What is China Up To?

Earlier this month, The Media Line reported that China welcomed delegations from Iran and Pakistan to Beijing for joint counterterrorism talks. The talks are expected to yield positive results in the fight against extremism, according to experts aligned with China, Pakistan, and Iran. They say the new initiative will likely lead to increased peace and stability in the wider Middle East region as well as within the borders of the involved countries.

Other security experts in the region believe the meeting represents China’s ambition to replace the US as the main player in the Middle East and beyond. In April, China brokered a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two countries that had not had diplomatic relations since 2016. That same month, China also inserted itself into the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang offering to facilitate peace talks.

Azeem Khalid, an expert on China-Pakistan relations and professor of international relations at COMSATS University Islamabad, noted that China’s role in these talks, as well as in the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, consolidates China’s power in the region and positions the country as “a credible alternative to the United States in effectively managing regional affairs.” Khalid notes, “This paradigm shift has profound systemic implications, as China appears to be gradually assuming the role of the region’s primary power broker.”

Adrian Calamel, Middle East and global security expert agrees. He believes China is seeking to undermine the US by increasing its role in the Middle East. According to Calamel, “The notion of China acting as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestine conflict is ridiculous. . . . China has been effectively challenging American primacy without drawing into open hostilities. . . . When there is an economic, political, and diplomatic vacuum, China will try to fill it.”

Amer Al Sabaileh, a Jordanian strategic analyst and a nonresident fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, also views China’s moves in the Middle East as part of an overall strategy to promote China’s interests. Al Sabaileh said, “China managed to build good and steady relations with various countries in the Middle East by offering cooperation and investment. . . . The role of China in the Middle East cannot be compared to the US, but definitely it represents for many a new chance and a new vital partner.”

The Blessors’ Bottom Line

The United States must reengage with the nations of the Middle East and recapture the ground it has recently forfeited.

China has one goal, global domination by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. In light of China’s professed agenda, its influence in the Middle East is of serious concern. China does not have allies, only pawns that it manipulates to achieve its objective. Therefore, a realignment of nations under China’s leadership will not serve to promote peace in the Middle East. Rather, it will promote China’s agenda at the expense of the nations of the Middle East, especially Israel. China is no friend of Israel.

Dr. Matthew Dodd and Geoff Hetrick
June 22, 2023

Recent headlines have been filled with more troubling news concerning Israel and the Middle East.

  • Iran to increase attacks on US by arming groups in Syria” (Jerusalem Post)
  • “U.S. offers Israel-Saudi normalization for silence on Iran deal” (i24 News)
  • “Iran claims to test hypersonic missile that can breach all defense shields” (The Times of Israel)
  • “Netanyahu: Israel will do everything necessary to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons” (i24 News)

It should come as no surprise that many of the alarming headlines involve Iran since Iran is committed to ridding the world of Israel and her people.

But equally concerning were some other headlines because they involved the United States and its relationship with Israel.

  • “First Lady Jill Biden to Skip Israel on Trip to Middle East” (Breitbart)
  • “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancels planned Israel visit” (Jerusalem Post)
  • “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman” (AP News)

Question: What’s behind these headlines involving the United States and Israel?

Answer: Judicial Reform.

Since taking office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to reform Israel’s judicial system so that elected officials may select Israel’s justices in a manner that is similar to how federal judges are nominated and approved in the United States.

But the White House has repeatedly voiced its opposition to Netanyahu’s attempt to reform Israel’s judiciary. In fact, as a sign of his disapproval, on March 29, 2023, President Joe Biden said that he will not invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to the White House (The Times of Israel). Netanyahu has yet to receive an invitation from the White House.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, recently said that the United States is making a “serious mistake” by withholding an invitation to Netanyahu to Washington. Erdan observed, “This is without a doubt problematic. . . This is not the way to behave between friends, even when they disagree on issues. We are one of the closest allies the Americans have. There are always disputes, even within a family, but in the end everyone gets together at the holiday table. The visibility of such a situation has great importance.”

Erdan is correct. The United States is sending the wrong message to Israel and to her enemies. In these volatile times, words and actions matter. The United States has no better ally in the Middle East than Israel. And Israel has no stronger ally than the United States. Unity will send the right message and help restore stability to an unstable region. Please pray for the United States and Israel.

Those who bless Israel will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Dr. Matthew Dodd
June 7, 2023