China has a relatively profitable foreign policy by only investing in reconstruction, trade deals with dictators and not committing troops to alter other countries. China will let whoever is in power in Iraq, Iran, Syria and other places. Those leaders do what they need to do and partner with whomever they need to partner with to ensure political and economic stability.
With European banks put off by America’s unpredictable sanctions policy in recent years and unwilling to finance deals without sovereign guarantees, China’s CITIC Group and Development Bank stepped in with offers of $10 and $15 billion credit lines. A panicked Ferial Mostofi, head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, remarked that “[Western firms] had better come quickly to Iran otherwise China will take over.” China’s National Machinery Industry Corp just signed an $845 million contract to construct a 410km railway in western Iran connecting Tehran, Hamedan and Sanandaj, and there is a chance that China will replace India in developing the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar on the Arabian Sea.
China could commit $2 billion to what may become a mammoth, $250 billion Syrian reconstruction effort with no demands on Assad.
China — with $16.5 billion committed in 2016 — is poised to overtake the U.S. as Israel’s largest investor, with a focus on hi-tech. China and Saudi Arabia are moving ahead with plans to establish a joint $20 billion investment fund to develop the latter’s infrastructure, energy, and mining sectors.
As the U.S. operates a disjointed regional paradigm and spends considerably in search of elusive gains — limiting who it can do business with and sometimes attaching conditions removed from the Middle East’s realities — the Chinese begin and end their regional policy with what is in China’s narrow national interest.
It seems unlikely that the US will be able to consistently restrain itself from military involvement.
However, the US could transition to more cost-effective geopolitics and military intervention.
The US needs to lower the operating costs of its jets or develop low operating cost drones that they could use instead of expensive jets.
The F-22A and the F-35A have an hourly operating cost of $33,538 and $28,455 respectively. The A-10 cost just under $6,000 every hour. The F-16 has hourly operating costs of around $8,000.
There are other military technologies that could be lower cost but effective.
The US can leverage and support reliable allies. In the middle east, this currently appears to be Israel and possibly Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The US should continue to do more with Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea and other partners.
Where can the US have cost-effective goals and plans?
Can the US just contain and manage some problems?
Can the US develop more clever methods? What could they learn from the British empire?
Britain used indirect Rule. This allowed the British to clearly separate what was of importance to Britain and leave the daily practicalities of ruling to existing local rulers. The British were also clever at using different factions against each other.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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