East Asia’s Strategic Advantage in the Middle East 9781793644626, 9781793644633

The modern trajectory of Middle Eastern–East Asian interactions has garnered very little scholarly attention and scrutin

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East Asia’s Strategic Advantage in the Middle East
 9781793644626, 9781793644633

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Copyright © 2021. Lexington Books. All rights reserved.

East Asia’s Strategic Advantage in the Middle East

Copyright © 2021. Lexington Books. All rights reserved.

East Asia’s Strategic Advantage in the Middle East

Copyright © 2021. Lexington Books. All rights reserved.

Shirzad Azad

LEXINGTON BOOKS

Lanham • Boulder • New York • London

Published by Lexington Books An imprint of The Rowman & Littlefeld Publishing Group, Inc. 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706 www​.rowman​.com 6 Tinworth Street, London SE11 5AL, United Kingdom

Copyright © 2021. Lexington Books. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2021 The Rowman & Littlefeld Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information Available Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Available ISBN 978-1-7936-4462-6 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-7936-4463-3 (electronic) ∞ ™ The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992.

Contents

1 The Concept of Strategic Advantage

1

2 On a Silver Platter: Political Palatability

13

3 Without Being Down in the Trenches: Military Footstep

39

4 Mine, Market, Model: Reaching Economic Crescendo

65

5 Ace in the Hole: Poised as a Technological Alternative

101

6 Beyond Semantic Affinity: Gaining on New Cultural Modus Vivendi125 Bibliography149 Index169

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About the Author

183

v

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Chapter 1

Copyright © 2021. Lexington Books. All rights reserved.

The Concept of Strategic Advantage

The initial idea of the present book crept into my mind sometime in early 2013 when I submitted a draft proposal for my PhD dissertation. The core hypothesis was to be applied to a rather multifaceted nexus of Korean Peninsula– Persian Gulf interactions. Due to some apparently biased politico-ideological, rather than disinterested academic, objections raised by two members of the dissertation committee, however, I had to eventually shelve the idea in favor of a less contentious and more agreeable research topic in order to get every member of the committee on board. Of course, I had already persuaded my main advisor, the chair of the committee, about the rationale behind my original conjecture and its signifcance, but there was no way we could win over the two dissatisfed faculty members without either replacing both of them or just modifying the key assumption of my research project. In the end, I was obliged to succumb to the latter option at least to help the fnal stage of my postgraduate studies move through the gears; my favored idea could wait to be tackled in due course.1 The principal idea for this book has, therefore, had a gestation period of roughly one decade during which I found more other propitious opportunities to engage in a number of relevant academic studies and research projects. Those works essentially helped me to collect a larger pool of data, get better acquainted with the present research theme, and come up with some new thoughts about its organization and structure. While I was researching and writing my more recent works, moreover, I came to this realization that a late arrival of the East Asian countries in the Middle East has actually offered them, on a silver platter, an omnifarious array of auspicious benefts and rewards in the region.2 As counterintuitive as it seemed at frst, the new understanding required me to ineluctably reappraise a great deal of my own perceptions and assumptions about the contemporary East Asian–Middle 1

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2

Chapter 1

Eastern nexus. Despite a nearly two-decade long concentration on varied factors contributing to this evolving and sprouting nexus, I had almost always taken it for granted that the East Asian states were very exposed and highly susceptible in the Middle East simply because their modern encounter with the region happened to be at a later date.3 Moreover, the relevant scholars and pundits of every bent have long regarded, rather unanimously, the late entry of the East Asian countries into the Middle East as their serious shortcoming which could put them in a weaker position compared to a lot of benefts and perks that their Western counterparts had been taking fully advantage of just because they had arrived in the region earlier. Whether it was about achieving energy security or overcoming an impending military confict anywhere in the region, those interested observers used to put the spotlight on the vulnerability and susceptibility of the East Asian countries in the Middle East, implying, no matter how innocuously, that they were ultimately on the coattails of the “savvy and sophisticated” Western powers to get things done, one way or the other. In fact, the East Asian states were the very underdogs that could also be made a scapegoat for some foreign policy failures of Western powers in the Middle East even when the genesis of a recurring military confict or a political stalemate in the region had absolutely nothing to do with East Asia. On top of that, the Western countries with sedimented interests in the region came to behave in a way that as if they were really entitled to their various gains and privileges since the “frst come, frst served” rule had naturally put them in a far better position to dictate terms to other neophytes arriving in the Middle East, including the East Asians. In politics and military affairs as well as in economic and technological felds, the Western stakeholders had apparently the fnal say in the region, compelling almost all other non-regional benefciaries to consult and cooperate with the West regarding any aspect of their Mideast-related initiatives and strategies in those areas. Additionally, the privileged status of Western powers and their upper hand in various Middle Eastern affairs were supposed to last rather permanently because hardly any resourceful non-Western aspirant could rival their superior position in the region in a foreseeable future. For obvious reasons, any potential challenger within the Middle East itself had also a minor chance to pose an imminent threat to what the West used to hold dear in the region. Are there really all those general presumptions about the place and performance of the East Asian states in the greater Middle East region correct? Have they essentially been weak and defenseless in the region in the frst place? Does it hold water to argue that the East Asian countries, troubled by their tenuous position, have long been an easy target for pressure and blackmail by those powerful Western powers which have huge vested interests in the region? More importantly, does it also make sense to believe rather frmly

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The Concept of Strategic Advantage

3

that late arrival put those East Asian countries virtually in a permanent state of susceptibility and jeopardy in the Middle East? Did they need to almost always cave in during all misadventures and precarious problems unfolding in the Middle East simply because they had arrived in the region later than their Western counterparts in contemporary history? Was arriving late a real impediment to them and their long-term interests in the region? In the same way, did early arrival in the Middle East put the infuential Western countries in the driving seat permanently? Was their advance course of action an enough criterion to entitle them eternally to their various privileges and perks in the region? Was that really an adequate asset to make them invincible there? Could they continue to beneft, both uninterruptedly and exclusively, from their ascendancy and dominant power in the Middle East? How about Middle Eastern countries themselves? Did they all remain standstill throughout decades without making any meaningful move to rid themselves of Western hegemony and pressures in the region? Were they willing to welcome non-Western powers to the Middle East to tip the scales at the cost of the West’s supremacy and infuence in the region, if not beyond? What could be the implications of such an important tendency to the standing and performance of the East Asian newcomers in the region? Breaking with many of those understandable assumptions, however, the present study asserts that late arrival of the East Asian countries in the Middle East actually turned out to be conducive to their long-term vested interests and bright prospects in the region. The East Asians were not really quite new to the region since there had been a great deal of interactions between East Asia and the greater Mideast region harkening back to many centuries ago. In contemporary history, therefore, a belated reentry of the East Asian states into the Middle East did not have to be necessarily inimical to their presently growing stakes in the region. Quite to the contrary, this book argues that the modern East Asian states happened to be far more fortunate and privileged than what is conventionally thought about various ramifcations of their late appearance in the Middle East compared to their Western rivals. Not only did late arrival not interfere with a rather swift supply of their immediate requirements from the Middle East, it even put them in a relatively better position with regard to their sedimented interests and stakes in the region in the long run. Of course, the advantage of the East Asian states in the greater Middle East region in short and long term was certainly not a matter of sheer luck or a work of happenstance. The Middle East’s own unique circumstances and its often perplexing developments were obviously not quite irrelevant to that favorable outcome. But a great deal of East Asia’s advantageous stance in the region had to do with various policies and conducts of the prominent Western powers in the Middle East. Those policies and strategies had indubitably been

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4

Chapter 1

carved out to primarily serve the West and its long-term objectives in the region. In spite of that self-serving intention, however, the Western approach toward and practices in the Middle East brought about enormous benefts for the East Asian countries, accelerating the pace and scope of their unanticipated engagement and success in the region. Such a propitious position and performance of East Asia in the Middle East also turned out to involve all political, military, economic, technological, and cultural areas which this study aims to probe by applying the concept of strategic advantage. What does such concept imply then? Strategic advantage primarily means having strategic value or strategic edge, suggesting that something or a combination of things will give a competitive advantage to a player or a group of players. Being strategic is simply the quintessential characteristic of strategic edge as it indicates a high level of importance. While being strategic or having a strategic constituent will not necessarily assure a successful action or a larger outcome, it would defnitely increase the chances of achieving a more favorable result. Among all required elements for success, a strategic feature would count among the most critical attributes, denoting greater signifcance within an integrated whole or to a desired effect. In fact, when little actions or small measures are supported by strategic elements, they have a higher probability to over time produce more positive outcomes. Benefting from such an advantage is thereby essential to any vital course of action or intended objectives simply because it would render upon its holder a decisive head start over its rivals, one way or the other. Theoretically, the concept of strategic advantage would dilute the predominant role of the structure of the international system in order to put equal emphasis on the agency. Because of possessing such a critical characteristic, enjoying strategic plus is itself considered both the genesis of foreign policy initiatives by the East Asian states and a special privilege in facilitating their coveted foreign policy objectives in the Middle East. As a consequence, strategic advantage reifes the bargaining power of the agency vis-à-vis the menacing constraints imposed by the structure of the international system. It explicitly connects the domineering systemic factor to the unit level and their combined role in directing various decisive dynamics in the East Asian states’ contemporary interactions with their counterparts across the greater Middle East region. Empirically, strategic advantage in the present study would function as a touchstone against which major aspects of the East Asian countries’ modern engagement with the Middle East are examined. The notion of strategic advantage, moreover, becomes, per se, the puzzle and the hint as well as the guiding map and the light at the end of the research tunnel. Strategic advantage, therefore, encapsulates the essence of East Asia’s fortune in contemporary Middle East in all crucial domains, ranging from politics to technology and from economics to culture. Politically, the East

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The Concept of Strategic Advantage

5

Asian states entered a postcolonial Middle East where the creation and continuation of regional structures proved, by and large, to be favorable to their increasingly expanding interests both in short and long term. The East Asians themselves played little role, if anything at all, in the formation and survival of the political institutions and alliances most of which turned out to be in rather complete harmony with their growing presence and engagement in the region. Moreover, the consolidation and perpetuation of some dysfunctional and undependable politico-ideological arrangements in the Middle East gradually smoothed the way for the East Asian countries to present themselves both as a reliable ally and a successful model which the Mideast nations could capitalize on. Such critical developments could obviously work to the beneft of the East Asians, promoting their already advantageous standing and interests in the Middle East. With regard to the feld of arms and military affairs, the contemporary Middle East was caught in the crossfre of never-ending wars of liberation and independence, internecine interstate hostilities, the West’s instigated conficts, and catastrophic civil wars. Even when the Mideast nations were not preoccupied by a consuming shooting war, they still needed to keep on guard constantly against any lurking foreign or domestic danger. Such a dismal situation in the region provided the East Asian countries with a lot of unique opportunities to exploit, one way or the other. For some East Asian states, the Middle East became a bustling market for arms and military exports because the region was largely bereft of suffcient knowledge and technological capabilities to produce its own military requirements. And while many Mideast countries could also enjoy simultaneously from relatively easy access to Western armaments, some other nations in the region had to rely on the East as a major purveyor of their required arms and munitions. For other countries in East Asia, the Middle East came into view fortuitously as a practicing ground for normalcy, maturity, and middle power status. Compared to the area of munitions and military matters, however, the economic sphere turned out to be far more rewarding and enduring for the East Asians in the Middle East. In modern history, many East Asians arrived in the region to primarily gain some economic and fnancial benefts. They soon realized that the Middle East was actually a gravy train from which they had no desire to get off. For a whole host of external and internal factors, the Middle East had been destined dubiously to supply the lifeblood of East Asia’s developmental juggernauts (i.e., oil and other vital energy resources) from one decade to another. The East Asian countries were originally worried how to assure their suffcient supply of the Middle Eastern petroleum, but as more time elapsed it was the energy-producing nations of the Mideast region which now became rather dependent on a continuous pace of oil-fueled development and economic growth in East Asia. Besides that, the Middle

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6

Chapter 1

East’s elephantine imports of manufactured products from East Asia never dwindled to a trickle over the past several decades, giving another boost to the strategic advantage of the East Asian states and their economic and fnancial sway over the region. Considering technology, a better part of the greater Middle East region has long suffered from a severe lack of technological know-how and expertise knowledge, compelling it to always be on the lookout for foreign techniques and talents. Although a great deal of technologies and machineries exported to the region by East Asia were originally of rather subpar quality, however, many East Asian manufacturers could overtime upgrade their products signifcantly and gradually become rather popular brands among the Middle Eastern nations. Due to a series of internal and external constraints, some Mideast countries had to be dependent constantly on importing technology from their partners in East Asia and other parts of the world, though there were undeniably some serious impediments with regard to the transformation of certain state-of-the-art technologies and technical know-how to the region. Such eventuality only advanced the advantageous position of the East Asian countries in the Middle East, making it easier for them to use technology for vouchsafng their expanding interests throughout the region. Culturally, the Middle East and East Asia used to have lots of civilizational interactions back in the ancient times. Despite such an encouraging background, culture and generally cultural things had, by and large, the least priority when the two sides resumed their old ties in the twentieth century. Ironically, the East Asian states paid serious attention to cultural matters when they strived to enhance their modern connections to some other parts of the world. By the time the East Asian countries started to capitalize on culture in earnest in order to oil the wheels of their quickly advancing material machines in the Middle East, therefore, various developments had already taken place, paving the way for East Asia to swiftly and comfortably raise its cultural profle in the region. In comparison to their Western counterparts, the East Asian states could not gain an upper hand culturally among many political and academic elites in the Middle East, but their augmented cultural status and infuence had a lot of potentials to further their increasingly growing foothold in the region. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH THEME Over the past several years, there have been a slew of talks and debates about the formation of strategic relations between the East Asian states and their counterparts across the Middle East region. The two sides have also managed to sign dozens of deals dubbed “strategic partnership,”

