East Meets West in RealPolitik

Struck by this quote from last week’s BBC news story on the Iran nuclear programme resumption – referred to the security council this week. I still see this whole world-energy / economy / consumption story tangled up in the same web as the mid-east / Israel story, whether we’re talking Chinese energy needs, Iranian nuclear ambitions, Hamas election victories, Declared anti-Zionist aims, and so on. One reason I scoffed last week at the “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” rhetoric.

The mix of brinkmanship and good-cop / bad-cop negotiation games goes on, fortunately …

China’s work behind the scenes seems to be focussed on trying to keep the diplomacy alive.

China’s most obvious interest is energy. Three years ago, when Iran was already supplying 13 per cent of China’s oil needs, the two governments signed a major deal which included Chinese development of Iranian oil fields. It is a source of supply of growing importance for China – one it doesn’t want disrupted by politics.

China also has a deeply-engrained reluctance to takes sides with the US against a fellow non-Western nation.

It’s a complex game, needing a steady nerve and the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. Interesting, given the outward appearance that expanding China has bought the western consumerism “dream” that the “deeply engrained” east-west cultural difference comes into play, even in the diplomatic dealings.

“We” – fellow non-western nations, notice.

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