Unipolar push dangerous for Middle East

By Wu Bingbing Source:Global Times Published: 2011-12-26 21:33:28

The current situation in Syria has become the focus of change in the Middle East. The Arab monarchies, Turkey and the US are trying to drive the political situation in Syria. 

These countries are attempting to use the changes in the Middle East to promote a unipolar hegemony, which goes against the multi-polarization caused by the Middle East changes.

The self-immolation of a Tunisian vendor a year ago triggered changes sweeping through the Middle East.

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have seen regime change and Sudan was split into two countries.

The Arab monarchies, led by Saudi Arabia, have adopted an aggressive strategy to protect themselves.

At home, the Arab monarchies are striving to steady themselves and protect royal control. Various countries took harsh crackdown on the domestic protests.

Countries like Saudi Arabia even dispatched troops to intervene in Bahrain. But they also sought to alleviate public dissatisfaction by handing out subsidies and making political arrangements and adjustments.

Last May, the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) even invited Jordan and Morocco to join the GCC and form a broader alliance of monarchies to support each other and meet challenges.

When dealing with the outside, they try to attack in order to defend, targeting republicanism and regime changes in other Arab countries. The troops of some monarchies joined the Libyan war. In Syria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are actively pushing the Arab League to pressure the Syrian government.

These monarchies' intentions are obvious. They intend to highlight the superiority of their own regimes since these changes take place in republics instead of monarchies. By driving changes in republics, they try to create the image that they support the Arab public, and ensure the republics have no time and energy to threaten the monarchies.

This makes it easier for the monarchies to calmly handle their domestic matters. If the republics fall into economic difficulties, the monarchies can become more dominant by providing economic aid.

And if the republics go through long-term upheavals, the monarchies can highlight the negative effects of reforms to suppress their own public's appeal for change. 

On the US side, the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes, US allies, collapsed first. If Iran benefits from the changes, it'll be a strategic loss for the US.

For the US, Iran has become a challenger in the Middle East and threatens the security of America's two regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The US has been trying to deal with Iran and its ally Syria at the same time.

The bi-polar structure, pro-US or anti-US, that formed during the Cold War, highlighted such problems as political autarchy and economic growth divorced from social. These problems are especially serious inside the pro-US camp. It triggered people's dissatisfaction and led to the Middle East changes.

The three great republics, Egypt, Iraq and Syria, in the storm of the upheavals, have become the core of breaking the bi-polar system.

Generally the Middle East changes will push the bi-polar system to evolve into a multi-polar system.

Arab countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Algeria and other countries such as Turkey, Iran and Israel, are likely to become poles of the multi-polar strategic structure in the Middle East.

But the US and Arab monarchies are still trying to propel a unipolar hegemony led by the US. And Turkey is attempting to establish its own partly unipolar hegemony.

These countries know that the traditional bi-polar structure can't be maintained but regard it as an opportunity to establish a unipolar hegemony for themselves. They might intend to solve the newly-emerging problems in traditional ways.

As a big country which has previously played only a small role in the Middle East, China doesn't seek to establish any kind of unipolar hegemony in the Middle East.

On the contrary, China can only benefit by opposing any other country establishing unipolar hegemony.

In this sense, the bi-polar structure in the Middle East is beneficial to China, but a multi-polar structure is more helpful for China to expand its strategic space.

China should drive the multi-polar trend in the Middle East on the basis of respecting independence and seeking common development.

The author is the deputy director of the Arabic Department with Peking University.opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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