Skip to main content

Trump’s Bungled Iran Gambit Is Helping China Become a Naval Power With Global Reach

Syed Fazl-E-Haider

Updated 07.17.19 7:27AM ET Published 07.17.19 5:36AM ET 

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast

GWADAR, Pakistan—British warships are acting as nervous escorts to British oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, even as Europe tries desperately to find a way out of the escalating crisis with Iran provoked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord last year. 

But the Chinese role in the background of this escalating crisis has been largely overlooked, and could have enormous strategic consequences. Already, China is positioning itself to act as a policeman protecting its own strategic interests in the Persian Gulf,  the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean beyond.

THROWBACK

Trump and the Persian Gulf Have a Long, Surprising History

Christopher Dickey

The key is the port of Gwadar on Pakistan’s southwest coast about 625 nautical miles east of the Strait of Hormuz, the gateway for about a third of the world’s international oil traffic.  

China is spending a huge amount—$60 billion—building what is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to link western China with Gwadar Port through a network of highways, railways and gas pipelines. This, in turn, is part of its grand design known as the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, or OBOR. 

The U.S. Defense Department, reporting to Congress in May, summed up U.S. concerns about Chinese strategy, which it sees as likely to make countries around the world potentially dependent on their ties to the China’s economy and uncritical of, if not indeed subservient to, its policies. 

But the Defense Department noted that global presence also heightens China’s global exposure to “international and regional turmoil, terrorism, piracy, and serious natural disasters and epidemics,” which the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is supposed to deal with.

“One of the ‘overriding strategic objectives’ of the Chinese Communist Party is to ‘secure China’s status as a great power and, ultimately, emerge as the preeminent power in the Indo-Pacific region.’”

— U.S. Department of Defense

Specifically, as the Defense Department noted, “Some OBOR investments could create potential military advantages for China, should China require access to selected foreign ports to pre-position the necessary logistics support to sustain naval deployments in waters as distant as the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean to protect its growing interests.”

Which brings us back to Gwadar, here in the often troubled province of Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan. The Chinese already have discovered they’re targets for a shadowy separatist organization calling itself the Balochistan Liberation Organization, which attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi in November. In May this year the group hit the luxury Pearl Hotel which looks out on Gwadar Harbor. All four attackers and at least one security guard were killed. “Our fighters have carried out this attack on Chinese and other foreign investors,” the group said.

ADVERTISING

Undeterred, China continues to push ahead as the  builder, financier and operator of this strategic port, and Beijing may be much more concerned about Washington’s aggressive policies in the region than it is about the terrorists.

Iran's threat to shut the Strait of Hormuz has pushed the U.S. into proposing a maritime coalition to protect shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean Region.  It would act as a kind of regional watchman with eyes on all shipping lanes. But that would also position the coalition as a potential threat to China’s development of strategic assets here.

“An escalation of the U.S.-Iran conflict or volatility in the Gulf could give Beijing the pretext to build a more ambitious naval base at Gwadar.”

On the other hand, a naval base in Gwadar enables Beijing to monitor American activities very closely, patrolling sea lanes to protect its own interests while monitoring U.S. activities in the Indian Ocean.

Pakistan would have a number of incentives to cooperate, including its icy relations with Washington.  Defense cooperation is a major aspect of what Pakistan and China call their "all-weather friendship.”

For the record, Beijing has dismissed news reports that it will build a full-fledged naval base at Gwadar. But as the Pentagon pointed out,  in the near term China is more likely to preposition logistical support for a growing Chinese naval presence. 

An escalation of the U.S.-Iran conflict or volatility in the Gulf could give Beijing the pretext to build a more ambitious naval base at Gwadar for security reasons. It is dependent on imported oil for more than 70 percent of its needs, and much of that comes out of the Gulf. 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE GATHERING

U.S. Must Put a Ban on Google Helping the Chinese Military

Gordon G. Chang

If a base is to be built, some analysts believe China’s model for Gwadar might be its installation at Yulin along the southern coast of China’s Hainan Island, a strategic key in Beijing’s efforts to claim control over virtually all of the South China Sea. Yulin can accommodate aircraft carriers, and so-called “caverns” are believed capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites. If a similar base were located at the crown of the Arabian Sea, China’s ability to expand the reach of its navy would increase exponentially.  

None of that lies in the immediate future, but it’s clearly the kind of thing the Pentagon is worrying about. As the report to Congress stated bluntly, one of the “overriding strategic objectives” of the Chinese Communist Party is to “secure China’s status as a great power and, ultimately, emerge as the preeminent power in the Indo-Pacific region.”

How ironic it would be if the Trump administration’s manufactured crisis with Iran opened the door wide for such a strategic breakthrough by China. 

With additional reporting by Christopher Dickey


https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-bungled-iran-gambit-is-helping-china-become-a-naval-power-with-global-reach

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rise-china-europe-railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…

China's Raise as a Maritime Power

China's Rise as a Maritime PowerOcean Policy from Mao Zedong to Xi JinpingTAKEDA Jun’ichiSenkaku IslandsApr 23, 2014 PDF Download1. IntroductionThe international community has been viewing China's recent moves relating to the seas as representing "maritime expansion," and the Chinese themselves have come to talk about making their country a maritime power. In the political report he delivered in the autumn of 2012 to the eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which stands at the top of the country's power structure, General Secretary Hu Jintao declared, "We should enhance our capacity for exploiting marine resources, develop the marine economy, protect the marine ecological environment, resolutely safeguard China's maritime rights and interests, and build China into a maritime power."1 This was Hu's final report as the top leader of the CPC; after delivering it he stepped down from his posts as general secretary and chairm…