Chinese War Hero: Third Party, Third World War

Yes, I know why an old Zhang-Zhaozhong related post of mine is currently among the top posts. Zhang Zhaozhong (张召忠 / Zhāng Zhàozhōng), a professor with the National Defense University (国防大学)  told a Chinese television audience that “China would not hesitate to protect Iran with a third world war” if the West should launch an attack on the Islamic Republic.

But then, while we’ve heard American and British officials say that “all options are on the table”, even the Economist, which was quite supportive of the invasion of Iraq some eight years ago, described in one of its most recent editions why military options didn’t look like convincing:

Yet the arguments against an attack are still overwhelming, even for Israel. A sustained bombing campaign would take weeks and set off a firestorm in the Middle East, with Iran counter-attacking Israel through its proxies. It would do nothing to help regime change in Tehran. The economic consequences could be catastrophic. And to what end? A successful campaign would still only delay Iran, not stop it. The technical difficulties for Israel’s armed forces of carrying out such a broad mission over such a long time are immense. Indeed, the suspicion is that Mr Netanyahu would be betting that what Israel started, America would feel forced to finish.

Barack Obama should make it very clear to Mr Netanyahu that he would not do that. At the same time, he should pursue two courses: pushing sanctions, on the one hand, and preparing for a nuclear-armed Iran on the other.

I’m too busy to look Zhang’s statement up in the Chinese media now. But what I do know is that the professor’s statement  – even if correctly quoted in our media – doesn’t spell a binding Chinese commitment to defend Iran – and as long as an attack on Iran isn’t seriously on the cards anyway, any third party can easily threaten a third world war over it, and try to become a celebrated anti-imperialist hero in the Middle East.

But above all, some people at home, in front of their television sets, will feel very important.



» Russia warns West, Reuters, December 1, 2011



5 Comments to “Chinese War Hero: Third Party, Third World War”

  1. Guy’s a jackass. End of story I’m afraid – China did nothing to save Saddam, the Taliban, and Gaddafi, is doing nothing to save Assad, and will do nothing to save Iran’s Mullahs. Sadly this is not true of North Korea’s insane dictatorship – they will do something to keep him in power – and it may not be entirely true of Than Shwe’s clique.

    Put simply, China has very few allies in this world, has no great need of more.


  2. You mentioned in our interview last month that your friends accuse you of unconsciously re-writing what you really thought about something – a war, for example – at an earlier time.

    Isn’t it time to carve a – provisional, anyway – position in stone in a post on your blog, re Iran? 😉


  3. My position back in June of 2009 was that people talking about how the downfall of the Iranian regime was ‘inevitable’ didn’t know what they were talking about:

    The Mullahs have been around for quite some time now and don’t appear to be going anywhere soon. Change will come eventually, but we’ve now seen two attempts at creating a mass-movement for change (2009 and this year), both of which have failed. It does not seem likely in the near future.

    On the subject of the bomb, in 2005 I thought that some kind of action against Iran was necessary to stop them developing the bomb. It’s now six years later and there has neither been an attack on Iran, nor have the Iranians succeeded in exploding a bomb yet. If Iran gets the bomb, there will be no invasion of that country, but since anyway there is no-one who really intends to invade Iran (for the obvious reason that Iraq and Afghanistan were object lessons in how hard that can be) this is not so much of a problem. If Iran gets the bomb, we will live with it just as we now live with North Korea.


  4. Well… just for the record, and because it’s such a shame that good old posts of mine should be forgotten forever, my view wasn’t that short-term either, and my main point then was that the enemy was no longer spotted outside Iran, but within, by many people.

    My latter point has weakened since – the Western-Iranian antagonism is growing again. But I doubt that Iran stands as “united” as it did in the early decades of the “Islamic Revolution”.

    Seems our views of Iran aren’t too different.


  5. If you dig deeper, something which I’m not prepared to do, you will find that this present domestic power struggle in Iran is all about money. Who controls the foundations and other the large hijacked chunks of the economy which are used to fund the Basij. We are really talking about an intra-mafia war between the beards and other political powerbrokers.


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