Bringing China into the Middle East

On the Nation’s blog, Robert Dreyfuss interviews Middle East expert Ken Pollack about China’s role in the region:

…When I asked him about the role of China, and whether China could help rebuild and stabilize the region, he agreed. Not only should the United States ask China to get involved in the Persian Gulf, but the rather dysfunctional Quartet (the US, the EU, the UN, and Russia) set up to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict should become a Qunitet, including China.

“The rise of China is the preeminent issue,” he said. “China is really the big issue. … They are fixated on the Middle East. And the Chinese are the rock stars of the Middle East.”

“China has exactly the same interests as the United States in the Middle East,” he said, citing primarily the need for the sustained flow of oil at reasonable prices. During his recent trip to China, said Pollack, he heard from many senior officials and analysts there the same thing: “We are terrified of the Middle East.” The Chinese, said Pollack, see the Middle East as “the graveyard for great powers,” having watched first Russia disintegrate in part because of Afghanistan and then the United States bog down in Iraq.

“You’ve got to let them in,” he said. “You’ve got to make them our partner.”


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