China vs US in the Middle East – a battle for hearts and souls

The Africanist and Arabist in the pages of the left-wing Spanish publication expresses unconventional thoughts about China and its current role in the Islamic world. Only some of these ideas can be recognized as scientific. (For example, the author sees the personality cult of Xi Jinping in China, and Mao Zedong’s long-discredited ideas are viewed by the author without a trace of irony.) But in one, the author is exactly right: today's China is becoming an attractive alternative to the United States and the Western development model in the eyes of the Third World.

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — “He is strong only in appearance, but in reality it is a paper tiger, unable to withstand wind and rain,” said Mao Zedong about American imperialism. Since then, a lot of rain has passed, and in parallel with the growth of its military aggressiveness, the United States gradually turned into a failed state ( failed state – as the United States itself is called countries that can not cope with the provision of basic public services – approx. ed.).

This was especially evident during the hurricane Katrina (2005) and now with coronavirus: in a country where only 4% of the world’s population lives, one third of all covid-19 infected in the world. In addition, about 88,000 people have died there from the pandemic and 36.5 million are left without work.

Against this background, China looks like an effective manager to combat the pandemic nationwide – thanks to the advantages of the state planned economy. And at the same time, there is also an alternative US world leader who supplies medical equipment and provides financial assistance to at least 100 countries.

The PRC, which does not possess such enormous natural resources as the United States, but which has a fourfold larger population, feeds one fifth of humanity. At the same time, China has managed to quadruple the average salary of its workers over the past 20-25 years, says British economist Richard Wolff.

In addition, as the UN approvingly notes, over the past decades, China has lifted 850 million people out of poverty. It turns out that the Chinese model is an alternative to the inhuman and aggressive capitalism of the United States and its less sympathetic head of state.

The current situation gives rise to discussions about the new world order and the likelihood that China will deprive the United States of the role of hegemon, which they have been playing since 1946. Nevertheless, in the Middle East, which is of strategic importance due to the fact that 1) there are concentrated about 65% of the world’s oil and gas reserves and 2) the proximity of this region to two great powers – China and Russia – the reality appears in a slightly different light:

1. It is not true that – as the most ardent opponents of Donald Trump claim – he left the Middle East and gave it to Russia and China. Trump managed:

  • Increase the power of Israel by implementing a “final solution” to the Palestinian question.
  • Continue the war in Yemen.
  • Introduce new sanctions against Iran to strangle this country.
  • Increase the number of troops in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Expand about twenty of its bases in Syria and send its rebellious NATO ally Turkey to this country so that it occupies part of Syrian territory, and at the same time it bogs down there.
  • Shatter OPEC and take control of oil prices.
  • Strengthen military activity in the Persian Gulf even further.

China position

Mao Zedong’s independent political course, which put an end to the “century of humiliation,” found expression in the theory of “Three Worlds,” which the USA and the USSR, as imperialist powers, formed the First World; Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia belonged to the Second World, and China and the developing countries formed the Third World (hence this expression came from).

Accordingly, the Second and Third Worlds had to unite in order to crush the First World. And here he made a big mistake: the USA was a dying empire, which is why China had to mobilize the world to fight the growing Soviet “social-imperialism”. Henry Kissinger took advantage of the split between the two largest socialist countries and made a secret visit to China to prepare for President Nixon’s trip there, with two objectives: 1) restrain the USSR and 2) turn to China for help in order to get out of the Vietnamese adventure.

This approach, which abolishes the concept of “class struggle”, made itself known during popular performances in Arab countries in 2011: both Russia and China most likely see the “Arab spring” as the machinations of the United States, as if fighting poverty in the Arab the world ceased by itself, as if by magic.

Popular performances in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and even on the basis of the United States Sixth Fleet – the Emirate of Bahrain (Saudi tanks entered this country to suppress popular demonstrations), had nothing to do with the machinations of the United States and its allies against Syria and Libya.

