China and Middle East uncertainty
Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-01
With pro-democracy protests springing up across the middle east, predicting the overall outcomes is nigh impossible.
There is little talk of how China might view opportunities in the region, despite China’s skill gaining access to resources such as rare earths in Africa, despite the diplomatic opportunities when everything is up in the air.
Those diplomatic opportunities for China are considerable.
There is access to oil, there is some possibility of increased influence in the region at the expense of the US, and even without increased middle-east influence, there are opportunities elsewhere while western powers concentrate on middle-east issues.
China might offer to help the west with a volatile Middle East, either honestly to gain influence, or to be inside the tent, messing things up on purpose, always with the excuse "Hey, we aren’t saboteurs, you guys have stuffed up the Middle East much more, and we don’t say you do it on purpose"..
With a distracted US, China might consolidate power elsewhere, with crackdowns in Tibet, or charm offensives with Japan
The big win for China would be strong pro-democratic movements in regimes such as Saudi Arabia. – help support the bastards or pull them down – China wins as long as they pick the winning side.
And why should China be impatient? : Why not keep as many Middle East balls up in the air at once, making the US juggle hard and long? Why not create an environment where masterly inaction over an extended period is all that is needed.
A happy Chinese New Year Indeed.