Sunday, August 27, 2006

Chinese Think Tanks Predict Perfect Storm for US

It's an exciting time to be working for a Chinese think tank.

Foreign affairs analysts, academicians, and propagandists employed--and deployed--by China's elite, government-run institutes and research centers are abuzz with anticipation and speculation concerning the coming weeks and months. Though more sober and sensible individuals are justifiably worried that changing world currents (a favorite Chinese concept) can spin dangerously out of control and lead to a global conflict, the prevailing mood is one of heady optimism--for China.

Hardliners are apparently convinced that Beijing's most powerful adversary, the United States, also known as "the Hegemon," is heading for a perfect storm, so to speak, in international relations, as China's Islamist ally, Iran, and Stalinist vassal, North Korea, intensify nuclear tensions in tandem. North Korea is increasingly likely to test a nuclear weapon before the winter months--and may even test-launch another long-range missile capable of hitting the US. And Iran is not going to give up its covert nuclear weapons program. Instead, it will try to buy time by offering "serious negotiations"--in best bazaar behavior--while continuing its uranium enrichment program and accelerating an alternative method of producing plutonium for bombs via its new heavy water facility.

Nuclear North Korea and Islamist Iran--the perfect storm! For Rising China, it does not get much better than that, provided, of course, that the criminally insane Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il and Hitler-admiring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad don't get carried away and actually make good on their threats of mass death and destruction ... because, at the end of the day, US consumer dollars are still needed to fuel the mighty export machine that is central to China's economic expansion and growth.

But the think tanks think things can be managed, at least for the foreseeable future. In the Chinese view, the US has few, if any, realistic options with respect to Iran and North Korea, apart from appealing to China for help--which will not be forthcoming in any meaningful sense of the term. US military action, in the Chinese view, is basically a bluff because both rogue regimes are already nuclear powers with the ability to launch devastating attacks on American allies--Israel, in the case of Iran, and South Korea and Japan, in the North Korean case.

Iran is nuclear armed? So it seems. Western analysts, as previously reported by China Confidential, say that although the mullahocracy may be weeks or months away from having nuclear bombs through its enrichment program, Tehran already has an arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv and European cities. True, Israel's nuclear arsenal could obliterate Iran. But it would only take one bomb, Chinese strategists say, to wipe out Israel in accord with the declared objective of Iran's maniac-in-chief.

Early Warning: don't believe bogus reports that China is reducing oil shipments to Pyongyang to punish it for its provocative July 4 missile tests and pressure it to resume nuclear talks. China supplies North Korea with more than 80 percent of its fuel; even if Beijing were to curtail shipments to influence US opinion, Chinese allies Iran and Venezuela would make up the difference.

North Korea and Iran can count on Chinese support when push comes to shove. The Middle Kingdom may go along with weak sanctions at the United Nations in the interest of appearing like a "responsible stakeholder," as the US State Department puts it; but Beijing will block US proposals to authorize military force against the rogues under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

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