Journalist Sina Iranpour Anaraki has, in an article published by the Persian-language Ta’adol daily, weighed in on the trade relations between Russia, China and the United States, and how Beijing and Moscow see Tehran in the domain of commerce and economy. The full text of the article follows.
US President Donald Trump’s speech on October 13, 2017, against the Iran nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the JCPOA) disturbed many countries in the world, so much so that they called him a lunatic. Trump not only questioned the JCPOA and called it an agreement detrimental to Washington, but provoked Iranian people by using the misnomer “The Ara*bian Gulf” instead of “The Persian Gulf.” Trump has straightforwardly told others that they can call him a lunatic. This means the most powerful man in the US, who is a renowned businessman, even benefits from being a lunatic in the court of public opinion. Statistics on the United States’ international contracts show well that this lunatic is a businessman-like politician. However, Trump’s noise and fuss should not distract us from the trade being conducted by the presidents of Russia and China in this troubled water.
US Trade and Campaign to Trigger World War
In 2017, Washington’s debts are approaching the $20 trillion mark, accounting for almost 10% of the total debts in the world. China, which is competing to become the number-one economic heavyweight in the world, is $2 trillion in debt. Russia’s foreign debts also run into $537.5 billion. Many experts regard differences between “Russia and China” and the US as well as the existing tensions among countries in the Middle East as a trigger for a world war. Nevertheless, the huge volume of Washington’s debts shows there is not enough financial power to start a war in the United States.
A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) suggests the volume of arms trade between 2010 and 2016 was greater than any other five-year period after 1990. The report says arms imports into Middle East countries have roughly doubled in the past five years.
The incumbent US president has entered the political arena with experience in the field of trade, and he had numerous slogans during his election campaign concerning the amelioration of the United States’ economic situation. Trump knows well that the US must sell things as much as it can. Given the support lent to Trump by American arms traders and Zionists, selling military hardware is indubitably the most convenient option for business. Trump is a good actor and showman to play the role of a lunatic in order to create tension in the Middle East and in both Koreas, so that he will increase Washington’s arms deals without getting involved in a new war. The 110-billion-dollar arms contract between the US and Saudi Arabia, $5 billion in US sales to South Korea between 2010 to 2016 together with Trump’s contract with Seoul in 2017 worth billions of dollars, Japan’s $800 million in payment in 2016 to meet the costs of US bases in the country plus paying $3.25 billion for the settlement of US troops, namely the relocation of a US base from Okinawa Prefecture to Guam Island, as reported by Japan Times, all bear witness to the formation of an arms trade for the US. Trump is crazy, but this crazy man is wearing a businessman’s outfit and has definitely milked Arabs for using the fabricated phrase “The Arabian Gulf.”
Russia Capitalizing on Differences between East and West
Russia has, for years, been taking advantage of divisions between Iran and the US and Western countries, i.e. economic advantage. Russia is among the top world countries in the fields of nuclear energy, aerospace and military hardware. Russia is second only to the US in terms of arms exports in the world. Although Kremlin has had good relations with Tehran during Putin’s presidency and has, to some extent, opened up Russia’s door to Iranian exports, Iran has not been able to be successful in Russia’s market due to wrong trade policies.
In 2016, Russia entered into talks with Iran to sign a contract on the sales of weapons worth $10 billion. No precise details of the deal are available. The contract on the construction of Iran’s Bushehr atomic power plant is also one of the controversial deals between Russia and Iran. Due to its differences with the West, Iran has had to seek help from Russia in the aerospace sector over the past decade. Russia’s new contract with Saudi Arabia worth $3 billion was signed a few days ago, which indicates Moscow’s double-standards on Iran. On the one hand, Russian politicians support Iran in word, but they know no restrictions when it comes to trade and warmly welcome the Saudi king and his entourage in Kremlin, and easily cash in on the rifts between Tehran and Riyadh to sell weapons to Russia.
China: Trader of All Seasons
Over the past two decades, the Chinese have been planning to secure international markets and to turn into the biggest producer and exporter in the world. China is a country which has changed its huge population from threat to opportunity, boosted its production, increased its influence in the market, decreased the end prices of goods and gradually improved the quality of its commodities, and as a result, promoted its status.
China is not a heavyweight only in the three industries mentioned above like Russia; rather, production in China is so economically viable that any kind of goods can be found in this country. China and the US have been involved in such a tight race over the past five years to become the number-one economic power in the world. Given its membership in the UN Security Council, China takes advantage of its political leverage as well.
According to SIPRI, which reviews countries’ military exports, China’s weapons exports registered a 74-percent rise between 2012 and 2016. This comes as weapons exports in the world have risen only between 3.8 and 6.2 percent on average. The United States, Russia and China are the top three arms exporters in the world respectively. Despite political and cultural differences, China does trade with all countries, and has secured a large part of the US and Europe’s markets.
Iran-China trade grew considerably after the imposition of UN resolutions against Iran, so much so that China turned into Iran’s biggest trade partner. China bought energy from Iran at low prices and gave Iran goods, rather than dollars, in return: a very lucrative business for Beijing. Based on the figures released by the Iranian Customs, China was the biggest exporter of goods to Iran in the 12 months to March 2017, the time when Iran’s trade balance was positive for the first time. China exported 10 billion 753 million dollars’ worth of goods to Iran in that period when Iran’s energy exports to China stood at 8 billion 377 million dollars. China was also the biggest exporter of commodities to Iran in the four months to July 2017 with nearly $ 3.5 billion dollars’ worth of sales.
China, the US, and Russia all have political and trade relations with one another. Their divisions have never led to the severance of relations between them. Whenever they had relations with a country in the Middle East, it was finally the Mideast nation which was gripped by the flames of war. At the end of the day, the three countries pocketed huge benefits by cashing in on the tensions in the Middle East.
Incontrovertibly, China is in a better position compared to the US and Russia when it comes to global trade. China keeps expanding its economy with the least possible controversy. The US and Russia, too, have put economy before politics despite the current situation in their countries.
A world war is unlikely to break out because now it is the trade war between countries which determines which one is a superpower. Countries’ strategies are also drawn up based on more and more sales of goods and arms, with a focus on the Middle East and certain countries rich in natural resources.This comes as politics has taken precedence over economy in Iran over the past decades, and the country continues to pursue the same approach despite being aware of trade figures and superpowers’ export destinations. How longer should Russia and China support Iran at the expense of Iran’s trade and industry while boosting their own industries? Despite all the differences they have with one another, Russia, china and the US have never severed their trade relations, and this is a key point in international relations which we have neglected.