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The Concept of Strategic Advantage

7

“comprehensive strategic partnership,” and so on, involving mutual understanding and cooperation in various politico-strategic, security, economic, technological, and even cultural realms. In reality, however, a relationship of strategic nature has long been there for many decades, shaping the contours of an increasingly multifaceted chain of interactions between East Asia and the Middle East. Even when one party or both of them did not perceive such a critical fact, strategic connection was still in operation, galvanizing other stakeholders into shielding tightly their sedimented interests from a new tide of rising perils in the region. As a corollary to that, the more other stakeholders made serious efforts to secure their precious assets in the Middle East, the larger the East Asian advantage in the region grew strategically. The East Asian states are increasingly becoming important players in the Middle East, making the most of their growing clout in the region. But the East Asian countries are not to be credited highly for their leverage among many Mideast nations. Strategic edge has spread its tentacles into nearly every aspect of East Asia’s multifarious engagement in the region, no matter if the policies and practices of the East Asians themselves were not that instrumental in such eventuality. The Middle East’s own special circumstances and developments could not be very prominent behind such strategic asset either. By comparison, it was the West whose plans and conducts contributed tremendously to East Asia’s advantageous rank and reputation in a wider Middle Eastern region. Of course, not everything that eventually led to this outcome was done wholly inadvertently. Regardless of the pace and process of the Western policies and conducts conducive to East Asia’s rising fortunes in the Middle East, the ultimate goal was to be at the helm of the entire dynamics involving the two regions. The Middle East and East Asia are essentially two of the most pivotal regions in the world, playing a very vital role in the world’s stability and prosperity in contemporary history. Although both regions had a long history of interactions in the ancient times, their modern connections turned out to become more critical and complex. In fact, the modern systems of production and global trade were especially very crucial in the creation and consolidation of the new division of labor between these two important swathes of territory on the earth. That is a powerful reason why the West emerged as a key factor in shaping the nature and scope of various decisive dynamics involving the Middle Eastern and East Asian nations over the past several decades. More importantly, certain policies and practices of a number of infuential Western powers helped almost all East Asian states to gradually yet signifcantly uplift their profle and advantageous position in the Middle East, while those Western plans and conducts did not produce similarly positive outcomes for Middle Eastern countries in East Asia.

8

Chapter 1

The contemporary trajectory of Middle Eastern–East Asian interactions has, however, garnered very little scholarly attention and scrutiny. The twoway connections between both regions have witnessed a litany of activities and developments over the past several decades, but they are yet to be investigated suffciently in tandem with their cumulative impacts on the modern world’s security and well-being. Few academic works have made an attempt to probe the nature and extent of each region’s inclusive signifcance for the other party, while the central role of the West behind such dynamics has even attracted the least attention. Aiming to fll humbly part of this acute research gap, the present study focuses primarily on different aspects of East Asia’s modern relationship with the Middle East without delving into all dynamics and details their interactions in those areas entailed. The main objective is to substantiate how the West’s plans and performance made it possible for the East Asian countries to gain an upper hand in their dealings with the Middle East by turning to good use their viable advantage of late arrival in varied spheres in the region. In doing so, the Western role is patently accentuated, but the study would also assert that certain regional characteristics in the Middle East as well as East Asia’s own capabilities and perseverance in the region were partially relevant to that eventuality too.

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OUTLINE OF THE BOOK Excepting this introductory chapter spelling out the framework of analysis, the study is comprised of fve principal chapters each of which concentrates on a different yet crucial aspect of East Asia’s advantageous engagement in contemporary Middle East. The main objective is to scrutinize the crucial factors which helped the East Asian countries to beneft from signifcantly favorable circumstances in any of those critical areas. There has certainly been a deluge of important developments and complex circumstances involving the Middle Eastern–East Asian nations over the past several decades, but the present work does not require to substantiate its core argument through a case-by-case analysis of all those historically decisive events. Instead, the book puts the spotlight on peculiar policies and deeds of the powerful Western countries which made it easier for the East Asian states to further, rather swiftly, their surprising clout throughout the modern Middle East. To give more credence to its proposition of strategic advantage, moreover, the study takes into account two other accommodating factors which contributed broadly to that eventuality, including the Middle East’s own idiosyncratic circumstances and certain relevant initiatives pursued by the East Asian themselves to secure their increasingly growing interests in the region.

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The Concept of Strategic Advantage

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Chapter 2, therefore, probes some consequential political elements which precipitated East Asia’s favorable outcomes in the Middle East. For starters, in the pre- and postcolonial era in the Middle East, a number of powerful Western countries played an indispensable role in the formation and extension of certain structures which determined over time a great deal of the region’s internal and external interactions. This chapter examines how the success and failure of those Western plans and conducts brought about signifcant repercussions very conducive to East Asia’s rising fortunes in the region in the long run. Moreover, the chapter looks into other political trends related to the Middle East and East Asia as they generated gradually a proper environment for the East Asian nations to thrive. From a detrimental lack of unity among the Middle Eastern countries to their temptation of forging closer partnership with a rising East, such political realities all gave a boost to the East Asian states in the modern Middle East in spite of their late arrival in the region. In chapter 3, the study argues how a long history of Western military engagement in the Middle East turned the region into a bustling market for the export of arms and munitions from other parts of the world, including East Asia. Various interstate conficts as well as several episodes of civil wars all had similar impacts, deepening the region’s persistent reliance on foreign sources of armaments and military know-how. Capitalizing on its relatively competitive capabilities in the arms industry, East Asia emerged surprisingly as a major benefciary of the elephantine size of military deals which many Middle Eastern countries needed to order one decade after another. This chapter also explains how a combination of such military matters made it possible for some East Asian countries to emerge as rather long-term business partners for many Middle Eastern countries both in conventional and unconventional weaponry. Still, the confict-prone region of the Middle East turned out to be a fertile ground for other East Asian states to practice their normalcy and military maturity, one way or the other. To assess the advantageous position of East Asia in the Middle East in the economic area, chapter 4 would initially highlight the contemporary economic division of labor as a fundamental factor behind the nature and scope of commercial connections between the region and the outside world. That is a major reason why the West benefted extensively from a head start in the oil business until almost the early 1990s, but its erstwhile dominant position in the Middle Eastern economic and fnancial interactions diminished subsequently once the new patterns of production and international transactions, or generally the economic center of gravity, shifted in favor of the East. The chapter, therefore, analyzes particularly some external as well as a number of internal elements in the Middle East all of which provided the East Asian countries with ample opportunities to promote their expanding economic

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10

Chapter 1

infuence throughout the region. A more recent trend to recognize, if not emulate, East Asia as a model of successful growth and development could only, as this chapter would assert, accentuate the strategic ascendancy of the East Asian countries in the economic domain of the greater Middle East region. In chapter 5, the focus is on technology and the relevant factors which helped the East Asian countries to gain considerable advantages in this area in the Middle East. By and large, it started in the post-frst oil shock of 1973 when the fow of petrodollars inspired many politicians across the region to import various types of technology and technical know-how to materialize their ambitious modernization and economic development programs. A lack of suffcient indigenous expertise as well as various impediments to gain access to all required Western technologies, therefore, smoothed the way for a larger share of technical materials supplied by the East Asian states. Besides that, this chapter pays attention to the role of the Middle Eastern markets as a practicing ground for upgrading the East Asian nascent technologies in order to appraise the power of technology in enhancing the increasing interests of East Asia in the region in some other areas favorable to both sides. As the Israeli–East Asian relationship demonstrated, however, the chapter would later prove that technology was not really a one-way business at all, and the Middle East could also be of additional technological advantage to East Asia in different forms. Finally, chapter 6 looks at the causes which gave the East Asian countries certain cultural boost among the Middle Eastern nations. The cultural components of international relations actually received a very low priority when the East Asian states encountered the modern Middle East, but this area later proved to be an effective means of building soft power and promoting various interests of East Asia in the region. While this chapter does not ignore the role of civilizational links and the previous cultural exchanges between the East Asian and Middle Eastern nations, it gives more prominence to some other elements which greased the cogs of East Asia’s public diplomacy and soft power campaign in the region. Of course, the chapter does not contradict the fact that part of the favorable position of the East Asian countries in the cultural realm of the modern Middle East derives ineluctably from their own contemporary achievements in the economic and industrial felds which bought them a positive image in the region and in many other parts of the world.

NOTES 1. My PhD dissertation was later published as a book by Routledge in 2015, entitled Koreans in the Persian Gulf: Policies and International Relations.

The Concept of Strategic Advantage

11

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2. In this study, East Asia encompasses, by and large, only the political entities located in the Northeast Asian region, including China (along with Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao), Japan, South Korea, and North Korea. The Middle East also covers Iran, Turkey, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant region, and all the Arab countries of North Africa extending from Egypt to Morocco. 3. One of the studies which particularly made me think deeply about various gains and advantages of East Asia’s late arrival in the modern Middle East is published as East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East: Newcomers, Trailblazers, and Unsung Stakeholders (New York: Algora Publishing, 2019).

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Chapter 2

On a Silver Platter Political Palatability

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CORKING THE BOTTLE: THE WEST MOLDS LONG-LASTING STRUCTURES Perhaps nothing encapsulates the enduring Western legacy in the region than the appellation “Middle East” itself. This Eurocentric expression was originally coined to distinguish the region from the “Near East” and “Far East” territories. Whether the “Middle East” neologism was initially thought up by the British India Offce during the 1850s, or it was the American naval historian Alfred Taylor Mahan, who frst applied the term in 1902, however, the longevity and popularity of this designation have been truly astonishing.1 Ironically, the application of both “Near East” and “Far East” terms has long been dubiously abandoned, while the practice of using or endorsing the nonnative name of the “Middle East” has become only universal especially over the past several decades. China and India, for instance, used to apply “West Asia” while referring to the region, but even these rising Asian giants are now increasingly jettisoning their own native appellations in favor of picking up the term “Middle East” whenever they need to talk or write about the region.2 Another peculiarity which underlines the surviving Western colonialism in the region is disputations and uncertainties over various territorial boundaries across the Middle East. The present-day borders among many Middle Eastern countries remain largely as they were settled according to the Sykes-Picot Treaty in 1916 when Britain and France redrew the existing political map by putting the kibosh on the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire over vast swathes of land in the region.3 Under propitious circumstances, disagreements over the West-demarcated borders have often turned out to become a major source of regional and international conficts in the Middle East during the past century.4 Because of uninterrupted Western presence in the region, a great deal 13

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14

Chapter 2

of the simmering rage and dissatisfaction over the existing borders among many Middle Eastern states has so far been contained in different forms, but short of a region-wide consensus or a forward-looking mechanism any other temporary or artifcial restraint would not necessarily stave off potentially dangerous hostilities in the region in the future. Meanwhile, Western countries have never acted in a unifed pattern, nor they have adopted similar policies and strategies with regard to different parts of the Middle East throughout the ages. Part of this matter has to do with various forms of rivalry among the infuential Western nations operating in the region over the past several centuries. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, the French, the Germans, and eventually the Americans all strived at different times to create certain structures favorable to their perceived national interests in the region.5 Britain and particularly the United States emerged at long last as the main players in the Middle East in the post–World War II era, defning defnitely the contours of events and developments in the region through a whole raft of security regimes, military alliances, arms deals, diplomatic means, economic inducements, and so on. True that in the postcolonial era the Americans could play singlehandedly a hegemonic role across the Middle East, but the implementation and desired success of their policies still hinged on close collaboration with their powerful allies in Europe. Like the border issue adumbrated earlier, the Western domination and policies only aggravated some ethnic and nationalist antagonisms long existed in the Middle East. To vouchsafe its sedimented interests, the West often suppressed or contributed signifcantly to a clampdown on various ethnic, nationalist, and even democratic movements in the region, nipping in the bud virtually a good number of heroisms and reform-minded political campaigns whose ultimate success would have given birth to a totally different Middle East today.6 In the same way, other Western policies and practices were equally detrimental when they aimed to balance forcefully one country or a certain political ideology against another party in the region by controlling the relevant military, technological, economic, and fnancial mechanisms. One nation or a group of countries were given, often undeservedly, huge assistances and advantages, while the opposing country or parties had to be deprived from a variety of critical resources vital for their long-term robust survival and national aspirations.7 The state, therefore, emerged as the most powerful force in almost all Middle Eastern societies in the postcolonial period, though the state had historically been the alpha and omega of any polity in the region as well. In particular, the contemporary rise of authoritarian statism in the Middle East brought to bear the creation of relatively exclusive political systems in which the state ruled the roost by wielding disproportionate authority over all politico-military as well as socio-economic affairs.8 In some important

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On a Silver Platter

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Middle Eastern countries, the army or military men in mufti became the custodians of their societies, taking over all key foundations of control and wealth as other forces in society could hardly resist the arbitrary powers of their domineering rulers. Under such draconian circumstances, the state had a near monopoly over internal affairs, while external affairs were regarded simply as its prerogative.9 On top of that, the state’s total control over foreign policy smoothed the way for the implementation and continuation of certain policies of the West in the region because the powerful Western offcials could easily engage in backdoor politics, secret deals, and collusions with their close and friendly counterparts, if not with their adversaries and enemies, in the region.10 One obvious and immediate ramifcation of statism was a lack of democratic and accountable political systems in many Middle Eastern countries. The reluctance of the powerful Western countries to promote peacefully or push forcefully for such liable and responsible arrangements in the region only made things worse, undermining many democratic forces and freedomloving movements which could be quickly quashed by the state with impunity.11 This approach often sharply contradicted certain progressive and liberal policies which the West pursued in some other parts of the world in the immediate aftermath of the World War II. The United States, for instance, played an instrumental role in the creation and success of liberal and democratic systems in Japan and South Korea by lending a helping hand to the suppression of various communist and leftist forces in those two countries.12 In some important Middle Eastern countries, the West did exactly the opposite, paving the ground for the triumph and ascendancy of backward-looking and reactionary forces at the cost of progressive, liberal, and future-oriented movements.13 As a corollary to all of that, the East Asian countries arrived in the modern Middle East where the ground for a propitious political environment had already been laid down. Certain Western policies had already been very conducive to such eventuality, while the local potentates were now waiting in their wings to embrace their newcomer counterparts hailing from the East. By and large, the state was all the East Asians needed to get in touch with in order to engage in any critically bilateral political, military, economic, and even cultural relationship with a sovereign state in the Middle East. The mission would be most probably easier if the target states in the region were already friends and close allies of the West. But other Middle Eastern countries with a different set of political agenda and contrasting ideologies proved over time not to be a tough nut to crack at all; they could be even more predisposed to setting up early cordial and multifaceted connections to the East. After all, part of such a propensity had to do with the “clean past record” of the East Asian countries in the Middle East.

