Skip to comments.To Stop Iran, Lean On China
Posted on 11/10/2011 11:08:24 PM PST by bruinbirdman
TODAY, the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report on Irans nuclear program. It provides the most convincing evidence to date that Iran is close to producing a nuclear weapon.
But as Iran nears the nuclear threshold, the best way to stop it may be by punishing the Chinese companies that supply Tehran and enable its nuclear progress.
The Obama administration seems to understand this. The late September visit to China by David S. Cohen, the Treasury Departments new under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, included the most explicit warning yet to Beijing that its banks and financial institutions could face sanctions if they continued to do business with Iranian entities.
The move is significant. More than a year ago, President Obama signed into law a series of sweeping sanctions cumulatively aimed at throttling Irans energy sector. Yet so far, China has mostly gotten a pass on its engagement with Iran.
Those ties are broad and getting broader. In recent years, Chinas economic dynamism has brought with it a voracious appetite for energy. This has made energy-rich Iran a natural strategic partner. In 2009, Iran ranked as Chinas second largest oil provider, accounting for some 15 percent of Beijings annual imports.
In exchange, China has aided and abetted Irans quest for nuclear capacity. Diplomatically, it has done so by complicating oversight of Irans nuclear program, and by resisting the application of serious sanctions against Tehran. More directly (and dangerously), it has turned a blind eye to Iranian acquisitions of sensitive technology and materiel for its nuclear program from Chinese sources.
Over time, Chinese leaders have become convinced that Washington prioritizes bilateral trade with Beijing over security concerns about Iran, and that it therefore wont enact serious penalties for Chinas dealings with Iran. This has allowed Chinese officials to pay lip service to international efforts to rein in Irans nuclear program while quietly playing a key role in nurturing Tehrans nuclear quest. The result is clear: when it comes to Iran, China today isnt part of the solution; its part of the problem.
As David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security has noted, China is becoming Irans key enabler, supplying much of the equipment that Tehran needs to keep its nuclear effort up and running in the face of international sanctions. China does not implement and enforce its trade controls or its sanctions laws adequately, Mr. Albright argued earlier this year. Indeed, a concerted Chinese crackdown on firms involved in nuclear commerce with Iran would effectively cripple Tehrans atomic program.
Washington, worried about potentially destabilizing economic effects, has historically shied away from putting pressure on Beijing over its ties to Iran. But if the Obama administration is serious about halting Irans nuclear program, it must do so by sanctioning companies like the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or Cnooc, which has been developing Irans mammoth North Pars natural gas field since 2006, and PetroChina (which supervises the import of some three million tons of liquefied natural gas annually from Iran). Both are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and therefore subject to penalties under existing law.
Mr. Cohens recent jaunt to Beijing was intended to convince the Chinese government that it must decisively curtail its ties to Tehran, or face real economic costs. This message needs to be coupled with the application of concrete economic penalties from bans on United States-based energy projects to prohibitions on financial transactions that fall under American jurisdiction that are intended to persuade Chinese companies, including Cnooc and PetroChina, to scale back their economic contacts with Iran. At the same time, greater targeted sanctions and asset freezes are needed to bring to heel Chinese individuals and entities that are currently complicit in Irans nuclear advances.
After all, the last, best hope of peacefully derailing Irans nuclear drive lies in convincing Beijing that business as usual with Tehran is simply no longer possible.
Ilan I. Berman is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.
Resurgent Communism in Latin America
by Alex Newman, March 16, 2010:
From the Russian News and Information Agency:
July 27, 2006
"'I am determined to expand relations with Russia,' Chavez, known as an outspoken critic of what he calls the United States' unilateralism, told the Russian leader, adding that his determination stemmed from their shared vision of the global order.":
From CBS-News, July 29, 2006:
Chavez Vows To 'Stand By Iran'
After Oil Talks In Tehran, Venezuelan Leader Called 'Brother' By Ahmedinejad
"Chavez pledged that his country would 'stay by Iran at any time and under any condition,' state television reported. Ahmadinejad said he saw in Chavez a kindred spirit." "'We do not have any limitation in cooperation,' Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying. 'Iran and Venezuela are next to each other and supporters of each other. Chavez is a source of a progressive and revolutionary current in South America and his stance in restricting imperialism is tangible.'":
From the Sino-Russian Joint Statement of April 23, 1997:
"The two sides [China and Russia] shall, in the spirit of partnership, strive to promote the multipolarization of the world and the establishment of a new international order."
"Joint war games are a logical outcome of the Sino-Russian Friendship and Cooperation Treaty signed in 2001, and reflect the shared worldview and growing economic ties between the two Eastern Hemisphere giants."
President Obama and Venezuela dictator Hugo
Chavez at the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad.
Note the "soul bro" handshake. (my caption)
Obama, Chavez shake hands at Americas Summit:
Russia's Medvedev hails "comrade" Obama
Associated Foreign Press (AFP) ^ | April 2, 2009 | Anna Smolchenko
"Russia's Dmitry Medvedev hailed Barack Obama as "my new comrade" Thursday after their first face-to-face talks"
April 1, 2009:
"Obama, Medvedev pledge new era of relations":
Here is a link on the inspectors report that shows two pictures more than a year apart where you can see exactly how many new facilities have been added to the complex. No way to tell how much is Chinese supplied.
BWAHAAAHAA! What a pantoad! Since when does the boy-king want to disrespect his commie-in-arms bretheren? Especially when the ultimate upshot of the Iranian effort is the destruction of Israel - Hussain's mortal enemy! This is nothing more than leftist disinformation.
How our Corporations conspire with communists to destroy our Country and way of life, while some conservatives cheer our emasculation.
China Threatens to Use Financial Weapon Against America
On Monday, Peoples Daily, Chinas leading newspaper, stated it was time for Beijing to consider using its financial weapon against the United States.
The Communist Partys flagship publication suggested that the Chinese government directly link its purchases of US Treasury debt to Taiwan arms sales and require ratings agencies to downgrade the United States in order to force up interest paid to China. China should also launch limited trade sanctions against states whose representatives in Congress supportTaiwan. China-US relations will always be constrained by these people and will continue along a roller coaster pattern if China does not beat them until they feel the pain, the paper said.
The context for the stinging piece in the partys self-described mouthpiece may be proposed arms sales to Taiwan, but the general message is clear: China should use its holdings of American obligations to accomplish its many geopolitical aims. In fact, China has never wanted to use its holdings of US debt as a weapon, the paper noted. It is the United States that is forcing it to do so.
Cheer leaders for the type of “free trade” being practiced today need to remove their heads from their greedy...asset sheets.
I too will shed no tears for qudaffi, though will shed some tears we ever became involved.
On the China matter (regarding this thread) ... may want to add Russia into the mix of there is no telling how much is Russian supplied. Joint efforts? Heard a report yesterday of an U.S.A. / Asian alliance being formed. Do not have a link to back it up, though would say that this alliance would have existed since the seventies. A new alliance with new objectives perhaps? This report caught my eye and will have to do some research to understand (if this alliance or perhaps a treaty is new) what the goals are. Then here comes the warning from the forefathers and the request to avoid foreign entanglements, and wonder what are our leaders and representatives thinking? If the track record is any indication ... oh boy.