Iran Sanctions and New Asian Order

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Behzad Khoshandam
PhD Student in International Relations

Active ImageMost political analysts maintain that Asia will be the gravity center of a new political order in the 21st century.

Iran sanctions policy, which has been put in gear by the west since a few years ago and has culminated in the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 1929 followed by unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, has been construed as a “strategic suicide” for Washington’s hegemonic policies.

In view of emerging international political equations, Iran sanctions policy is another step which will accelerate the rise of new Asian powers and bring US hegemony in the world and the region one step closer to final collapse. The following evidence attests to this fact:

1. International experiences show that countries capable of building regional coalitions to increase their influence will not be easily affected by international sanctions. Iran is currently a major player in the political scene of Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria and in the longstanding Arab-Israeli dispute. Iran’s clout has been acknowledged by the Asian powers which are trying to maximize their interactions with Tehran.

2. America’s daily military expenditure is about 700 billion dollars about one third of which is spent in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the US-led western coalition has not been able to establish security and stability in such strategic regions as Afghanistan. To overcome the crisis in Afghanistan, the western coalition now needs help from major Asian players, including Iran, India, China, Russia, and Pakistan.

3. Sanctions against Iran have been toned down in various stages of formulation, adoption, implementation as well as assessment and supervision by such Asian powers as China, Russia, India, and other major Asian states. Examples to the point include Turkey’s negative vote for Resolution 1929 and Lebanon’s abstention. Private and public sectors in such countries as Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, India, China, Russia and Turkey have indicated more than often that they are willing to resist Iran sanctions.

4. Iran sanctions policy will be a great boost to China in strategic, security, economic, energy, and diplomatic areas. China is now a “great nightmare” for the American foreign policy. Apart from remarkable economic growth rate, the country is greatly building up its power on the Earth, in seas, and even in the space. Beijing currently possesses 1,150 short-range and a number of medium-range ballistic missiles. China announced in March 2010 that its defense budget will be increased by 7.5 percent to hit about 78 billion dollars. Fearful of China’s military and defense power, the United States has called for bilateral dialogue with China in all areas, especially as regards military issues. At present, China is Iran’s biggest trade partner in Asia and the third internationally. Therefore, current sanctions against Iran have been greatly beneficial to China and North Korea and have increased Beijing’s bargaining power in political relations pertaining to the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Central Asia, and the Indian Ocean.

5. Iran’s growing power and its energy advantages are also of high interest to Asian powers like Japan, China, and India whose demand for energy is constantly on the rise. Iran is currently supplying 14 percent of China’s and India’s needed oil. Due to Iran’s energy advantages and its influence in OPEC, the Asian powers have no alternative to Iran’s energy resources. This has been evident in latest positions taken by Japan, China, South Korea, and India.

All told, it seems that Iran sanctions policy is just another step toward establishment of new Asian order in the 21st century which will be a bitter foreign policy experience for the American statesmen.