Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taunted Western Europe, preferring to pander to Moscow and Beijing. And China, though physically distant, has subtly installed troops in Syria.
As for Israel, how is it that this small country, a mere sliver of land, is accorded such deference? The world’s only Jewish state is making deals with Turkey, Russia and China, in spite of their alliances with Iran, which is dedicated to Israel’s annihilation. Why is Jerusalem pursuing such deals? And, ambivalent at best about Israel, why are these nations agreeing to them? A new world order, difficult for the West to recognise, answers many of these questions.
About six months after Barack Obama began his first term as US president, a new partnership was born in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.
On June 16, 2009, leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) met to discuss ways to impact the global financial situation “to reflect changes in the world economy.”
Reuters noted at the time that “BRIC nations account for 15 percent of the $60.7 trillion global economy, but Goldman Sachs predicts that in 20 years time, the four countries could together dwarf the G7 and China’s economy will overtake the United States in total size.”
Indeed, eight years later, those four nations – along with the addition of South Africa, hence BRICS – are rapidly moving toward a position of global economic dominance.
Economic growth is skyrocketing, especially in China and India. In comparison, GDP growth in the US and the UK already look like what Reuters predicted.
BRICS has also established its own international bank, called NDB. Under the auspices of the BRICS member states, its purpose is to finance infrastructure projects inside those member states.
China has started another initiative that, according to global economist Jean-Pierre Lehmann, could bring about “the most dramatic transformation of the world economy since the Industrial Revolution.”
The project is called the Belt and Road Initiative. Unveiled only four years ago, it will take an estimated $7.5 trillion to develop. But the benefit is nothing less than an explosion of prosperity, not just for participating countries but for the whole world. No less than 75 nations have joined the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce.
Members include all the Eastern Goliaths: China, Russia and India. For those keeping an eye on Israel, other notable members along with the Jewish state include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and the Palestinian Territories.
Because China’s most important land “road” runs straight through the countries in this region. A second major route is noted below.
The land road begins in the Chinese city of Xi’an. Its path runs directly through Tehran. Moving into Iraq, it then either goes directly into Turkey or through Syria to both Turkey and the Mediterranean.
If China’s land road goes through Syria, as Tehran hopes it will, it will connect at the Mediterranean for shipping exports to Europe, Africa, North America and South America.
Russia is guarding the Mediterranean with a fully developed and growing seaport. Iran may be connected to the western sea, but Russia is determined to hold its coastal key.
Israel is only miles south of the China land road, and only miles north of its proposed sea road.
The latter, sometimes called the Maritime Road, connects China with Southeast Asia, India, East Africa and, upwards through the Suez Canal, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Geographically, Israel is just off-center. Why then is it treated with such respect, especially by the likes of Russia and China? Already, Israel is getting under the skin of other members in the Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce. Its huge gas and oil fields just offshore in the Mediterranean are on the verge of piping fuel directly to Europe, cutting into Russia’s market.
Manoeuvring its way into the transport of goods via China’s land and sea roads, Israel is floating the idea of an alternate shipping route to Egypt’s costly Suez Canal. It will be cheaper and faster, Israel argues, to deliver goods to Eilat, transfer them to a highspeed train that goes to Ashdod on the Mediterranean, and from there ship goods throughout the world. In response, Cairo is already calling foul.
Most importantly, Israel is positioned to guard the world’s Internet. Everything today is traded, controlled and administered online. And Israel is emerging as the world’s number one guardian of the worldwide web. That means, regardless of being a few miles offtrack from China’s Land and Maritime Roads, it is positioned to be the center of both belts.
Economists worry that China’s ambition could trigger a global economic collapse; a currency collapse, specifically. Maybe BRICS and One Belt One Road don’t care. A global currency collapse might be seen as a way to wipe the slate clean of nation-based currencies, especially the US dollar, and establish an international one: like Bitcoin, perhaps.
If Bitcoin is the model for a new Internet-based global currency, Israel is likely to be its guardian too, protecting that currency from hackers around the world.
As chief of security for the world’s information and currency, and with energy independence, Israel stands to gain substantial wealth.
It is a position that explains the willingness of Russia and China to negotiate with Israel today; it is also a position that will invoke resentment tomorrow.
Feeding that resentment will be the small matter of Iran’s determination to annihilate the Jewish state. Inasmuch as it becomes Israel’s neighbour in Syria and Lebanon (as, arguably, it already has), Tehran’s ambition to destroy Israel becomes all but irresistible.
For the sake of trade, China does not want this war. For the same reason, neither does Russia.
Perhaps someone will come along and, strictly for the sake of business, bring peace to the Middle East. But if such a treaty failed, or if for any reason Israel becomes an economic threat to BRICS and One Belt One Road, it is feasible that Russia will descend, China will march and Tehran will launch.
Why? To extract the sliver-sized country, to unblock the flow of commerce, and to deal with “the Jewish problem” once and for all.
Brian Schrauger is the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Journal and its daily Chaim Report, an aggregation of Israel-related headlines from around the world. His email is Brian@JerusalemJournal.net.