to China; and/or
  3. does not interfere in the market processes as China seeks other sources for its growing oil needs.

Pipelineistan

Control of Eurasia: Historical Perspective or Long-Range Plan?

Zbigniew Brzezinski -- co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, and who gave intelligence advice to presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush -- wrote in his 1977 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives that

"The key to America’s control of the world in the 21st century is the control of Eurasia. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions and ... about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources ... without an attack in the order of Pearl Harbor or without a direct external threat, there is no way the American people would support the imperial mobilization necessary to control central Asia."

Blogger NEOminous, whose posting this was on Nightly.net, commented that Brzezinski "even plotted out points where we needed to attack and Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran are part of those many points." [9]

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