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THE SULLIED RECORD VERSUS A “CLEAN HANDS” IMAGE The greater Middle East region generally survived the classical imperialist conducts of the West in Asia and Africa only to succumb to its modern forms of naked imperialism in the post–World War II era. Prior to that, various miscellaneous and intermittent policies of some major European powers, Britain and France in particular, had certainly inficted a lot of wounds upon the Middle East, but the pernicious approach of the West toward the region since the late 1940s onward turned out to be far more ubiquitous and consequential.14 The United States upped the ante when the American policymakers came to this realization that their postwar defense of and plans for Japan and Western Europe were not effectively possible without taking care of a parallel approach to dominate over the Middle East region, one way or the other. As a crucial part of that triangular arc, the Middle East emerged ineluctably as a highly valuable strategic prize the practical and permanent control over which required not using a soothing fyswatter but applying a whole array of often immoral and cold-blooded policies and strategies.15 The Western realpolitik management of the Middle East, therefore, left little ground for taking into consideration any meaningful concerns for domestic politics and human rights issues in the region. Handpicked corrupt rulers and pliant proxies propped up across the region to virtually subordinate the welfare and prosperity of their own citizens in order to ultimately secure the sedimented interests of the West.16 Such treacherous local agents opted their societies of productive works and proftable international interactions, turning them into the seedbed for different types of extremist groups to fourish here and there. Many other tragic consequences included brazen corruption both in public and private sectors, high rates of unemployment, abject poverty, brain drain, capital drain, and so on.17 Of course, the responsible Western politicians did not even bat an eyelid simply because as long as the greater Middle East region could be kept preoccupied with its chronic internal malaises, the likelihood of causing troubles for the Western hegemony in the region could be effectively neutralized.18 If certain Middle Eastern countries still posed a menacing threat to the Western position and interests in the region, however, the West would resort to crippling sanctions and shooting war, if not a combination of both. With regard to sanctions, no other Middle Eastern countries have so far suffered from various tragic implications of this policy instrument than Iraq and especially Iran. For more than several decades, the United States as the leader of the West levied a draconian regime of swingeing sanctions mostly under a phony pretext. In fact, the well-informed and enlightened people had little doubt about the duplicity and erroneous nature of such orientation because

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almost always the disadvantaged and susceptible segments of society had to bear the brunt of the West-initiated sanctions, while those stringent measures were supposed to target the relevant governments and offcials in the region in the frst place. After all, the ultimate objective of such punitive and heavyhanded sanctions was to deny a variety of valuable resources and required materials to those Middle Eastern nations whose solid progress and cumulative power were perceived to be inimical to the long-term interests of the Western world, the United States in particular, throughout the region.19 Compared to the silent war of sanctions which had to be initiated and implemented forcefully by the West, a shooting war did not have to be instigated and fought by the West itself, though it was the case in some instances. As a case in point, the West largely aided and abetted Iraq’s bloody confict with Iran during the 1980s. Later, it gave the green light, implicitly, to the same Iraqi political system to invade and occupy the neighboring sheikhdom of Kuwait. Without any doubt, this old strategy of divide and conquer in the region was hardly less catastrophic than the time the West decided to engage directly in a protracted and cataclysmic confict against an unfortunate Middle Eastern country.20 Epitomized by the Iraq War of 2003, the Western large-scale military campaigns in the region had at least the side effect of bringing to light the true color of certain Western rhetoric and high-sounding pledges about the Middle East, though a blunder of such genre could simultaneously damage a great deal of various values and freedoms, not to include a systematic violation of international law, which many Western citizens themselves hold dear at home.21 The Middle East’s besetting problems are, therefore, thought to be mostly the creation of major Western powers, and the West is often considered to be responsible for much of the current chaos in the region.22 The depth and scope of Western misconducts and misguided policies in the Middle East are, however, far more catastrophic than what is already known, and an overwhelming majority of people in the region still have a feeble grasp of the past history and the scatological realities of their own societies.23 The existing literature and many forms of social media products reveal that many well-educated scholars and erudite citizens in the West have a better understanding than their average counterparts in the Middle East about some less-known Western deeds and their dreadful repercussions for the region. Part of this dire problem is understandable since many deceitful rulers and treacherous elites in the region have a skeleton in the closet, and are doing their utmost to keep their own citizens totally and permanently ignorant about some evil crimes and atrocities for which they themselves were an accomplice. In sharp contrast to the appalling Western record in the contemporary history of the Middle East, the East Asian countries came essentially to ride on the crest of a wave, thanks to their previous “clean record” in the region. They

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had not colonized any part of the Middle East in the past, nor could they be charged with being an accessory to the classical colonization of the region by the West.24 Their championing for state sovereignty and international law could also signify that the Eastern nations were, by and large, not in favor of the modern forms of Western colonization over the Middle Eastern societies. Moreover, the East Asian states ended up forging close and cordial relationships with almost all corrupt and authoritarian regimes across the Middle East, but still they could not be held responsible for catapulting those nefarious entities into power in the frst place. On that sanguine account, the East Asian countries were hardly liable for many Middle Eastern malaises which the Western powers had brought about often in close collaboration with their local pawns and stooges.25 Meanwhile, the East Asian states found new grounds to beef up their “cleans hands” image among the Middle Eastern societies. By providing various forms of economic and technical assistances to the poor and disadvantaged communities, the East Asians could effectively give this positive impression that they were contributing to the peace and prosperity of the region.26 In other occasions, they were willing to somehow put themselves at the disposal of a struggling sanctioned and marginalized Mideast country, helping it to make ends meet by any possible overt or covert means. In sharp contrast to a callous and cold-hearted approach favored by some responsible Western powers, moreover, successive East Asian governments and their appointed representatives in the region used to often sympathize with their unfortunate and hapless Middle Eastern counterparts for what their ill-fated citizens had to go through. Of course, all of such timely undertakings and empathetic behaviors could serve as illuminating and chastening experiences for the East Asian nations which involved actively in the region, providing them with many invaluable lessons to contemplate over.27 LATE ARRIVAL AND SOME GOOD LESSONS TO PRACTICE From their early arrival to the modern Middle East, the East Asians became conscious about their relatively positive and promising image in the region in comparison to what an average citizen of a Mideast country thought about the West in general. Since the East Asian states themselves had already experienced some forms of Western colonialism and bullying behavior, it was not really very diffcult for them to get a sense of how their host societies in the region were commonly feeling about the West.28 They soon became jealous about their own “clean hands” image among the Middle Eastern citizens, doing their utmost to, as much as possible, protect their newly found good

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name and reputation. As the new entrants in the Middle East, they were highly dependent on their comparatively better reputation which could further their overall progress and achievements in the region. This was a possibility, however, as long as the East Asians could be on their own without being asked or even required to engage in more demanding and contentious affairs of the region. But as the East Asian states gradually became important partners with huge stakes in almost all Middle Eastern countries, major Western powers expected them to play a more active and convincing role in managing the tangled thickets in the region. Part of such relatively reasonable expectation was obviously stemming from East Asia’s overdependency on the region’s stupendous reserves of fossil fuels access to which was very vital for a successful industrialization and economic development taking place in the East Asian societies. By excusing that the Middle East had historically been “a graveyard of great powers,” the East Asians tried for very long time to “pass the buck.”29 They even claimed that they were by and large ignorant about various complexities of the region, providing them with yet another justifcation to often shun away from getting deeply involved in some besetting and disputable problems of the Middle East. Despite their increasingly rising stakes there, the East Asian states found themselves very susceptible to the Middle East’s uncertainties and changing circumstances, compelling them to usually walk on eggshells so as not to put at risk gratuitously their expanding interests in the region.30 When push came to shove, however, the East Asians strived to preserve their “strategic autonomy” in the Middle East while expressing their willingness, no matter how reluctantly, to cooperate with the Western stakeholders in the region. By resorting to different excuses and emphatic explanations, the East Asians had previously resisted, often assertively and self-righteously, the idea of a deep and perilous involvement in the intricacies of the greater Middle East region. They had come a long way, therefore, to eventually accept some sort of “division of labor” formula according to which the West could as usual have an ultimate say and a leading role in the political and military matters of the Middle East, giving the East Asians the opportunity to become more active in various economic and technological spheres in the region. By and large, the East Asian states, from a rising great power like China to smaller yet close partners of the West like Japan and South Korea, preferred to adhere to this convenient pattern of international cooperation in the Middle East.31 In spite of their eventual preparedness to play a more active role in the Middle East, however, the East Asian states always accentuated that their prime objective was to contribute to peace and stability in the region. Of course, the existence and extension of a peaceful environment was

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indubitably of paramount importance to East Asian’s ever-expanding interests throughout the Middle East. But the peace-frst agenda of the East Asian countries could also be virtually at odds with the West’s serious involvement in varied forms of war and confict throughout the region. The Chinese were occasionally blaming the powerful Western countries for instigating and perpetuating hostility and bloodshed in the region, while the Japanese were willing to sometimes mediate between the Middle Eastern parties and their allies in the West without challenging the offcial Western narrative of a typical Mideast crisis. The formulaic approach of the East Asians was certainly in lockstep with their critical interests in the region, but the orientation had also a lot to do with their own broader perspectives toward the outside world, including the Middle East. The East Asian states generally attached to a traditional interpretation of international law and state sovereignty, making noninterference in the domestic affairs of other countries a rather sacrosanct principle of their foreign policy. Acting in accordance with such a hands-off policy toward the outside world turned out to be particularly very effective with regard to developing bilateral connections to many corrupt and authoritarian political systems across the Middle East. A number of sensitive domestic issues had already become a bugbear in the region’s relationship with the Western world, but such controversial matters could hardly bother any Middle Eastern country’s ties with East Asia.32 Even the democratic and industrialized countries of Japan and South Korea were often reluctant or leery of bringing up a contentious domestic matter while dealing with a Mideast nation, though they still could act differently when voting about, for instance, the human rights record of that particular country at a prominent international organization like the United Nations. In principle, however, the noninterference or “no string attached” approach was an upshot of a policy called “the separation of politics from economics” (or zhengjing fenli in Chinese, seikei bunri in Japanese, and chonggyong pulli in Korean) which the East Asian countries had long practiced in their own region, one way or the other.33 They did not wish their mushrooming economic and commercial interests in the Middle East be gratuitously burdened with some “inconsequential” or “irrelevant” politicoideological matters, even when those issues could virtually hijack the entire bilateral or multilateral relationship of a Middle Eastern country with the West. Since the East Asians had come to the Middle East primarily to gain economic and fnancial benefts, it would be no problem for them to just take care of such critical interests while keeping any controversial politicsrelated issue at arm’s length. For instance, for many decades the Arab– Israeli confict or Iran emerged as some hot-button issues in international politics, but the East Asian states, Japan and South Korea in particular, did

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not let such matters fend off their growing interactions with the Middle East region.34 The importance of maintaining friendly relations with all parties across the Middle East was, therefore, another key lesson in East Asia’s foreign policy orientation toward the region. This businesslike and pragmatist approach was again in contravention of the West’s long practice of “divide and rule” in the Middle East. In comparison, the East Asian states strived to almost always be in good terms with different confictual ideologies and opposing forces in the region. While the Western powers had based their Middle Eastern policy on making and breaking new alliances and coalitions, the East Asian countries were in favor of sustainable relationship and long-lasting friendly ties with all parties in a topsy-turvy region.35 They could maintain good contacts simultaneously with both Iran and Saudi Arabia without offering certain advantages to one country at the cost of another. In the same way, the East Asian states managed to over time foster close and benefcial connections to Israel while raising the rhetoric another notch with regard to the optimism about the Israeli–Palestinian peace process.