In this situation, the PRC has established strategic partnership relations with Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, the UAE, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Turkey. Since 2013, China has been the largest investor in the region. The volume of Chinese investment in the Middle East is about 123 billion dollars. Beijing’s success is due to the following circumstances:

1. The absence of imperial claims and a colonial past. China did not advocate a “clash of civilizations,” for example, Buddhism or Confucianism against Islam or Judaism. “Religious wars” arise more likely within the Semitic religions themselves. Beijing prefers to observe from the side and not interfere in regional politics.

2. Following the principle of “an eye for an eye” in a positive way: a relationship of reciprocity and gratitude based on moral duty. All this is an integral part of the culture of the region, so difficult for foreigners to understand.

3. The priority of “cooperation between states” in foreign policy and the rejection of views on the state, both Marx and Hobbes.

4. Projecting one’s own power not through the militarization of strategic regions or aggressive realism, but through economic interdependence, of which the New Silk Road project is a clear manifestation. This initiative is aimed at “mutual development of states” and their overall economic growth. As part of this largest infrastructure project in history, the PRC has already invested about $ 400 billion in 80 countries. The military-industrial complex is one of the supporting structures of the economy: its export share in the arms market is 36%, while China accounts for 5.2%.

5. The human factor: if you compare the serious, reasonable and respectable President of China Xi Jinping with Donald Trump, then the comments will be superfluous.

You can displace, replace no

It is obvious that the United States and Europe are experiencing the deepest crisis since the Second World War, however, the growing activity of China in the region, which for centuries has been an integral part of the Millennium Silk Road, does not mean that it intends or can take on the role of the United States. At the moment, based on Chinese policy, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  • Beijing does not want (and does not have the ability) to take on the role of the United States in the Middle East, although the region asks for it.
  • Instead of buying the loyalty of the local ruling circles, China seeks to enlist the support of the people by providing millions of masks and shoes to needy children for free, while the United States dot the scorched lands of the Middle East with mines, crippling unhappy children.
  • China does not introduce economic sanctions against other states, does not intrude on them under far-fetched pretexts in order to seize their natural wealth and territories.
  • It does not compete with anyone, but simply carries out its ongoing development. This is the largest global lender who has issued direct loans and commercial loans worth $ 1.5 trillion to 150 countries, which they pay mainly with their natural resources.
  • China does not pose a threat to the United States and does not seek to replace them. Rather, Beijing seeks to avoid any clash with this superpower: it joined Trump’s illegal sanctions on Iran by suspending its agreements with that country. To the displeasure of those who think that there is a “China-Iran-Russia axis,” which imperialism is being targeted, last December, after three camps conducted military exercises in the Persian Gulf, China and Saudi Arabia continued them together.
  • China is not trying to interfere in Middle Eastern affairs, establish a zone of its influence or create enemies for itself. He acts as a reliable, pragmatic partner, respecting his own state sovereignty.
  • China continues to unhurriedly advocate the creation of a Palestinian state (while Israel and the United States are trying to deprive the Palestinians of even their meager autonomy) and the UN Security Council is vetoing Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territories, clearly realizing that the decisions of this body are implemented only when they are in the interests of USA. Beijing has a wonderful relationship with Israel, representing the interests of the United States in the region: in addition to purchasing Israeli military technology, the Shanghai International Port industrial group signed an agreement in 2015 with Tel Aviv to expand the port in Haifa.
  • China’s consumer approach to the world does not prevent its authorities from investing part of the proceeds in the fight against poverty and backwardness in their own country, instead of buying islands and withdrawing funds to offshore. According to the Fortune Global 500 list, the 15 leading Chinese companies (energy, banking, telecommunications and railways) with the highest degree of profitability belong to the state, like all lands.

China in Wonderland

For Beijing, the state is not an instrument of class domination, but an exponent of national interests; therefore, it always deals with leaders, regardless of who they represent. When in July 2018, Chinese leader Xi Jinping offered Arab leaders $ 20 billion in loans and an additional 90 million to Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon to restore and assist displaced people, and another billion to ensure “social stability” (to to prevent popular uprisings?), didn’t he realize that at least 80% of these funds would go straight into someone’s personal pockets? First of all, corrupt capitalist dictators, misogynists who stop at nothing, and will the debt itself be repaid at the expense of the most disadvantaged segments of the population? What is the point of having a high-speed train if a significant part of the population is not able to pay for bus travel?

