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This Isn't About Iran. It's About China. By Robert D. Kaplan; managing director for global Macro at Eurasia Group

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'In a world of global financial markets, geography still rules and it tells a more important story in the Gulf region: While the US contemplates a war with Iran, the Chinese are engaged in trade and infrastructure building  a state-of-the-art container port at Gwadar, which  they hope will link up with roads, railways and pipelines to western China, from which they can monitor shipping traffic through the Strait. The current tensions are less about Iran & the Persian Gulf than about China & the Indian Ocean.  What is occurring in the American-Iranian standoff is about something much vaster. The Chinese are now contemplating the construction of a naval baseadjacent to the Iranian border.  It's not only China that is central to the Persian Gulf region. The Indians and Iranians are competing with China and Pakistan to unite the Gulf of Oman with the Eurasian interior.'

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Robert D. Kaplan wrote:"The Return of Marco Polo's World: War, Strategy and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century."

From the article I posted, are these key points:

"Washington is half a world away from Eurasia. Without a big idea, the United States will be unable to compete with China. As for Iran, because of the blunt fact of geography it will be key to 21st-century Eurasia, something which argues for a long-term, sustainable strategy.

" An American war with Iran will drive the country even further into the hands of China, which already accounts for almost a third of all Iran's energy trade. While China's energy ties with Iran may be curtailed as a result of the Trump administration's sanctions, as well as by the complexities of the Beijing-Washington trade talks, China and Iran will eventually find a way to cooperate and thwart the United States."

" Of course, Iran does present a challenge to peace in the Middle East and to America's allies in particular. But Iran's clerical regime has too many power centers and is too deeply institutionalized to be toppled by impulsive military action. Indeed, regime change in Iran could lead to a worse state of affairs, with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp in direct control, rather than in indirect control as now.

The Chinese vision for Iran to be a hub for its Belt and Road Initiative is something the United States is simply not going to change. A better approach is a suite of economic pressures, targeted cyber attacks and resumed negotiations combined with loud, persistent calls for increased freedoms in Iran and the other participants in the initiative, as a way to undermine China's position."

Submitted on Thursday, Jun 27, 2019 at 3:49:02 PM

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