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A DISPARATE AND DISUNITED REGION Despite its strikingly infuential role in both ancient and modern waves of globalization and world integration, the Middle East has poignantly remained a dreadfully divided land mass of sovereign nation-states most of which harbor some sort of resentment and antipathy toward each other. This unfortunate Middle Eastern riddle is encapsulated by the fact that the region contributes greatly to the survival and robust growth of the international economy, while its indispensable material wealth is yet to lead to any meaningful form of politico-economic unity and regional integration among the Mideast nations. As a matter of fact, only some 20 percent of all commercial interactions, including exports and imports, are conducted within the region itself, and the Middle East countries handle the rest of the 80 percent with other nations outside the region. Such a poor rate of economic interdependence and regional integration in varied forms has irrefutably been brought about by a whole host of internal and external factors all of which continue to woefully hold the region back.36 The intra-Arab rivalry is often cited as a major element behind incessant instabilities and a lack of regional cohesion in the Middle East. The Arabs are actually the largest ethnic group in the region, and the Arabic-speaking people form an overwhelming majority of the sovereign states in the Middle East. But despite their common language and shared identity, they have never been able to lay down some durable foundations for strong and consequential

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institutions of unity and cooperation in the region. When the Arabs themselves failed to essentially come together and work toward building certain structures of regional integration, they were even less prepared to collaborate with other non-Arabic-speaking nations in the region for achieving such a noble objective.37 Deep down, a ferce competition over which country should take the helm of the Arab world as well as some other ideological and religious differences has so far nipped in the bud various pan-Arabist attempts to persuade all the Arab countries across the Middle East to put aside their petty grievances and unite under a common cause.38 In fact, even Israel, or the broader Arab–Israeli confict, could not bring all the Arab-speaking countries together. Although the struggle against Israel in favor of the displaced Palestinians had initially been a rallying cry of the Arab unity, however, the issue could later badly divide the Arab world as a number of Arab countries, Egypt in particular, moved to mend fences with the Israelis. On top of that, both the Arabs and their Israeli counterparts are actually the same Semitic cousins who are yet to come into good terms with each other despite living in the same vicinity and engaging in a lot of benefcially bilateral commercial interactions for ages.39 In recent years, moreover, some critical regional issues, such as the Iranian nuclear controversy, brought Israel and a dozens of Arab countries together, providing them with a good excuse to talk to each other, mostly covertly and sometimes overtly. But even a region-wide political rapprochement between Israel and the Arab countries would hardly lead to a greater degree of regional cooperation and harmonious integration as long as there was no wider consensus involving some other major stakeholders in the Middle East. For instance, the modern intra-Arab competition pales in comparison to the historical Arab–Iranian rivalry in the Middle East, harkening back to many centuries ago. Grounded in ferce political and serious ideological antagonisms as well as in racial and linguistic competitions, the old-age feuding between the Arabs and the Iranians brought about enormously ruinous ramifcations for the very peace and stability, let alone regional integration and synergy, in the greater Middle East region over the past several decades. As the racial similarity failed to bring together the Arabs and their distant cousins of Israelis, the visionary regime of the Islamic Republic in Iran with its Islamist agenda and pan-Muslims rhetoric at home and abroad also did not succeed in setting up close and congenial relationships with most of the Middle Eastern countries during the past four decades. Under the Islamic Republic, Tehran even did not score well in building some effective mechanisms of cooperation and joint works in the Persian Gulf region where a successful degree of regional integration had a great potential to eventually trickle down to the rest of the Middle East.40

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Since Iran and its archrival in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, were largely unsuccessful in terms of managing their overall bilateral connections, the prospects for wider mutually constructive interactions between the Iranians and their Arab counterparts across the Gulf region diminished one decade after another. Like the Franco-German illustrious case of launching and forwarding the European integration project, a higher level of understanding and collaboration between these two countries could nurture the seeds of broader harmonious dynamics in the Middle East. Moreover, Iran’s chilly and sometimes confictual relations with Saudi Arabia also badly infuenced Tehran’s ties with most of the other smaller states within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).41 Part of the antagonist propensity between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be certainly interpreted within the larger historical context of the Arab– Iranian rivalry, but some critical contemporary developments also contributed negatively to the existence and continuation of antipathy and resentment involving the two major countries in the Persian Gulf region.42 Basically, the hegemonic physical presence of the West in the Persian Gulf, and the Middle East in general, turned out to be by far the most important determinant of the nature and scope of Iran’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and many other Arab countries in the region. Following the military withdrawal of Britain from the Gulf region in 1971 and its replacement by the United States soon after, the Western-friendly relationship and close alliance with the Saudis, especially since the fall of the Pahlavi monarchy in Iran in 1979, gave Saudi Arabia a lot of courage and confdence with regard to its position and power in the region.43 Additionally, Saudi Arabia was asked politically and assisted technically by the West to produce and supply larger cargoes of crude oil to the world’s thirsty energy markets, making it possible for the Saudis to often demonstrate certain pompous and unilateral behaviors within the crucial Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in which Iran was also an important founding member and an infuential decision-maker.44 In fact, the lionization and empowerment of Saudi Arabia by the West was part of a larger Western policy to put a stop to the rise of a major regional power potentially threatening its dominant position and vested interests in the region.45 The Western stakeholders in the region had already put into practice such a devastating approach with Saddam Hussein during his bloody military campaign of 1980–1988 against Iran.46 Still the ultimate objective of this Western orientation in the Middle East did not change much when the United States later levied a sundry regime of crippling sanctions against the same Baathist political system in Baghdad under the “dual containment” policy according to which both Iraq and Iran had to be kept in the penalty box and be prevented effectively from establishing formulaic and symbiotic connections to the outside world.47 After the cataclysmic Iraq War of 2003 and its tragic

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aftermath, the potential Iraqi danger to the Western interests was eliminated for now, but the Iranians were still needed to be continuously contained and sanctioned under the pretext of their government’s “controversial nuclear program” and “destabilizing behaviors” throughout the Middle East. As an outcome of various ruinously internal infghtings between the Middle Eastern countries and the self-centered Western designs for the region, therefore, the East Asian countries emerged to beneft from a rather chaotic situation largely conducive to their increasingly expanding interests throughout the region. Whether or not the East Asians were willing to sooner or later team up, in every possible way, with the powerful Western countries to keep the Middle East divided and weak, they had certainly run into a lucky environment very propitious to their long-term stakes in the region.48 On top of that, some new international directions among the Middle Eastern countries indicated that they were by and large in favor of a different international system in which the Mideast nations themselves had a better say in their own internal and external affairs. Since the East Asians were supposed to be either parts of or contributors to such a promising international order, they could additionally capitalize on the new Middle Eastern proclivity toward a multipolar world.

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CRAVING FOR AN EMERGING MULTIPOLAR WORLD In the post–World War II era, the greater Middle East region had increasingly become the fghting ring of the world for aggressive superpower rivalry. The other parts of the world were certainly not immune to the global politico-ideological competition between the two opposing blocs led by the United States and the Soviet Union, but the Middle East had turned out to be very exposed and unprotected. By and large, the West had the upper hand in various Middle Eastern affairs, while the Soviet Union’s impact and infuence increased one decade after another largely, thanks to the unceasing Arab–Israeli disputes. In some ways, the Soviet–American ferce rivalry had become the root cause of the conficts roiling the Middle East as no country in the region was actually safe from the repercussions of the universal antagonism between the two superpowers.49 Many nations across the region had thereby become consumed by a whole host of futile and pointless preoccupations, turning away from some constructive and productive activities which were taking place in some other parts of the world, including East Asia. The end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union were, therefore, major developments in international politics. But the early implications of these gigantic events were not that promising for the Middle East. The crux of problem was that the demise of the Soviet Union primarily

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smoothed the way for a larger presence and infuence of the West, the United States in particular, throughout the Middle East. Consigned its menacing archrival to the scrap heap of history, the United States soon became the most dominant foreign power in the Middle East, engaging increasingly in any kind of unilateral behavior in the region with impunity.50 Since no Middle Eastern country or another foreign stakeholder could effectively challenge the power and position of the United States, the American unilateralism swiftly replaced the pressure-cooker politics of the bipolar system across the region. For those Middle Eastern nations which were now a particular target of the U.S. hegemony and bullying behaviors, the new post-Cold War reality could hardly appear as a nostalgic utopian dream.51 Despite their hazy and confusing commencing for some Middle Eastern countries, however, the post-Cold War years also heralded a new era in which the rise of new poles of power and wealth could virtually put the kibosh on the Western supremacy and American unilateralism in the world politics. The U.S. unipolar moment seemed increasingly to be a temporary aberration, while the emergence of new great powers signifed a reassuring return to normalcy in global affairs. Moreover, a post-West order seemed in the offng since multilateralism was expected to function as the modus operandi of a multipolar world, presaging a new age of longer peace, wider cooperation, and faster integration for a larger number of citizens across the globe.52 In fact, the prospects for such a major historical turning point looked increasingly bright and encouraging because a new wave of information revolution and technological innovation was additionally bringing about tremendous developments and changes in the attitudes and behaviors of the global citizenry, one way or the other.53 Meanwhile, the Middle East was among the frst regions that embraced the concept of multipolarity and the emerging shift in the global balance of power. By and large, the region was unhappy about the U.S. practice of unilateralism and hegemonic behaviors, preferring a new world order in which the Middle East countries needed not follow the dictates of the powerful Western stakeholders. Even many close friends and allies of the West in the region wished that a multipolar world order could work as a bulwark against various Western pressures on their contentious human rights and democratization issues.54 Still, other Middle Eastern countries with a more neutral and self-reliant orientation in foreign policy assumed rather frmly that a post-West order in the international system would provide them with a unique opportunity to go after their own formulaic approach of international interactions without being dependent on any foreign power. Consequently, there happened to be little, if any, difference across the politico-ideological spectrum in the Middle East with regard to all potentially positive outcomes of an emerging multipolar world order for the region.

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On top of that, the Middle East turned out to contribute, albeit neutrally and unintentionally, to the realization of a multipolar international system at the cost of the West-based world order. It was arguably the Iraq War of 2003 and its massive negative ramifcations which put the last nail in the coffn of the American global hegemony as that cataclysmic event dealt a devastating blow to the international reputation and domestic economy of the United States. In comparison to the pre-Iraq War period, the Americans simply lost their moral high ground, encountering a new tide of global public opinions against their unilateral disregard for some basic principles of international law and state sovereignty. Ironically, it was also the Middle East which had already been the site where the United States practiced its frst show of unilateralism and hegemonic behavior once the global role and infuence of the communist bloc vanished into thin air. The region had obviously suffered greatly from more than a decade of the U.S.-led world order, and it was now natural for many in the Middle East to understandably welcome a critical shift in the international balance of power.55 For starters, the new global aspirants of power and wealth, led by China and other member states of the BRICS group, could at least moderate the domineering position and infuence of the West within the international pecking order. The vastly increasing wealth and prestige of some other nonWestern nations had a lot of potentials to push the world toward multilateral decision-making and governance.56 The West was still too powerful and infuential to be pushed aside totally and permanently, but “the rise of the rest” meant ineluctably a signifcant reduction in the erstwhile Western authority and ability over some other regions, including the Middle East. Moreover, the U.S.-led West became increasingly obsessed about its new global rivals, allocating part of its politico-military and economic resources to watch, if not control, those emerging competitors. The more the United States prioritized other regions and reallocated its fnite assets toward those perturbing areas, therefore, the less time and resources it had to assign to its varied policies and strategies in the Middle East.57 In the same way, the Middle East itself was of critical importance to almost all the new emerging powers in the world. Few of those rising countries were prepared to play second fddle to the United States in the region, while their increasing presence in and dependence on the region’s critical natural resources had a lot of potentials to one day put them at odd with the Americans. Besides their inevitable reliance on the Middle East to achieve a certain level of successful industrialization and economic development, the new global aspirants could also put into practice part of their desired role in the world politics through engaging proactively in the region.58 The Middle East had previously captured the attention of almost all the great powers of the contemporary history, and the new emerging non-Western powers

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would hardly be any exception to this norm. They were now probably in an advantageous position as many countries across the Middle East region had a predisposition to forge new connections to the new global poles of power and wealth, especially East Asia.59

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SEEKING HARMLESS AND ALL-WEATHER ALLIES During the past several decades, almost all national governments in the Middle East have carved out plans and strategies to cultivate more closer and multifaceted connections to East Asia. Epitomized succinctly by the concept of “looking-East,” the East Asia-oriented approach of the Middle Eastern countries has really become a distinctive characteristic as well as an important yardstick of the region’s modern international relations. The Middle Eastern contenders and adversaries of the West had obviously their own rationale and motive for developing better ties with East Asia. But the Western allies and partners in the region had also their own reasons and objectives to build better relationship with the East Asian countries. Some of the countries among the latter group even enjoyed all the trappings of politico-security and technological quarterbacking provided by the Western powers, yet such crucial advantages and extensive benefts did not stop them from engaging the East Asian countries in varied political, military, economic, technological, and even cultural spheres.60 Iran was perhaps the frst Middle Eastern country which pursued earnestly an all-out policy of looking-East, aiming to expand its bilateral interactions with every country located in the Northeast Asian region. Because of some internal blunders and external impediments, Iran could not certainly score big from its looking-East orientation over years, but the approach continued to be an important discourse in the country’s foreign policy toward the outside world. Essentially, forging larger interactions with the East Asian states became more vital when the country came under tremendous Western pressures, resulting in its political isolation, military embargo, economic sanctions, and technological shortages. Among all other Middle Eastern nations, only Iraq under the fnal thirteen-year rule of Saddam Hussein had experienced such a crushingly woeful situation that Iran has gone through for several decades. That is why the East Asian countries emerged among the most critical foreign partners of Iran in order to at least replenish part of its growing economic and technological requirements denied by the West.61 In addition to Iran, nearly all member states of the GCC made serious attempts to increase their interactions with East Asia. As the de facto leader of the Arab group, Saudi Arab emerged as a striking example in the region when it strived to develop, albeit belatedly, larger connections to the East