The failure of the so-called “development along the non-capitalist path”, which was carried out by petty-bourgeois “independent” dictatorships in Algeria, Libya, Iraq and Syria in the 70-80s of the XX century, showed that without a socialist government it is impossible to carry out reforms in the interests of the majority of the population . China does not pursue an active policy to counter NATO militarism in the Middle East. If he follows the principle “When your enemy wants to hang himself, do not distract him,” then what about the hundreds of thousands of people who died in these wars? Together with Russia, China voted to impose an economic embargo on Iraq (1990-2003), which led to the death of about 2 million people. China also did not veto NATO aggression against Libya. Create a cult of personality, this time Xi Jinping, and to promote his “thinking” – is it worth it? After all, such a concentration on the personality of one person not only discredits the collective work of the party and people of the PRC, but also creates inviolable demigod people who cannot be criticized. And this poses a great threat to the achievements of this wonderful people. Progress, and above all socialist development, is impossible without political freedoms, that is, without the active and creative participation of all citizens and their mandatory control over the actions of the authorities.

US vs China

In the 2018 US National Security Strategy report, China is accused of “trying to weaken US security and well-being, create a world whose ethical values ​​are contrary to US values ​​and interests.” Do the authors of the report mean the values ​​embodied in the lies regarding Iraq, prisons in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib or Bagram? Donald Trump became so carried away by anti-Chinese politics that his opponents accuse him of removing Russia from his agenda and, in general, is an agent of Moscow. Despite the fact that the United States does not have a well-developed “strategy towards China” due to the close ties of the American oligarchy with this country, Washington uses the following containment measures against China:

1. Increasing the pace of reconnaissance flights around China in parallel with the operations of the “freedom of navigation” (FONOPS) in order to provoke Beijing.

2. Increasing the size of its contingent in Afghanistan, strengthening the power of the Taliban along the perimeter of borders with China.

3. The imposition of sanctions on the sale of Iranian oil just at the time of signing of a contract by China for its supply over the next 25 years.

4. The conclusion of agreements with India in order to prevent its possible rapprochement with China.

5. The creation together with Japan, India and Australia of the alliance (2017) with the aim of patrolling and establishing its influence in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as well as in the South China Sea.

6. Support for the right opposition in Hong Kong.

7. The containment of Iran and China, following the Obama doctrine and realizing that energy security is most concerned about the Celestial Empire.

8. Discredit. To this end, the United States refers to “Debt Trap Diplomacy,” through which the PRC offers loans to countries participating in the New Silk Road project, provided that they enter into contracts with Chinese companies and repay loans in a short time. Thus, according to Washington, the sovereignty of debtor countries is seriously dependent on the debt burden: 1) According to Forbes (2019), over the past 18 years, China has written off about $ 9.8 billion of debt to a number of countries, including mainly Cuba. And what did the EU do with “fraternal” Greece? He did not write off her debt and even refused to negotiate on its refinancing; 2) in connection with the difficult economic consequences of covid-19, China said it would consider writing off debt to a number of African countries, thereby, which Trump calls “crappy countries.”

9. Accusations (to which the United States has no moral right) that China “does not respect human rights” in the countries where it invests. These accusations sound ridiculous if you recall that in Nigeria the Anglo-Dutch company Shell was accused of “involvement in the killings, violence and torture” of the population in the 1990s; Shell also stood behind the coup d’etat in Iran in 1953 and the killings of thousands of Iranian communists and patriots. And what can we say about the role of American companies in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – everywhere they leave a bad memory. But the inhabitants of those countries where China works, have kept completely different, much better impressions about this country.

10. In the face of growing threats to its country, Beijing intends to defend itself “in Chinese” in record time: from 2012 to 2018, he launched two aircraft carriers, and by 2025 he will have seven aircraft carriers, while he does not intend to surround USA in their own waters. But the best Chinese weapon is to be the sovereign holder of the US government debt and the main importer of oil from Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. China has made other world players dependent on it.


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