Interesting piece of news from the Associated Press this morning:
“Sunday, March 15, 2009
TEHRAN, Iran — State TV says Iran and China have signed a $3.2 billion gas deal to produce more than 10 million tons of liquid natural gas over the next 36 months.
The deal was signed in Tehran between Iran LNG Company and a Chinese-led consortium, the report said.
The Chinese company will build a line to liquify gas in Phase 12 of the giant South Pars Gas Field in southern Iran. It didn’t give further details.
The United States is pushing for China and others to abide by United Nations sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to rein in its nuclear program.
Iran has trumpeted recent energy deals as a vindication against U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran.”
There is very much to read in this bit of news. China’s pursuit of her national interests (securing energy sources, come what may) are driving her actions worldwide, and these have and will continue to be at loggerheads with the interests of the US and her allies.
Talk of China’s desires to be a part of the “International Community”, or a reliable member of the Global Maritime Partnership reflects our own inability to perceive China for the complex rival she is; sometimes partner, sometimes economic rival, sometimes military adversary. She is perfectly willing subvert US/Israeli interests regarding the isolation of Iran, and let them both deal with the consequences of a nuclear state there, as long as LNG can flow into China’s expanding industrial furnace.
Which brings up the recent incidents with the USNS Impeccable, and the subsequent suggestions that the incident was the result of anything other than a deliberate test of US resolve and capability. This and the P-3 incident in 2001 were NOT the result of some “little emperor”, as ADM Zumwalt’s comments have been posted to suggest, (Comments that characterized US warship skippers as “brash and competetive”, to wit, slightly irresponsible and with questionable judgment, that angered US Navy commanders), but rather carefully scripted actions designed to elicit a response.
When the evidence stacks up, including the PLA Foreign Minister’s non-statement to the US Sec State regarding the incident with Impeccable, it should be clear that China is not a friend. She is a major player on the world economic stage, and a growing potential adversary on the world’s oceans and littorals. The US Navy must maintain a surface and subsurface fleet that can effectively counter PLAN capabilities, so that we don’t find ourselves on the wrong side of a maritime denial effort on the part of China, leaving a critical area of the globe for the US to the exclusive grasp of what may become an implacable and harsh enemy.