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Asian countries. Despite their close security and economic relationship with the West over the past several decades, the Saudis like many among their GCC counterparts attempted to diversify their international commitments by engaging East Asia in some new political, security, and economic areas. When it became clear, especially during the Obama presidency, that the United States may not remain permanently committed to the survival and security of the House of Saud, the Arab kingdom had to fnd some contingency plans partly through enhancing its bilateral ties with the merging powers of the East. The East Asian countries could certainly play a critical role in the materialization of some new initiatives formulated by the Saudis to reduce their overdependency on the Western security umbrella and bring down their immense reliance on the vital incomes coming from exporting crude oil.62 Moreover, the post-Saddam’s Iraq was another country in the Middle East that embarked upon a looking-East approach, intending to accomplish part of the nation-building objectives which the Western countries had initially promised to fulfll. Although political and security matters were not totally irrelevant to the new Iraqi approach toward the East, however, the successive governments in Baghdad wanted to beneft from the resourceful countries of East Asia mostly in economic and technological felds.63 That was no coincidence why the dilapidated oil industry of Iraq soon received the largest foreign investment disbursed by the Chinese who turned out to also carry out a signifcant number of the country’s reconstruction projects in various other non-energy sectors.64 Once Iraq restored its OPEC position in oil exports, the growing volume of petrodollars enabled it to extend the scope and size of its connections to other rich and industrialized states of East Asia (i.e., Japan and South Korea) which were willing to participate actively in many Iraqi reconstruction and development schemes. Meanwhile, the looking-East orientation of Turkey was far more consequential than the Iraqi approach. Turkey had long been a favorable Mideast ally of the West symbolized by its offcial membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) extended for over a course of roughly seven decades. Since the early twenty-frst century, however, the triumph and ascendancy of Islamists in Turkey led by the Erdogan-dominated Justice and Development Party (AKP) brought new dynamics to the Middle Eastern country’s contemporary relationship with the outside world. Of course, Turkey did not scotch its traditional good ties with the West, but it reappraised its conventional view toward the Western countries by tilting toward warmer relations with many other nations, including the East Asian countries. More importantly, the Turks under Erdogan managed to breathe new life into their often colorful and controversial ties with the Chinese in spite of having considerable disagreements with China over various politico-strategic and ideological issues.65

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In comparison to Turkey, however, Israel upped the ante by becoming involved in some highly critical aspects of security and military cooperation with China. Since its inception in 1948, the Western support ran the gamut, providing the Jewish state with any type of timely assistance it required to survive and prosper in the Middle East region.66 The Israelis neither disregarded the signifcance of the Western backing, nor were they really prepared to distance themselves from the West. The Israeli looking-East simply aimed to make the most from its expanding interactions with the East Asian countries without sacrifcing the Jewish state’s enduring and strong relationship with the West, the United States in particular.67 Still, the economic and fnancial rewards from fostering closer relationship with the East appeared to be so promising that Israel was tempted to sometimes engage the Asian nations in a number of sensitive military and security contracts which the Western countries regarded as incompatible with their own fundamental national interests. The policy of developing higher levels of connections to East Asia was, nonetheless, pursued by those Middle Eastern countries which are located in North Africa. In particular, Egypt rekindled its decades-long relationship toward the East by making an effort to extend its ties to all other East Asian countries. The Arab country used to have a lot of interactions with China and North Korea in the region, but the new looking-East orientation in Cairo aimed to also cultivate better relationship with Japan and South Korea. Moreover, Egypt’s traditional relationship with East Asia was largely about political and military cooperation, while its new attention toward the region focused primarily on economic and technological matters favorable to both sides.68 Like most other countries in the Middle East, however, various internal and external limitations hamstrung the recent looking-East in Egypt to harness its full potentials, making it much easier for the East Asian countries to take advantage of various circumstances conducive to their increasingly expanding interests throughout the region. ASSURED ADVANTAGE: FISHING IN MUDDIED WATERS The modern trajectory of the Middle East turned out to be a chapter of mostly unpleasant accidents and piteous experiments. The domineering Western powers largely looked out for number one, while the corrupt and oppressive political systems throughout the region gave priority to their own survival and egotistic material interests at the cost of wielding effective leadership and future-oriented management of state affairs. Fault lines abounded in almost every politico-economic and cultural domain, and the average citizenry remained unsophisticated and rudderless without having a specifc mandate

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and a clear direction in life. The region’s cornucopia of natural resources and human talents was either plundered or grossly mishandled.69 As a corollary of all those misfortunes and setbacks, the Middle East continued to be a turbulent and volatile environment from which it was often easier for some foreign stakeholders such as the newcomer East Asians to cash in. Such a giant reservoir of muddied waters was not really a hindrance; it had actually grown in strategic value, giving sanctuary to any Eastern trawler arrived for catching fsh and collecting precious pearls. In fact, there is an idiom in the Chinese language for such a state of affairs: Hun shui mo yu (stir up the water to catch the fsh). In political lexicon as well as in political practice, it implies that when someone’s opponents are in a fendish and chaotic situation, their lack of ability to resist provides a better ground to take advantage of.70 That is no surprising why the Chairman Mao had once said “The world is in chaos, the situation is excellent.” Moreover, for some three decades (from late 1950s until late 1980s), such an ideological precept shaped a great deal of China’s Middle East policy and its staunch rivalry with the United States and the Soviet Union in the region.71 The Chinese wanted to increase their own freedom of maneuver in the Middle East by making troubles, albeit cautiously and quietly, for the countries and the political parties which were aligned with one of the two dominant superpowers.72 Part of the Chinese strategy included offering military and fnancial assistance to various guerrilla forces and other leftist troublemakers across the region. In the aftermath of the Cold War and particularly from the time China started to become a net importer of energy resources, however, the Chinese favored the status quo in the Middle East and followed, by and large, a pragmatist approach toward the region. Compared to the Cold War era, the Middle East had become far more unstable and unpredictable, but the situation seemed to be amenable to China’s overall interests in the region. As time went by, moreover, the Chinese sedimented interests throughout the Middle East unexpectedly expanded by leaps and bounds, making the East Asian rising power more susceptible in the region. The Chinese could now easily get hurt anywhere in the Middle East, while they were hardly in a good position to comfortably guard a long sea line of communications extended over more than 7,000 miles in order to vouchsafe their increasingly growing stakes in the region. China, therefore, realized that a West-dominated messy Middle East favorable to its interests was far better as the topsy-turvy situation of the region could make it easier for the East Asian power to gain in the long run.73 Japan was another East Asian country which hardly found the overall situation in the Middle East inhospitable to its predestined presence in the region. Unlike its East Asian archrival, China, which was regarded frst as an enemy and then as an adversary of the Western bloc of liberal capitalism, however, from the early 1950s onward Japan reentered the Middle East as a close friend and ally of the United States which ended up to rule the roost

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in the region after Britain withdrew in the early 1970s. Without engaging in politico-ideological entanglements, part of which spawned or escalated by their Western partners, the Japanese concentrated principally and overwhelmingly on their economic and fnancial activities in the Middle East.74 Even when they had to inevitably get involved, often moderately, in a critical political or security matter, they still kept walking on eggshells by trying to appear nice and neutral to all the parties involved. For Japan, always the safest and surest bet was to ignore intentionally the real culprits and instigators by giving prominence to the acuteness and consequential nature of another affiction and chaos unfolding in the region.75 Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea (ROK) entered the Middle East later than its East Asian neighbors, but it ended up sharing a lot in common with Japan than China in the region. Similar to Japan and as an ally of the United States, South Korea got involved in the Middle East to materialize part of its industrialization and development programs by taking advantage of the region’s cheap energy and the huge petrodollars it could recycle partly through implementing a slew of proftable construction projects there. But the ROK went into the region as a divided nation and a third world country which then resembled more to many Middle Eastern countries than to its Japanese and American teammates. Such a commonality made many South Korean offcials to initially engage their counterparts in the region with evidently self-effacing and great sympathy. By the time South Korea became affuent and sophisticated, however, its formulaic approach and behavior in the region underwent considerable changes as the ROK tilted increasingly toward taking a leaf out of Japan’s Mideast book.76 At the same time, the Republic of China (Taiwan) came out as another East Asian stakeholder in the Middle East. From the beginning, Taiwan had a very delicate international situation, making its Mideast connections highly sensitive and in constant jeopardy. By the early 1990s, the Taiwanese lost their last offcial political relationship with the Middle East once Saudi Arabia switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing. In the absence of having any formal ties to the region, it now seemed that Taiwan would encounter monumental troubles in securing its vital economic interests in the Middle East. But the Taiwanese resilient and reappraised orientation toward the region as well as the Middle East’s disorderly circumstances adumbrated earlier made it quite possible for Taiwan to survive and succeed there. The fact that a small and unrecognized player as susceptible and vulnerable as Taiwan could make a name for itself in the Middle East was yet another proof that the unremitting misery of many people in the region could actually supply the happiness of others, one way or the other.77 A last but not least important contender from East Asia in the Middle East happened to be North Korea. In the early decades of its interactions with a number of Middle Eastern countries, the Democratic People’s Republic of

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Korea (DPRK) was very close to the communist China in terms of its politicoideological attitudes and practical measures toward the region. Later, North Korea still shared with China some political views with regard to the greater Middle East region and its developments, but the DPRK differed markedly with the rest of its East Asian counterparts in many other Mideast-related matters. For North Korea, however, chaos and instability in the Middle East proved to be often politically favorable and materially remunerative. Since the DPRK’s deep involvement in the Middle East constrained largely to the realms of politics and arms, any critical political development or military confict in the region could potentially grab the attention of North Korea and serve its interests.78 Under such circumstances, the DPRK leaders were predisposed to empathize with their counterparts in this or other friendly Middle Eastern nation, while at the same time their heart was probably flled with exultation and joy from the potential gains they could make in the region.79

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NOTES 1. Allen Webb, Teaching the Literature of Today’s Middle East (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012), p. 2; and Peter Beaumont, Gerald H. Blake, and J. Malcolm Wagstaff, The Middle East: A Geographical Study, 2nd Edition (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016), pp. 1–3. 2. Azad, Koreans in the Persian Gulf, p. 18. 3. For his enduring legacy in the region, some have dubbed the British Mark Sykes “The Man Who Fucked Up the Middle East.” For more details, see Christopher Simon Sykes, The Man Who Created the Middle East: A Story of Empire, Confict and the Sykes-Picot Agreement (London: William Collins, 2016). 4. As a case in point, when the Iraqi Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, one of his main motivations was to “redress past colonial injustices” inficted by the West. Congressional Quarterly, Inc., The Middle East, 10th Edition (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2005), p. 147. 5. Roger Adelson, London and the Invention of the Middle East: Money, Power, and War, 1902–1922 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995); and David Aikman, The Mirage of Peace: Understand the Never-Ending Confict in the Middle East (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009). 6. Ewan W. Anderson, The Middle East: Geography and Geopolitics (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), p. 267; Christoph Schumann, ed., Liberal Thought in the Eastern Mediterranean: Late 19th Century until the 1960s (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008); and Anthony Sattin, Young Lawrence: A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man (London: John Murray Publishers, 2014). 7. Benjamin Miller, 2004, “The International System and Regional Balance in the Middle East,” in T. V. Paul, James J. Wirtz, and Michel Fortmann, eds., Balance of

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Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), pp. 239–266. 8. Lorenzo Kamel, The Middle East from Empire to Sealed Identities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019). 9. Toby Dodge and Richard A. Higgott, eds., Globalization and the Middle East: Islam, Economy, Society and Politics (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2002). 10. Sean L. Yom, From Resilience to Revolution: How Foreign Interventions Destabilize the Middle East (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016). 11. Martin Sieff, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2008), p. 94. 12. During the 1950s, for instance, the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) paid some $10 million to keep in power Japan’s anti-Communist and conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which survived to rule the East Asian country for many decades to come. For more details, see Axel Berkofsky, A Pacifst Constitution for an Armed Empire: Past and Present of the Japanese Security and Defence Policies (Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2012), p. 136. 13. Peter Mangold, What the British Did: Two Centuries in the Middle East (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2016). A “siege mentality” it may sound, however, that is not easy to simply whitewash substantial parts of the inconvenient facts and unvarnished truths about the Middle East by spurning them as plot and paranoia. For instance, see Daniel Pipes, The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998). 14. D. K. Fieldhouse, Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914–1958 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 304; and Peter Sluglett, Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country, 1914–1932 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007). 15. Leon C. Brown, International Politics and the Middle East: Old Rules, Dangerous Game (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 3; and Mark Sedgwick, “Britain and the Middle East: In Pursuit of Eternal Interest,” in Jack Covarrubias and Tom Lansford, eds., Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition and Support for US Foreign Policy (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 3–25. 16. Said K. Aburish, A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997). As the author of Devil’s Game argues, “More quietly Washington and London supported the Islamic right against the left in country after country and encouraged the emergence of an ‘Islamic bloc.’” Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005), p. 10. Also see: Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2010). 17. Stephen Glain, Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants: The Economic Collapse of the Arab World (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2005). 18. James Barr, A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle That Shaped the Middle East (London: Simon & Schuster, 2011); and James Barr, Lords of the Desert: Britain’s Struggle with America to Dominate the Middle East (London: Simon & Schuster, 2018).

