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Graham Fuller Analyzes What the U.S. Should Learn from China’s Diplomatic Role in Resolving Saudi-Iran Conflict

March 13, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Graham Fuller, a former CIA analyst and former vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council for the Near East and South Asia, posted an analysis today on the Chinese role in this week’s Iran-Saudi Arabia agreement, titled “In Great Power Diplomacy, Is China Beating U.S. at Its Own Game?” with the kicker, “Washington can learn something about not letting ideology get in the way of conflict resolution and economic development,” in Responsible Statecraft.

He looks at the implications of this huge shift in global dynamics:

“China has just pulled off a paradigm shift by facilitating a diplomatic rapprochement between the two powerful but bitterly hostile states of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Time will tell, but the event not only shifts power relations in the Middle East but also signals a new phase in the growing diplomatic role of China. Perhaps even more important, it might hopefully spark new thinking on the ‘inevitability’ or ‘permanency’ of conflict in U.S. strategic thinking, especially at a time when Washington has steeply downgraded diplomacy in favor of exerting influence through military power and punitive sanctions, as well as a readiness to declare other states ‘out of line’ with U.S. ambitions and its notion of a ‘rules-based international order.’ ”

On the cause of this militarism, he notes that some claim that

“it’s all just written into the human DNA—to covet, compete, fight, destroy, and kill. But of course these ‘deeper’ interpretations of the origins of conflict can also be dangerous. It can lead to acceptance. Yet there is rarely anything predestined or predetermined about conflict or war. Human beings always have choice; leaders have agency.”

The Western political leadership and the media, Fuller writes, are not pleased with this shift in political relationships in the world, preferring adherence to the “America-driven NATO game plan to compel all other countries to acknowledge and support America’s perception of enemies.”

Fuller adds that while China talks to all countries,

“the number of countries with which the U.S. cannot seriously engage grows ever larger: it will not talk with Cuba, Iran, or the important Palestinian political party Hamas. Nor will it engage the governments of Venezuela or Syria. This would appear to be a self-inflicted diplomatic wound that effectively limits our own diplomatic maneuverability. At a time when our relations with both Russia and China border on crisis, our secretary of state maintains virtually no personal contact with his counterparts in either country over long periods of time. Our top diplomats seem not to understand what the meaning or purpose of diplomacy is.”

China, on the other hand “gains access through its ability to act without the ideological blinders with which Washington sees the world.”

He concludes, in his own emphasis:

“These were once American ideals until the fall of the Soviet Union at which point Washington became inebriated with the idea of being the ‘world’s sole superpower.’ Since then, Washington has been obsessed with doing everything it can to maintain that status—even as the world changes. It has thus adopted what can only be described as a fundamentally negative geopolitical vision: do what it takes to block Chinese and Russian influence in the world in a desperate attempt to prove that we can still call the shots. By contrast, China, for all its faults, now seems to be finding fertile ground to play as a more pragmatic, non-ideological global diplomat.

“Should this not elicit a deep rethink in Washington?”

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