with Western nations today to discuss its controversial nuclear program
. Some commentators have predicted that Iran's newly revealed secret nuclear program could realign the world powers
. How will China react? And what will China's reaction mean for Western
engagement with Iran? More than you might think, according to some
China and Iran experts.
- Learn From Nixon's China Diplomacy Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett write
in the New York Times that Obama should engage Iran as Nixon once did
with China. "He would demonstrate acceptance of the Islamic Republic,
even as problematic Iranian behavior continued in the near term," they write. "After taking office in 1969, Nixon directed the C.I.A. to stop
operations in Tibet and ordered the Navy to stop its regular patrols of
the Taiwan Strait even while China was supplying weapons to kill
American soldiers in Vietnam. President Obama has had several
opportunities to send analogous signals to Tehran — such as ending
Bush-era covert programs against Iran — but has punted."
- We Wrongly Demonized Communists Then, Muslims Now The Nation's Robert Scheer suggests
that America erred in vilifying China and forswearing the possibility of peaceful coexistence a generation ago--and believes we're making a
similar mistake with Iran. "Communism once was, as the Islamic
terrorist threat is today, presented
as an undifferentiated revolutionary impulse that could never be
diplomatically accommodated without sacrificing our own security or,
indeed, our freedom," he writes. "All communists in the Cold War era,
like all Islamic radicals today,
were assumed to be part of a unified internationalist movement bent on
world conquest. [...] The limits of demonology as a substitute for
thoughtful foreign policy
are amply on display in the approach to Iran as the purported leading
agent of Islamic terrorism."
- China Could Turn Against Iran The New Yorker's Evan Osnos debunked Western assumptions
that Beijing supports Tehran. "Tehran's missiles and nuke development
are at the top of Chinese
news broadcasts this week, and the tone of the coverage suggests that
Chinese leaders are facing a more complex choice than in the past.
'China Could Take More Initiative on the Iran Issue' was the headline
Tuesday in the Global Times,
a stridently nationalist state-run paper," Osnos reports. "China's conundrum is that its goal is at odds with its tactics: The
Chinese leadership has no interest whatsoever in Iran building a bomb,
but so far Beijing sees no imminent strategic benefit to move in that
direction at the risk of losing valuable oil assets and a friend in the
- Iran, as China Once Was, is Unfairly Maligned Juan Cole argued
that U.S.-Chinese relations prove that we can peacefully engage Iran.
"Iranian politicians are rational actors," he insists. "If they were
haven't they invaded any of their neighbors? Saddam Hussein of Iraq
invaded both Iran and Kuwait. Israel invaded its neighbors more than
once. In contrast, Iran has not started any wars. Demonizing people by
calling them unbalanced is an old propaganda trick. The U.S. elite was
once unalterably opposed to China having nuclear science because they
believed the Chinese are intrinsically irrational. This kind of talk is
a form of racism."
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