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19. Barry Rubin, “The Persian Gulf amid Global and Regional Crises,” in Barry Rubin, ed., Crises in the Contemporary Persian Gulf (London and New York: Frank Cass Publishers, 2002), pp. 5–20. 20. Barry M. Lando, Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush (New York: Other Press, 2007). 21. Stephen Zunes, Tinderbox: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2002); John W. Sanders, Shannon D. Putnam, Mark S. Riddle, and David R. Tribble, “Military Importance of Diarrhea: Lessons from the Middle East,” Current Opinions on Gastroenterology 21, no. 1 (January 2005): 9–14; and Andrei S. Markovits, Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 172. 22. Donald Holbrook, The Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership’s Public Discourse (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2014), pp. 61–63; and John J. Mearsheimer, Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018). 23. Many people around the world were absolutely shell-shocked when on January 3, 2016, Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate, said publicly that the American president, Barack Obama, and his secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, had actually created the Islamic State (IS or ISIS). Some individuals with sharp-elbowed intelligence immediately made a perfect analogy: the Democrat Obama was the true founder of ISIS in the same way the former Republican president Ronald Reagan was the bona fde founder of al-Qaeda because the massive arms which Reagan gave to the Afghan Mujahedeen after the Soviet invasion (December 1979 to February 1989) eventually led to the creation of al-Qaeda. 24. Quite to the contrary and no matter how hypocritical, some East Asians were actually a harsh critic of the Western colonization and domination over the Middle East in those days. For instance, in February 1943, the then foreign minister of Imperial Japan, Masayuki Tani, stated rather bitterly in the Japanese parliament, Diet, that “Japan considers it a matter of disgrace and great regret to the modern civilization that, the Muslims in spite of their past glorious culture, have been deprived of freedom by the Anglo–Americans and have been suffering from their oppression.” Kunio Katakura and Motoko Katakura, Japan and the Middle East (Tokyo: The Middle East Institute of Japan, 1991), pp. 28–29. 25. Curtis F. Jones, Divide and Perish: The Geopolitics of the Middle East, 2nd Edition (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2011), p. 277. 26. Ryohei Murata, “Keynote Address,” in Edward J. Lincoln, ed., Japan and the Middle East (Washington, D.C.: Middle East Institute, 1990), pp. 4–8. 27. Shirzad Azad, Looking East: A Changing Middle East Realigns with a Rising Asia (New York: Algora Publishing, 2020), pp. 11, 18, 75. 28. Ussama Makdisi, “‘Anti-Americanism’ in the Arab World: An Interpretation of a Brief History,” The Journal of American History 89, no. 2 (2002): 538–558. 29. Jack Covarrubias and Tom Lansford, eds., Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition and Support for US Foreign Policy (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007). 30. Shixin Zhang, Chinese War Correspondents: Covering Wars and Conficts in the Twenty-First Century (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), p. 70.

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31. Michael J. Green, Japan’s Reluctant Realism: Foreign Policy Challenges in an Era of Uncertain Power (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2001); and James M. Dorsey, China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom (New York: Springer, 2018), p. 195. 32. Kenneth Pollack, A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East (New York: Random House, 2008), pp. 427–428. 33. Edward A. Olsen, U.S.–Japan Strategic Reciprocity: A Neo-Internationalist View (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1985), pp. 10–11; and Robert Hoppens, The China Problem in Postwar Japan: Japanese National Identity and Sino–Japanese Relations (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), p. 30. 34. Sueo Sudo, Southeast Asia in Japanese Security Policy (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1991), p. 32. 35. Alan R. Taylor, The Superpowers and the Middle East (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1991), p. 180. 36. Wolfgang Zank, “The Trajectory of Arab Non-integration: Historical Reconstruction and Theoretical Explanation,” in Soren Dosenrode, ed., Limits to Regional Integration (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 33–55. 37. Fred Halliday, The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 38. Simon Mabon, Saudi Arabia and Iran: Power and Rivalry in the Middle East (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2013). 39. Jonathan Schneer, The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab–Israeli Confict (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2010); and David Cronin, Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel (London: Pluto Press, 2017). 40. David Sorenson, ed., Interpreting the Middle East: Essential Themes (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2010). 41. Aikman, The Mirage of Peace. 42. Christopher C. Joyner, “Introduction: The Geography and Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf,” in Christopher C. Joyner, ed., The Persian Gulf War: Lessons for Strategy, Law, and Diplomacy (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990), pp. 1–17. 43. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr. Energy Issues and Alliance Relationships: The United States, Western Europe and Japan (Cambridge, MA and Washington, D.C.: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, INC., 1980), p. vii. 44. Mabon, Saudi Arabia and Iran, pp. 4–5. 45. Of course, the Soviet Union was not in favor of a strong and united Middle East either. In the post-Cold War era, the Russians also preferred an attenuated and rudderless Middle East regardless of their apparently cozy and agreeable partnership with a number of Mideast nations. Stephen J. Blank, Stephen C. Pelletiere, and William T. Johnsen, Turkey’s Strategic Position at the Crossroads of World Affairs (Honolulu, HA: University Press of the Pacifc, 2002), p. 74. 46. Kenneth Pollack, The Persian Puzzle: The Confict between Iran and America (New York: Random House, 2004), pp. 261–265. 47. Geoffrey Kemp, “The United States, Europe, and the Persian Gulf,” in Robert D. Blackwill and Michael Sturmer, eds., Allies Divided: Transatlantic

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Policies for the Greater Middle East (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1997), pp. 101–122. 48. During the Cold War period, the Soviet Union, despite its ferce rivalry with the West, had sometimes displayed a propensity to collaborate with the United States in spite of the Maoist China’s displeasure with such a Russian move. As a case in point, the Chinese branded the “Rogers Initiative” of the late June 1970 as “a new Munich” in which Washington and Moscow aimed to divide the Middle East into two spheres of infuence between the two superpowers. In the Chinese view, the plan, which had been proposed by the then U.S. Secretary of States, William Rogers, to bring an effective cease-fre for the ongoing armed clashes between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), was to “force the resistance to abandon its cause of national liberation.” For more details, see Paul T. Chamberlin, The Global Offensive: The United States, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Making of the Post-Cold War Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 108–110. 49. James Macdonald, When Globalization Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), p. 207. 50. Ewan Harrison, The Post-Cold War International System: Strategies, Institutions, and Refexivity (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2004). 51. Martin Sieff, Shifting Superpowers: The New and Emerging Relationships between the United States, China and India (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2009); and Chris J. Dolan, Obama and the Emergence of a Multipolar World Order: Redefning U.S. Foreign Policy (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018), pp. 148, 174. 52. Hubert Vedrine, translated by Philip H. Gordon, History Strikes Back: How States, Nations, and Conficts Are Shaping the 21st Century (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2008), pp. 50–51; and Charles A. Kupchan, No One’s World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn (Oxford and News York: Oxford University Press, 2012). 53. Giles Gunn, Ideas to Die For: The Cosmopolitan Challenge (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2013), p. 135; and Ray Silvius, Culture, Political Economy and Civilisation in a Multipolar World Order: The Case of Russia (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017), p. 176. 54. Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2008), pp. 71–73. 55. Jeffrey D. Sachs, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018). 56. John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell, The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2009), pp. 8–9; and Oliver Stuenkel, The BRICS and the Future of Global Order (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015). 57. Oliver Stuenkel, Post-Western World: How Emerging Powers Are Remaking Global Order (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2016). 58. David Shambaugh and Dawn Murphy, “U.S.–China Interactions in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Latin America,” in David Shambaugh, ed., Tangled Titans: The United States and China (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefeld, 2013), pp. 315–346.

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59. Denny Roy, Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), p. 174. 60. Bruce Jones, Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension between Rivalry and Restraint (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2014), p. 27. 61. Simon W. Murden, Islam, the Middle East, and the New Global Hegemony (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishing, 2002), pp. 208–209. 62. Paul Aarts, “Saudi Arabia Walks the Tightrope,” The International Spectator 42, no. 4 (2007): 545–550. 63. Interestingly, after Saddam and his Ba’ath Party were toppled from power by the United States, the new Iraqi leaders moved to gradually restore Baghdad’s erstwhile relationships with almost all Asian countries, including North Korea. 64. Philippe Le Billon, “Corruption, Reconstruction and Oil Governance in Iraq,” Third World Quarterly 26, no. 4–5 (2005): 685–703. 65. Philip Robins, Suits and Uniforms: Turkish Foreign Policy since the Cold War (London: C. Hurst & Co., 2003), p. 208; and Bill Park, Modern Turkey: People, State and Foreign Policy in a Globalized World (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012), p. 110. 66. Nicolas Blarel, “Assessing US Infuence over India–Israel Relations: A Diffcult Equation to Balance?” Strategic Analysis 41, no. 4 (2017): 384–400. 67. Jacob Abadi, Israel’s Quest for Recognition and Acceptance in Asia: Garrison State Diplomacy (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2004), p. 97; and Arturo Marzano, “The Loneliness of Israel. The Jewish State’s Status in International Relations,” The International Spectator 48, no. 2 (2013): 96–113. 68. Steven A. Cook, The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 67. 69. Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil (London and New York: Verso, 2011). 70. Paul Midler, Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the China Production Game (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011), p. 189. 71. Christopher Layne, The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), p. 46. 72. Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell, China’s Search for Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), p. 14. 73. Pollack, A Path Out of the Desert, p. 427. 74. William R. Nester, Japan and the Third World: Patterns, Power, Prospects (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), pp. 231–233. 75. Nester, Japan and the Third World, p. 225. 76. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, p. 90. 77. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, pp. 117–140. 78. Jacquelyn K. Davis and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr., Anticipating a Nuclear Iran: Challenges for U.S. Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), pp. 66–68, 96. 79. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, pp. 93–116.

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Chapter 3

Without Being Down in the Trenches Military Footstep

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THE WEST’S INCESSANT WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST As a region with great geopolitical signifcance, the Middle East has long been in the crosshairs of empires and great powers for millenniums. Besides geography, access to the region’s enormous wealth and pecuniary potentials made the Middle East a fulcrum in great powers’ rivalries throughout history. With the discovery of oil in the region and the concomitant dependency of various economic and commercial activities on fossil fuels, however, the strategic importance of the Middle East increased by leaps and bounds.1 A permanent domination over and an easy access to the region’s gigantic reservoir of energy resources now became a great obsession of those powerful Western countries which regarded the Middle East as a major bridgehead to further their global control and supremacy.2 Whether for projecting farther power and infuence or using the region to just control and contain both the current and prospective enemies and adversaries, therefore, an effective mastery over the Middle East in the long run was not going to take place simply through uttering magic words or employing fyswatters; shooting wars had to be fought, blood needed to be shed, far-reaching plots were to be planned, cold-blooded coups had to be staged, covert operations were to be carried out, cyber warfare was to be programmed, crippling sanctions were to be imposed, and so on.3 The French design in the Levant following the outbreak of World War I, the German ambitious project of the Berlin–Baghdad railway (1903–1940) to eventually create a strategic commercial artery linking the Persian Gulf, and various British schemes and intrigues prior to its naval withdrawal from the region in 1971 were all some of the moves and initiatives to prolong the Western infuence and ascendancy over the modern Middle East before such 39

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a critical mandate was given to the United States.4 In the aftermath of World War II, the Americans thereby acknowledged promptly the vital importance of the Middle East and its crucial weight in their broader strategic plans to wield power over Western Europe and East Asia. Precisely, it was the Eisenhower doctrine of January 5, 1957, which marked the rise of the United States as the biggest stakeholder among all the foreign powers interested in the Middle East. From now on, all other Western countries with some critical interests in the region had to virtually coordinate their Mideast policies, whether peaceful or otherwise, with Washington.5 Moreover, from the 1950s onward, the West engaged in some kind of political coup or military confict in the Middle East at least once every decade. After the MI6 and CIA-orchestrated coup in Iran in 1953, Britain and France joined Israel to fght Egypt in the second Arab–Israeli War, also known as the Suez War, in 1956. It has been alleged that the United States and Britain again supported Israel in its third major armed struggle against the Arabs widely known as the Six-Day War in 1967. When in the subsequent Yom Kippur War of 1973 the West continued to support Israel, the Arab took revenge for the move by resorting to the energy weapon at their disposal, triggering the frst oil shock (October 1973–March 1974). It was during this oil crisis when the United States carved out, albeit secretly, a plan to occupy the oil felds of Saudi Arabia in order to send a strong message to other crude-exporting countries in the region not to think about repeating a similar scenario in the future. A strong potential for a subsequent intervention by the Soviet Union was probably a major factor which dissuaded the Americans to execute their petroleum plot against the Saudis then.6 A more pronounced and longer military engagement of the West in the Middle East occurred during the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988. Whether or not the West had encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Iran in the frst place, many resourceful and powerful Western nations provided the Saddam regime with a lot of political quarterbacking and military support during that internecine confict involving the two major Middle Eastern countries.7 The war was very costly in terms of the enormous human harms and material ruins which it inficted immediately upon the two neighboring states. In the longer term, moreover, the eight-year bloodshed and destruction attenuated both of them systematically, providing a golden opportunity for many smaller and fragile allies of the West in the region to prosper and make headway largely at the cost of Iran and Iraq. In addition to enervating structurally the potential perils of the new Iranian political system which had risen to power in 1979, the brutal confict also made it possible for the West to beef up its long-lasting presence and infuence in the Middle East by redefning and strengthening its alliance politics throughout the region.8

