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Biden Fails to Hold China Accountable in Middle East

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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by Ben Solis
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AMAC EXCLUSIVE

Biden Fails to Hold China Accountable in Middle East

With the Iranian regime bringing the Middle East ever closer to all-out war, the Biden administration has utterly failed to pressure Tehran’s allies in Beijing to contribute to averting further bloodshed that could imperil U.S. – and Chinese – economic interests.

Iran’s barrage of missile attacks on Israel over the weekend was just the latest escalation of a brewing conflict. Tehran launched more than 300 suicide drones and missiles against the Jewish state, thankfully resulting in minimal damage as most were intercepted high above the ground.

However, Iran has been fueling unrest for months in the region through its terrorist proxies – most notably the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli civilians.

The ongoing attacks of Iranian-backed Houthis on ships in the Red Sea are another major crisis. Last November, the Houthis hijacked a commercial ship, and have since damaged at least 34 vessels, injuring and killing dozens through missile attacks.

On March 6, a missile attack on the True Confidence cargo ship left three dead. While the vessel was Liberian, it was carrying steel products from Lianyungang, a city in northeastern China, to ports in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The story highlighted the threat from Iran-backed instability to China’s vital trade interests in the Middle East, even as Beijing continues to enjoy friendly ties with Tehran.

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German think tank that monitors worldwide trade, the Houthi attacks have already reduced shipping through the Suez Canal by more than half – an amount that constitutes 21 percent of global energy transit and 60 percent of all trade traffic from Asia. Though most of that trade has been rerouted, it prolongs delivery deadlines, raises costs, and cuts into profits for Asian firms.

Julian Hinz, Director of the Kiel Institute’s Center for Trade Policy, has said that even if trade volumes normalize, the terrorist threat will continue to impact decisions in the long run.

Experts in the region whom I spoke with said that an easy and simple first step Biden should have taken to place pressure on both China and Iran should have been to publicly call out Beijing for failing to condemn Tehran’s actions in the Middle East. Thus far, China has failed to act either diplomatically or contribute financially, even to stop attacks on shipments of their own products.

Professor Crescenzo Manzoni, a retired professor of politics and international affairs who served as an advisor on China to NATO in the 1990s, told me that Beijing “likes to be called a responsible partner, but regularly escapes accountability.”

“No one is naïve,” he said. “China most likely will do nothing, but Biden demanding action would unmask their sheer cynicism and wickedness.”

Manzoni added that the battle against the Chinese Communist Party’s creeping influence around the world must include strong rhetoric from American leaders in particular, which he called “a more powerful weapon than any nuclear missile, which we learned during the Cold War.” But, he said, “Sadly, this White House has abandoned that strategy.”

According to him, Biden should follow President Ronald Reagan’s example when the Soviet Union shot down a Korean Airlines civilian aircraft and explain “whom America confronts in the Red Sea and the Middle East” – namely, Iran.

“Biden should clarify that Iran is a close ally of China,” Manzoni said. “It should be obvious for Americans that Beijing is actively refusing to curb Tehran.” Biden taking such action would be a “game changer” because “it would reveal the truth that most Western media conceal.”

Former professor of strategy and international security Joaquín Isidro Escárcega, an advisor to prominent Spanish politician and former Prime Minister Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, offered his analysis that “the era of peace in the world ended with Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and China’s unwillingness to challenge it.” With that precedent set, Tehran felt empowered to advance its own malign interests in the Middle East.

“Beijing’s hostility to the West was not secret since the Tiananmen Square massacre, but its reaction to Crimea made that fact doubtless,” he said, emphasizing that China shares the Soviet Union’s weaknesses.

“Biden should show the world the bill for U.S. defense operations in the Middle East and indicate how much American families and taxpayers are financing,” Escárcega said, adding that Biden should demand China pay for American efforts that ultimately defend Chinese commerce. This would be a “serious blow to China’s image.”

While the exact figures have not been disclosed, it is likely that the cost of U.S. operations defending trade routes in the Middle East is running well into the tens, and perhaps the hundreds of millions of dollars. Each interceptor launched by the U.S. military to take down Houthi missiles costs upwards of $100,000.

Retired Rear Admiral Tom Drugan, a former commanding officer on a guided missile destroyer, told me that things are “not slowing down” and likely won’t be anytime soon. “Unfortunately, there appears to be a steady stream of arms flowing to the Houthis,” he said, adding that a flood of low-cost weapons could be intended to “deplete U.S. inventories.”

“While I have my doubts about Beijing’s willingness to pay, their refusal would starkly contrast with their polished statements, exposing the gap between words and reality,” Professor Manzoni remarked, advocating for a more muscular stance from America.

Manzoni further highlighted the audacity of Xi’s simultaneous promotion of his Belt & Road railway route as an alternative to the Red Sea, calling it a “mockery of the American effort” in the region.

One former high-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party, who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity, told me that the CCP “views itself as at war with America and the West.”

“It wants to plunder your arsenals and weaken your economy,” he continued.

So far, Biden’s inaction has allowed that plan to succeed.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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Max
Max
1 month ago

Another good article stating the obvious and continuing weakness of this present administration to solve world problems that affect this nation and its allies. The administration continues to fumble through crisis after crisis, never finishing to solve one when another arises and our LEADER runs to get some ice cream. It is no wonder that the enemy has gained the upper hand and is running circles around this administration.

Max
Max
1 month ago

AMAC Censors, amazing that the first comment I made on a previous article went through with no problem and yet there is nothing wrong with this comment that you are withholding and did so again with RBCs article. You are driving people away from this site just like the Left have destroyed this country.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

Am I supposed to take the Headline seriously? What else could possibly be expected from this administration Resolve? leadership? Como on man

Joel
Joel
1 month ago

Chinese Communists are actively cooperating with Iran. It is part of their political vehicle in the Middle East. Biden foolishly subsidized Iranian terrorism, releasing the financial transfers that Trump stopped. This White House also enabled almost unconstrained banking for Tehran and the Guards. This utterly foolish policy can hardly be compared with any of his predecessors, except maybe with Obama.

John
John
1 month ago

Why would he ever hold his masters and betters accountable.
Biden the Inept puppet to the world.

Bruce
Bruce
1 month ago

Acountable? Biden has no idea what acountability is so how can anybody expect him to hold China, Iran, Palestine, or Israel acountable for anything? Nobody holds him acountable for his crimes or all of the damage he has done to our country. That word, along with integrity, have no part in his life.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Just the Middle East? The Philippines Spratley Island has been under de facto war with China for four years including embargoes and firing on Filipino navy ships. And kets not forget all the Chinese fentanyl crossing over the southern border…

John Bass
John Bass
1 month ago

Nothing new under the sun. This has been going on for sometime, and it appears that either America can’t or does not have the means to stop any of it. Why else would you continue down such a dangerous path…then again, we’re talking the Biden administration.

Vicky
Vicky
1 month ago

Great article showing how the Administration is lacking in methods to peacefully manage the conflict. Ronald Reagan’s strategies should inform next president, current completely failed. But the power of the word is mighty. Reagan knew it and was able to it.

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