I think often about China because it is, next to us, the world’s biggest player and our foremost frenemy as well (you know, friend and enemy). But I never get around to China because there is always some attention grabbing distraction popping up like Putin’s bothersome games in Europe and the increasing Middle East conflagration.
Today illustrates the point, but before going there I at least want to point to Fareed Zakaria’s argument for why we should finally pivot our attention to China, something that the Obama administration has tried to do but never quite does because of problems elsewhere. I made a bit of a plug for Fareed’s Sunday morning show in my previous post. His take on the China pivot can be found here.
I can’t think much about pivoting right now because we, along with Sunni powers Saudi Arabia and Egypt have warships in the Arabian Sea placed to block an armed convoy from Iran heading towards the collapsed state of Yemen, the convoy suspected (like, you know damn well) of carrying arms to the Shia rebels in Yemen, who still seem to have the upper hand in that civil war despite an intensive bombing campaign by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations.
A confrontation may be brewing between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two nations who have been content to do battle in proxy states like Syria and now Yemen, but this matter in the Arabian Sea puts them face to face for a change, a disturbing situation.
We are dragged in because at this time the President must think he needs to show Sunni nations that just because he’s working on a nuclear arms agreement with Iran (with negotiations beginning again this very day), that they should know we are friends with them not Iran. He is holding a gathering of their leaders, or their representatives, in May to stress this point and assure these Sunni nations that we have their backs, so as to discourage them from starting their own nuclear arms programs.
This is a very tricky dance and of course Vladimir P. is happy to stir up the pot (don’t you love mixed metaphors) by having representatives at the nuclear negotiations who seem of help while also just signing a deal selling sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, arguing that he has confidence in Iran’s willingness to make a deal, meanwhile pulling in about a billion bucks for a faltering Russian economy and providing Iran with greater air cover if this house of cards nuclear deal collapses. Vladimir, what a card.
Hard to concentrate on China with all of this going on, not to mention the sad story of Libyans fleeing what has become their hell hole of a nation, with about 1000 recently dying at sea trying to reach Italy.
At least we have our Presidential race to amuse us, what with Queen Hillary impersonating Where’s Waldo in her bus trip to Iowa, she the fox and news people trying to catch a glimpse, the hounds. And now in New Hampshire, where she is being warmly greeted by questions tied to a new book titled: Clinton Cash : The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary. And of course, this reminds people that she deleted all those “personal” emails, making it tough to put these attacks to rest. On her plus side, she’s had years of practice fending off attacks and my money would be on her if she winds up on Survivor some day.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, there are around 20 candidates all primarily basing their campaigns at the moment on attacking the queen, which is all fun and games for them, but the real fun for most of us will come when they start slicing into each other. After all there will be only one seat left in this roller derby version of musical chairs, and as we go along flying elbows will become the order of the day.
One of these days i will write about China.