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In comparison to the Iran–Iraq War, however, the Gulf crisis of 1990–1991 played a bigger role in completing the direct presence and wider leverage of the U.S.-led West in the Middle East. It was the frst time that the United States demonstrated publicly its full-fedged domination over the region by performing a crushing and conquering operation against Saddam who had now been turned into a heinous enemy of the West. By its decisive and forceful move against Iraq, the United States also made it clear that how far the Americans were willing to go in order to vouchsafe their vital stakes in the region.9 Like a number of other major developments befallen the modern Middle East, theories abound about why and how the United States actually misled the Saddam regime to invade Kuwait so that the Americans could use it as a pretext to take charge directly in the region. True that the United States had now larger stakes which entailed its more direct and extensive involvement in the Middle East, but a major problem was that the Americans were at the same time deluded and dragged into more prolonged, expensive, and consequential conficts in the region out of which came the Iraq War of 2003.10 In fact, the Iraq War was the pinnacle of the Western offensive engagement and the American military interference in contemporary history of the Middle East. Of course, the Western world was not fully united this time as compared to the Gulf war of 1990–1991, but a lack of consensus and unifed act among the powerful countries in the West did not save the Middle East from the onslaught of the war and its tragic ramifcations, though the confict brought about some negative consequences for many Western societies as well.11 More importantly, the Iraq War revealed a great deal about the true nature of certain Western policies toward the region as the United States and its close partners in the West subsequently walked away from many highsounding promises and commitments they had made in the run-up to their military invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.12 Additionally, the United States as the culprit behind the war had to at long last pay a hefty price part of which came in the form of its tarnished reputation in the region and diminished hegemonic power in the world.13 Still, the Iraq War and its calamitous repercussions did not put the kibosh on the Western presence or the interventionist policies of the United States in the Middle East. The Iraq War started as part of the so-called war on terror which itself had emerged as the main plank of the American foreign policy following the 9/11 incident. When the Iraq War came to a conclusion and the ensuing insurgency waned in scope and signifcance, therefore, the American war on terror found a new ground to keep going; the dubious rise of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS).14 The new monstrous creature which swiftly spread its insidious tentacles into both Iraq and the war-torn Syria virtually warranted the American military footing and its alliance politics in the Middle East. To put it in a nutshell, some observers believed rather frmly that without the Iraq

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War there was no reason for the emergence of the IS in the frst place, while many others contended that the very war on terror was launched essentially in the form of a false-fag operation using the American military power as a battering ram to redraw fundamentally the political map of the Middle East.15

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GENERALS VERSUS CEOS: THE WESTERN DUAL APPROACH An inconvenient, and yet hardly discussed, reality about the Western, and particularly American, presence in the Middle East is that wars turned out to personify the very essence of the doctrine of thought toward the region. True that the United States has stationed a large number of military forces in some other parts of the world, and, for instance, the total number of its military forces in the Middle East is roughly one-third of all the forces the Americans have put on duty in Asia. But a major problem is that over the past several decades the West has taken to the Middle East a certain system of thought and practice which is mostly, if not say only, associated with defense, security, military, war, confict, bomb, destruction, death, and so on ad infnitum.16 These special set of phrases or their nuances usually do not evoke an identical impression about the Americans in many other places in the world. By making a comparison between the Middle East and East Asia where the United States has also been a key foreign stakeholder for many decades, therefore, it becomes clear that the Americans actually pursued a contrastingly dual approach toward the two regions from the early decades of the Cold War onward. In the Middle East, the United States concentrated largely on security and defense issues, turning the region into a rendezvous for many of its top army generals and high-ranking military offcers. A good number of those ranking offcers with a working background in the Middle East frequently climbed the American military and bureaucratic apparatuses, wielding enormous infuence over the U.S. policies and strategies toward the region. Moreover, the U.S. media and public forums often gave a lot of attention and publicity to these group of military men and their views about various developments in the Middle East. In the same way, the American media and press generally put a spotlight on any news and report with regard to the dispatch of another aircraft carrier and its accompanying battleships to the Persian Gulf, and thereby magnifying the already nerve-racking impression about the Middle East.17 By and large, a similar approach to the region and its major developments were imitated by the press and media outlets of many other Western countries which used to often echo the approach and style of their counterparts in the United States.18

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The Western orientation not only shaped the international image of the Middle East as a security risk and sometimes as a war zone on-steroids, it also had far-reaching implications for many Middle Eastern countries and the way their societies had to be organized. With hand-wringing over national safety and susceptibility, securitization virtually became a top agenda of almost all Middle Eastern governments, extending to every aspect of political, economic, and cultural matters. Security offcials and military organs often played highly critical roles in the state affairs, while such military authorities and their affliated institutions were usually given priority in the annual budget allocation and government expenditures. After all, the Middle Eastern states typically assigned a signifcant portion of their national budget to security and the procurement of various military equipment a great deal of which often supplied by major arms manufacturers in Europe and the United States. Since defense and the procurement of arms in the Middle Eastern countries were normally on the front burner, various other economic and remunerative activities were to be put ineluctably on back burner, one way or the other.19 In sharp contrast to the Middle East, however, East Asia emerged as an economic priority and a manufacturing base for the West especially in the aftermath of the World War II. Top ranking military offcials as well as larger aircraft carriers from the United States and some other Western countries were occasionally dispatched to the East Asian states as well, but the CEOs and the commercial fights taking high-level economic and fnancial delegates to the region were principally thrust into the spotlight of fame and public attention. In fact, East Asia was generally publicized by many infuential and opinion-making media and press in the West as a hive of teeming tourists, exchange students, visiting scholars, and a perfect choice of the expatriate workers and professionals from the United States and other Western countries. Even the general picture broadcasted about an average American soldier stationed in an East Asian country indicated that, instead of getting stuck in interminable wars and perilous missions, he was naturally enjoying his military life there by patronizing bars, night clubs, and the bordellos located on fancy beaches and exotic spots.20 The Western soft and rewarding approach had, therefore, a lot of benefts and advantages for the East Asian countries nationally, regionally, and internationally. National security and defense obviously received signifcant attention by the state in East Asia, but the countries in the region were encouraged, and in some cases compelled, to give priority to industrialization and economic development. The state itself became an architect of modernization, playing a very decisive role in carving out a whole raft of policies and strategies to achieve certain growth and developmental objectives. The society was mobilized by the state to engage in productive economic and technological activities, while the national governments themselves became the agent of sale and international

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marketing for their substantially bankrolled and subsidized companies and business groups.21 Of course, the East Asian states also became involved in various types of arms deals and defense cooperation with the West, but economic and civilian technological relations were the main preoccupations and constructed a lion’s share of the interactions which came into being between the East Asian countries and their Western partners over the past several decades.22 On top of that, Western fnance and technology were instrumental in the implementation and success of East Asia’s drive toward industrialization and economic growth. Besides opening up their huge markets to the East Asian brands and manufactured products, the successive governments in the West pushed their entrepreneurs and investors to throw their material and human resources into the East.23 The Western businesses and their performance were thereby a major factor behind an increasingly developmental divide between East Asia and the other non-Western parts of the world, including the greater Middle East region. Apart from integrating East Asia into the global system of production and distribution, moreover, the Western companies injected a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit and new management styles into the working environments of their host economies in East Asia. By exposing their East Asian partners to more dynamic and demanding competitive practices, the Western companies thereby contributed signifcantly to the modern norms and customs of work and business in East Asia.24 The rich and powerful Western countries, the United States in particular, therefore, sent their opulent corporations and accomplished CEOs to East Asia, while the Middle East region received primarily and persistently the American granite-faced generals and gung-ho warmongers. The Western leaders and offcials frequently traveled to the East Asian countries to talk about business and economic agreements, but they used to often visit a number of hand-picked destinations in the Middle East predominantly for engaging in some type of power politics or signing another lucrative arms deals. Since East Asia was to be promoted as a zone of peace and prosperity, the Middle Eastern shatterbelt had to be relegated inevitably to a region of war and confict.25 The West’s interminable wars and its dual practices were certainly a crucial factor in East Asia’s strategic mileage in many defense and military matters of the Middle East, but there was still another element which could be really conducive to their interests in this area in the region: constant interstate fghting and hostilities. INTERSTATE CONFLICTS AND CIVIL WARS Until its contemporary adjustment to a relatively stable pattern of sovereign nation-states, the Middle East used to be a fertile ground for the rise and fall

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of empires as well as the formation and fragmentation of smaller kingdoms and tribal entities. And aside from fnding itself perpetually in the crosshairs of foreign powers, the region turned out to be a major site of incessantly internal strife and confrontation throughout its turbulent history. In modern times, therefore, the existence of some critically politico-social and economic grievances pitted many formal players and stateless minorities in the Middle East starkly against each other, opening up new fault lines for a region which was already in the throes of various interventionist policies put forward by a number of powerful Western countries.26 In particular, the continuation of interstate disputes and ferocious clashes among several major powers in the region were an additional drain on the Middle East’s strength and resources by adding more fault lines to other important sources of regional division and disunity. Among the major interstate hostilities of the contemporary Middle East, the Arab–Israeli confict became the longest and most consequential confrontation, causing at least several bloody wars and decades of guerrilla warfare. From its inception in 1948, Israel had to fght constantly for its very survival as almost all the surrounding Arab states refused point-blank to accept the political legitimacy of a Jewish state in the region. Although a number of Arab countries were later accepted to enter into some type of a peace accord with the Israelis, however, many Arab states still refused vehemently to come into terms inexorably with the reality of a Jewish country in the Middle East.27 As the other non-Arab countries in the Middle East, Turkey and particularly Iran, were dragged into the Arab–Israeli disputes, the prospects for a region-wide solution to the crisis became so bleak over time that even many years of mediating efforts by the infuential foreign powers could hardly chip away at the key impediments that thwarted any mutual understanding and cooperation between all key stakeholders in the region.28 In comparison to the Arab–Israeli frictions, however, the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988 was far more devastating, at least in short term. More than half a million people lost their lives, and a bigger number of humans from both sides were critically maimed and injured throughout the confict. The fnancial losses and property damages were equally catastrophic, wreaking havoc on the Iranian and Iraqi economies for many years to come. Moreover, this internecine confict in the Middle East had a lot of deleterious repercussions for many other Arab countries in the region as they contributed reams of military, fnancial, and even human, resources to the Iraqi side to fght the Iranian underdogs. After all, it is still imperceptible to believe that Iran and Iraq had been really destined to keep blowing up each other in one of the most strategic regions in the world over a course of eight years. No matter how counterintuitive it appeared at frst, the “US policy to prevent either side from winning,” as confessed by Alexander Haig, the American Secretary of

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State from 1981 to 1982, certainly played a major role in the prolongation and ruinous ramifcations of the Iran–Iraq War.29 Some two years after the conclusion of its fght with Iran, however, Iraq engaged in another bloody confict in the region when Saddam invaded the neighboring Kuwait on August 2, 1990, calling it “the 19th province of Iraq.” Besides harboring certain historical grudges against the tiny Arab sheikhdom, the Saddam regime accused Kuwait of violating the production limits of crude oil set by the OPEC member states. Iraq was desperate for the oil incomes, and regarded the Kuwaiti behavior detrimental to its national interests and economic security. More importantly, the Iraqi move which immediately became a major international crisis increased more divisions among the Arab states in the region as some of them showed little doubt in throwing their full fnancial and logistical support behind the ensuing U.S.-led war against Baghdad.30 Some of those Arab states had already sided with Iraq during its eight-year-long war with Iran, but the Kuwaiti crisis now infuriated them so badly that they remained at odds with Baghdad until Saddam was toppled from power by the United States in the Iraq War of 2003.31 Meanwhile, ethnic conficts and the bloody hostilities waged by the stateless minorities turned out to outlast the number and scope of infghting between the sovereign states in the region. The Middle East has been a mosaic of ethnic groups for eternity, but a combination of external and internal factors have pitted many of those ethnic minorities against each other over the past century. Ethnic confict in the Middle East has sometimes involved and damaged several countries, while in some other cases it has been constrained largely to only one country. The Kurds, for instance, are the largest stateless minority in the Middle East and in the world, struggling for long to one day achieve their cherished objective of a fully sovereign Kurdish state. A majority of the Mideast Kurds are now living in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, but they themselves have failed to fght for their own dream in a united front in spite of the fact that they have long engaged separately in bloody, and sometimes bloodless, clashes with each of those major countries in the region.32 An interesting example in which ethnic confict involved mostly one sovereign state is, however, the Lebanese civil war that lasted from 1975 until 1990. The cataclysmic warfare in Lebanon, which took a great toll simultaneously on several ethnic groups, was so devastating that turned, literally, a heaven into a hell. Over the course of the civil war, some 120,000 people were killed, 250,000 individuals sustained moderate to severe injuries, and more than one million others were forced to fee their country, many of them permanently.33 Moreover, another besetting problem which added insult to injury was that Lebanon also became a rather constant battleground for proxy wars and covert operations involving the Palestinians, Israelis, Iranians, Syrians, and some other nations inside and outside the Middle East.

