By Mohammad Mazhari

China, Russia and Iran collectively oppose U.S. hegemony: researcher

July 31, 2022 - 17:4

TEHRAN – China, Russia and Iran are clearly in one bloc opposing the U.S. hegemony and Washington is seriously unhappy with this coalition, a research associate at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) says.

“China, Russia, and Iran are clearly in one bloc opposing the U.S. hegemony,” Dost Muhammad Barrech tells the Tehran Times.

Barrech also says, “Beijing has inked 15 strategic partnerships with the Arab states in the last decade alone, putting Washington in hot water in the Middle East (West Asia). “  

Following is the text of the interview:   

Q: How do you evaluate the American administration’s about-face when it comes to Saudi Arabia?

A: The Biden administration tries to reset the relationships with Saudi Arabia, as ties deteriorated in 2018 over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Biden, after assuming the charge as the president of the country, had vowed to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" state over Khashoggi's murder. My sense says that he is not in a position to punish MBS due to the evolving situation of regional and international politics. He is under tremendous pressure to crack down on Russia and lower domestic gas prices amid inflation seeking a political solution to the high gas prices and widespread inflation in the U.S. By the following realpolitik, he will set aside his moral outrage to pursue warmer relations with Riyadh amid the dramatic global upheaval spurred by the Ukraine crisis. Washington accuses Tehran of not complying with the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that further escalates consternation of both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. I reckon Biden’s visit so far has not yielded fruitful results in terms of securing more oil from Saudi Arabia and made little headway on Israeli-Palestinian relations.  

Q: Biden said in Saudi Arabia that America would not "walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran," while his predecessor Trump was planning to withdraw U.S. forces from the Middle East. What is your take?

“The U.S. is more concerned about its national interest and is least bothered with morality.”   A: You are right, Biden has reassured his allies in the Middle East (West Asia) that the U.S. will stay actively engaged amid fears that China and Russia could swiftly fill a leadership vacuum. Countering China's growing influence in international politics, Russia's war in Ukraine and Iranian influence in the Middle East (West Asia) remain to be seen as the top priority of the Biden administration. To me the New Cold War has already been triggered, the New Cold War will see further intensification due to China’s growing economy, military modernization, superiority in Artificial Intelligence AI, and soft power domain. China's bilateral trade with Arab world in 2021 crossed the figure of U.S. $330 billion. The China-led Belt and Road Initiative BRI has 20 partners in the Middle East (West Asia) and North Africa while Beijing has inked 15 strategic partnerships with the Arab states in the last decade alone, putting Washington in hot water in the Middle East (West Asia).   

We can see the region has rapidly been witnessing bloc politics. The U.S. and China are on quest of promoting their ideologies and political clouts. Washington seeks to promote democratic values to reinforce the Quad known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and New Quad in the Middle East (West Asia). China, meanwhile, is committed to promoting its alliance. China–Iran 25-year economic cooperation deal of U.S. $400 billion dollars enhances Beijing's influence in the Middle East (West Asia) and the Indian Ocean. I assume the U.S., due to its relative decline in the Middle East (West Asia), alone cannot counter Beijing, by all means, will stimulate its allies to contain China. Biden, unlike his predecessor Trump, is trying to unite the U.S. allies in the Middle East (West Asia), cementing NATO, the New Asia-Pacific Economic Bloc, and reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to obtain relative political gains. 

Q: Biden had said that Saudi Arabia is a pariah country. So what happened or what has changed now?

A: One can always find a huge difference between a political campaign and the reality of being in office. Being a president of the country, Biden knows the importance of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East (West Asia). His predecessor Trump also used the same caustic language against Riyadh. When Trump became the president of the country, he instead of visiting Canada (Ottawa is the first capital to be visited by the U.S. presidents due to economic diplomacy) visited Saudi Arabia and inked an agreement, worth U.S. $350 billion including a $110 billion weapons deal. My sense says that Saudi Arabia is a lucrative market as far as the U.S. military-industrial complex and foreign direct investments FDI are concerned. Saudi Arabia can also be instrumental in eroding Iranian sway in the region.  


Q: What is the fallout of Biden's meeting with bin Salman? Do you think the U.S. president has legitimized MBS by visiting Riyadh?

A: To me, international politics in the current arena witness fierce great powers’ rivalry between the U.S. and China, where the former strives to lessen the latter's rising influence. The Middle East (West Asia) is unlikely to remain immune to the great powers’ competition. Legitimation of MBS remains to be seen as the tip of the iceberg. The only game in the town for Washington is China and Iran in the region. MBS ought to be equated with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi was the only person ever denied a U.S. visa because of deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat state in 2002 when he was the Chief Minister of the state resulted in the killing of more than 1,000. However, Modi turned out to be an apple's eye of the U.S. as soon as he became prime minister of India. I think the U.S. is more concerned about its national interest and is least bothered with morality. As the saying of Machiavelli goes that “politics have no relation to morals”.  

Q: Biden says that Washington will not leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia, or Iran. Do you think Iran, Russia, and China are the new evil axis to the U.S. and we should expect returning George Bush's rhetoric?

A: China, Russia, and Iran are clearly in one bloc opposing the U.S. hegemony. The Ukraine crisis has further been bolstering ties between Beijing, Moscow, and Iran. Biden’s statement clearly illustrates that aforementioned countries are predicated to be described as the new evil axis to the U.S. in a bid to unite the allies to protect the so-called democratic values and the prevailing international world order. 


 

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