Politics China opens new doors in the Middle East
China is still the ultimate prize that Western banks can't resist
For many companies, doing business in China is getting trickier by the day. But Western banks and asset managers are more than willing to up their bets on the world's second biggest economy, convinced that the opportunities remain too good to pass up. © Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg/Getty Images Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview on the sidelines of the JP Morgan Global China Summit in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
The State Department this week issuedthat once again rejects China's claims to exclusive sovereignty over the South China Sea - the so-called "Nine-dash line." It is the first such report to appear in several years and is yet another indication of Washington's ongoing concern over China's aggressiveness in East Asia. Ironically, on the same day that the report appeared, Beijing continued to fill the vacuum that the United States has been creating in the Middle East: In Damascus, the government of Bashar al-Assad that Syria has joined China's Belt and Road Initiative, while in Wuxi, China, Beijing and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issued a joint statement calling for a , to include, among other things, an eventual free trade area.
When China blocked Lithuania from exporting 20,000 bottles of rum in a diplomatic feud, Taiwan bought the whole shipment instead, report says
China is furious with Lithuania after it let Taiwan open a de facto embassy. Beijing claims Taiwan is not a country but a Chinese territory.For months China has blocked trade with Lithuania following Vilnius' decision to allow Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in November. China claims Taiwan is part of China, while Taiwan maintains its independence.
Washington's primary concern in the Middle East appears to be a revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action () with Iran. Beyond reaching a renewed nuclear arrangement with Iran, the Biden administration has made it clear that East Asia and Europe are its priority concerns. And both China and regional actors have not failed to take notice.
Syria's interest in the Belt and Road Initiative has been driven by its vulnerability to American and European economic sanctions. As the government's official mouthpiece, the Syrian Arab News Agency"the initiative ... helps open broad horizons of cooperation with China ... including the exchange of goods, technology, capital, activating the movement of individuals, in addition to cultural exchange."
China is risking a big hit to the economy and supply chains with zero-Omicron approach
The Chinese government's unwavering insistence on stamping out any trace of the coronavirus is facing its biggest test yet as authorities grapple with Omicron's quickening spread. And it could cost the world's second largest economy dearly this year. © Kevin Frayer/Getty Images The rest of the world is also dealing with a rapid escalation of Omicron cases, but China is different because of how intent authorities are on preventing any widespread outbreak.
Several Middle Eastern analysts have pointed out that Chinese leaders are comfortable with dealing with another corrupt regime, and indeed one that has successfully resisted American efforts in support of regime change. Moreover, China is deeply concerned about the presence of members of thein the , and what it perceives to be links between these individuals and Turkey. China's relations with Turkey are quite brittle; China has publicly criticized Turkish operations in Syria and Iraq. Beijing looks to Assad to rid the Uyghur elements from Syria.
These reasons are secondary, however, to Beijing's employing its traditional approach to penetrating economically weaker nations and then exploiting them politically. With Washington unlikely to support anything other than humanitarian aid to Syria, the door is open for China to have a major role in Syria's reconstruction - and ultimately to expand its political influence in Damascus, as well.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urges for more tax cuts to boost China's slowing economy
A top Chinese official this week called for more tax cuts as the world's second largest economy contends with fallout from renewed Covid outbreaks, a strict zero-tolerance approach to containing the virus and a deepening real estate crisis. © Ding Haitao/Xinhua/Getty Images Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, speaks at a symposium with counselors of the State Council and researchers of the China Central Institute for Culture and History in Beijing, China on Dec. 24, 2021.
Unlike Syria, the GCC states are certainly not economically weak. But they are increasingly uneasy about America's reliability and will be even more so if Washingtonwith Tehran. China's pro-government Global Times GCC Secretary-General Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf as saying that "the GCC greatly appreciates China's important influence and positive role in international and regional affairs." The import of his statement is abundantly clear, and the fact that Nayef has been accompanied by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman indicates that he is not speaking simply on his own behalf.
The Biden administration recognizes that China's threat is global, not regional. It has not acted consistently on the basis of that reality. While it has indeed moved Europe to restrict China's access to its infrastructure, it has been far less active to assert its concerns in the Middle East. It is not merely a matter of stationing more or fewer forces in the region. More importantly, the administration must cease to signal that the Middle East somehow has become a lower priority for the United States. If it continues to do so, more regional doors will be open to a predatory China, with serious repercussions for America's national security in the years ahead.
Dov S. Zakheim is a senior adviser at theand vice chairman of the board for the . He was under secretary of Defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Department of Defense from 2001 to 2004 and a deputy under secretary of Defense from 1985 to 1987.
Congress must limit the impact of temporary budgets on America's defenses .
A House subcommittee will hold a hearing Jan. 12 on continuing resolutions and their impact on the defense budget.Continuing resolutions can extend a month, a quarter of the fiscal year, or even an entire fiscal year. There have been continuing resolutions in all but one of the past dozen years (the exception being fiscal year 2019), and most lasted several months. The fiscal year 2022 appropriations have yet to be legislated, and the government is functioning on the basis of a continuing resolution.