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Consequently, the country hardly managed to recover from its past affiction and suffering rendered upon it by many years of brutal civil war and coldblooded foreign interventions, signifying disastrous potentials of ethnic dissention and antagonism in the region.34 In practice, the Lebanese tragedy came full circle quite recently when in the immediate aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring several bouts of civil war and internecine confict badly hit Libya, Yemen, and especially Syria. The Syrian civil war turned out to be a truly ghoulish story as the appalling incident intertwined dubiously with the surge of the equally evil phenomenon of the Islamic State in the neighboring country, Iraq. After many years of bloodletting and wretchedness, it is still really hard to fathom the labyrinthine complexities of the situation in Syria whose political system once used to be a culprit behind a lot of human misery and trauma in the neighboring Lebanon. Unlike the Lebanese civil war, however, the Syrian disaster brought about larger troubles for stability and regional integration in the Middle East because a greater number of stubborn stakeholders from inside and outside the region got involved, both directly and indirectly, in the country’s civil strife, supplying grist to the mills of political confagration and ethic friction in the region.35

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A BUSTLING MARKET FOR ARMS DEALS The discovery of gunpowder and the ensuing breakthrough in frearms marked a watershed in the history of human civilization. This critical development soon brought to bear swift societal and political transformations in many parts of the world. More importantly, it was this invention which played an indispensable role in the quick rise of the West as the enlightened and resourceful powers in Europe could take advantage of the innovations in the use of new weaponry and dominate forcefully over several other regions. In the same way, the fault and mistake of some major Eastern societies in their late mastery of the new weapon turned out to be detrimental to their power and place in the world as compared to what some Western nations underwent once they had the upper hand in the application of the newfangled guns. The Western command in the development and employment of modern weaponry had thereby many positively far-reaching implications, enabling it to prevail and exercise control over several other regions, including the Middle East.36 Whether or not the gunpowder was frst invented in the Middle East, the region found itself in a very peculiar relationship with weapons and arms producers in the contemporary history.37 The rivalry and domination of foreign powers as well as the perpetual interstate conficts and civil wars, as adumbrated earlier, all turned the Middle East into one of the largest markets

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for arms and weaponry. The proftable business of selling more weaponry to the wealthy and willing regimes in the Middle East triggered some sort of competition among the major producers of armaments both in the West and in the East. Ironically, the Western powers emerged as the main purveyors of the weapons and munitions supplied to the region over the past several decades. In fact, the remunerative nature of the arms market in the Middle East gave rise to the very power politics pursued by the Western powers in the region, interfering terribly with many other productive economic and developmental programs which had to be consequently abandoned or carried out unsystematically.38 Essentially, the modern trajectory of stockpiling arms and munitions in the Middle East kicked off in the aftermath of the frst oil shock when a surprising fow of oil incomes encouraged many of the petroleum exporters in the region to underwrite a big budget for their arms procurements, though some of the Mideast countries such as Iran and Egypt had already received a lot of weapons and military aids from the United States and the Soviet Union, respectively.39 By the Early 1980s, however, the armaments market of the Middle East was by and large a monopoly of the major arms producers in the West, including the United States, Britain, and France. Precisely, it was the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988 that opened the region’s arms markets to many other nations, including several countries from East Asia.40 Among the East Asian states, Japan was the only player which did not supply weapons to the warring parties throughout the 1980s. The only reason was that the Japanese had been hamstrung by a slew of constitutional and alliance impediments to sell arms to other countries, but the Middle East’s arms market was then so lucrative that it tempted nearly all other advanced and industrialized countries, including Germany and Austria, to supply weapons to Iraq or Iraq, if not to both.41 In East Asia, the communist China emerged as the leading supplier of arms and munitions to Iran and Iraq during the 1980s. Neutrality was the offcial policy of Beijing toward the two warring sides in the Middle East, enabling Beijing to engage successfully in arms deals both with Tehran and Baghdad.42 In the early years of the Iran–Iraq War, however, the Chinese were rather skittish about bargaining with their Middle Eastern counterparts directly, using the communist North Koreans as a conduit to supply arms particularly to Iran. For many years, the Chinese communists had used to ridicule the United States and the Soviet Union for their imperialist conducts, but they now did not wish to be on a par with their fellow great powers by losing the moral high ground on such matters. Still, China managed to get involved directly in the bankable market of arms supply to the Middle East by the mid-1980s, earning a lot of hard cash to fnance part of its critical programs of military modernization.43 Such a walloping success whetted the appetite of

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the communist Chinese to vigilantly take care of their expanding arms markets in the Middle East after the conclusion of the Iran–Iraq War. In comparison to China, North Korea’s direct military engagement with the Middle East was at least one decade older, dating back to the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 when the DPRK sent more than 300 military technicians and pilots to Egypt and Syria to support them in their fght against Israel. But the Iran–Iraq War opened a whole new chapter in Pyongyang’s arms supply to the Middle East. The outbreak of the war, which soon led to a termination in the offcial political ties between Iraq and North Korea because of Pyongyang’s growing ties with Tehran, turned the DPRK into a major arms merchant in the Middle East to an extent that at some point the communist East Asian state provided some 40 percent to Iran’s total imports of armaments.44 True that North Korea also served as a go-between for China and the Soviet Union to supply some of the weapons Iran procured from the Eastern powers, but the volume and value of the arms it sold to Tehran over the course of the war secured its place as an important stakeholder in the arms markets of the Middle East from the 1980s onward.45 Meanwhile, the Republic of Korean entrance into the arms market of the Middle East was another surprising development of the Iran–Iraq War. The ROK was then a developing country with little, if any, recognized know-how in the sensitive and sophisticated business of international armaments. But the reward from selling arms to the warring parties was too good to miss, enticing South Korea to sneak into the arms trade by taking advantage of its declared neutrality toward the war and supplying weapons and munitions both to Iran and Iraq. Moreover, similar to the conduit role of their North Korean brethren, the South Koreans got involved in the arms deals partly through shipping some American military stuff to the warring Iraqis and Iranians. It was, therefore, the support and protection of the U.S. government which made it possible for the ROK to subsequently survive the scandalous Iran-contra’s investigations unscathed.46 Despite that ill-reputation, the fnancially rewarding experience of the Iran–Iraq War encouraged South Korea to keep a beady eye on the Middle East as a signifcant market for its ambitious programs of becoming a leading arms exporter in the future.47 A last but not least active player in the arms market of the Middle East during the Iran–Iraq War turned out to be Taiwan whose involvement then was, like the ROK, out of the ordinary. Similar to South Korea and as an ally of the United States, the Republic of China was still a developing country without any distinct reputation among the world’s credible arms producers. In the same way, Taiwan was producing American weapons under license, though such an advantage did not necessarily entitle Taipei to ship the U.S. technology to the Middle East. As a result, the Taiwanese engagement in the business of arms shipment to Iran and Iraq was restricted primarily to

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various military equipment or replacement parts of secondary importance, but such stuff still proved to be very helpful to the Iranian underdogs.48 Unlike South Korea, however, Taiwan was not really in a comfortable position regionally and internationally to serve as a go-between for selling any type of American weapons to either Iran or Iraq. That is why the Taiwanese share in the Middle East’s arms markets, when compared to the other East Asian players, dwindled to a trickle in the period that followed the Iran–Iraq War.

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UNCEASING LIAISON: CONVENTIONAL ARMS In the decades that followed the Iran–Iraq War and in the wake of endlessly varying internal and external pressures, many countries across the Middle East engaged in some sort of perpetual power rivalry with each other by ratcheting up their annual spending on security and military affairs. In particular, those Mideast countries with larger incomes coming from their energy exports were more determined to purchase almost any type of advanced weaponry and state-of-the-art military technologies available to them through open or black markets. With spending over $50 billion annually, for instance, Saudi Arabia is currently one of the top fve countries in the world in terms of defense budget and military expenditures. Such a dazzling fgure would put the Arab kingdom astonishingly ahead of some great powers like Britain, France, and Russia. A number of other Middle East countries like Iran or Egypt have certainly had better rationale to equally beef up their military spending, but various international impediments and budgetary constraints have understandably put their defense expending in straitjacket.49 Although the West generally maintained its hegemonic position as the top provider of military stuff and the main defense partner for most of the Middle Eastern countries, however, the East strived to gradually get a better share of the region’s lucrative arms markets. The Middle East countries themselves played a part in such eventuality as well. For countries like Iran with continuously limited, if any, access to the arms markets in the West, the East had to be counted as a major source of various required weaponry.50 Still, many other Western allies in the region, from Turkey to Israel and from Saudi Arabia to the post-Saddam’s Iraq, found their own persuasive reasons to engage in closer military and security contacts with the East. Whether for the sake of prudently politico-security diversifcation or simply for gaining more economic benefts, part of the looking-East policies carved out by these Mideast nations sought to foster larger military connections to the East Asian states most of which were waiting in their wings to shore up their footprint in the region’s bustling bazaar of armaments.51

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Among the East Asian states, therefore, China emerged naturally as a major non-Western stakeholder in the Middle East’s over-expanding arms markets during the past decades. As China’s huge investments in its military modernization paid off over time, it grew more confdent about its capabilities to become an important player in the world of arms exports. In order to further upgrade their military technologies and capture a larger share of the global arms industry, the Chinese thereby drew a bead on the Middle East and several other developing regions. From offering the newly developed surveillance drones to some other types of larger military equipment, the Chinese were really prepared to restock the budding Middle East’s arsenal of newfangled weaponry. On top of that, the Chinese military diplomacy in the Middle East, as an effective part of its off-hands approach toward the region, had a lot of potentials to facilitate the ground for securing the rising East Asian power’s expanding interests in several other areas, ranging from politics to energy and from fnance to culture.52 Meanwhile, China managed to also develop some subterranean military relationship with Israel. The two countries had actually engaged in this sensitive area of bilateral connections even before they established offcial diplomatic ties in the early 1990s. Once China came under severe international arms embargo in the wake of the Tiananmen incident in 1989, it strived hard to get access to some American military technologies through its nonWestern allies. That is a reason why when China and Israel normalized their political relations in 1992, they subsequently made signifcant progress in the feld of military cooperation. Still, the Sino–Israeli arms deals often raised alarm bells in the political capitals of the powerful Western countries, the United States in particular, forcing Israel to ultimately withdraw from some of the military agreements it had signed with Beijing. The Americans fretted over closer military connections between the Chinese and Israelis because any Chinese access to their advanced weaponry and sensitive military knowhow through the Jewish state could simply compromise their national security and global supremacy in military affairs.53 If China could reach the acme of its military partnership with the Middle East in the period that followed the Iran–Iraq War, Japan and Taiwan had the slightest role in the region among the East Asian states. Despite its high capacity and keenness to produce and export armaments to other parts of the world, Japan still remained burdened with several critically constitutional and bureaucratic obstacles, restricting systematically its engagement in the Middle East in the feld of conventional arms.54 In comparison, Taiwan encountered more diplomatic setbacks as more and more countries in the Middle East rushed to normalize their political ties with Beijing at the cost of Taipei. In the absence of any offcial political relationship with the Middle East, therefore, the Taiwanese had little chance, if any, to participate openly

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in the region’s thriving arms markets. But the lack of arms deals did not really stymie some high-ranking Taiwanese, as well as Japanese, security and military offcials to occasionally exchange visits with their counterparts from the Middle East over an extensive array of issues favorable to both sides. Unlike the two foregoing groups, Koreans from both sides of the peninsula came out as the middle players from East Asia in the Middle East’s bazaar of weapons. After its risky foray into the international arms market during the Iran–Iraq War, South Korea could no longer ignore the huge potentials the Middle East had to offer in the area of armaments and military commitments. In the early decades of the twenty-frst century, the successive liberal and conservative governments in Seoul upped the ante by formulating several plans to strengthen signifcantly South Korea’s growing share in the world’s arms industry. The Middle East was thereby earmarked as a major target for the ROK’s ambitious plans to uplift its global competitiveness in the production and export of armaments and munitions. As a consequence, South Korea succeeded to sign a number of lucrative arms deals in the Middle East, including a bilateral agreement to sell more than twenty light fghter jets to the post-Saddam’s Iraq, making the project the most expensive defense export in the ROK’s history.55 With regard to North Korea, the reclusive communist state did its utmost to broaden the size and scope of its military relationship with the Middle East in the post-Iran–Iraq War era. But Pyongyang’s friends and close partners in the region remained largely the same countries with Iran as the most important one, though the DPRK could also manage to rekindle its diplomatic relations with Iraq after the collapse of the Baathist political regime in Baghdad. After the demise of the Cold War and the crumble of the communist bloc, North Korea’s politico-military ties with the Middle East became far more important than before, making the region a critical source of export revenues as the DPRK sorted out over time various arms deals with Iran, Syria, Egypt, and even the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In spite of its enduring presence in the Middle East’s arms markets from the late 1980s onward, however, North Korea made a big name more for its surreptitious engagement in the region in the area of unconventional weapons such as nuclear technology and ballistic missiles.56 UNCEASING LIAISON: UNCONVENTIONAL ARMS As an important implication of the 9/11 incident, the U.S.-led West committed itself to put the kibosh on the problem of spreading weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in the Middle East and the relevant involvement of some East Asian players in the region. This vexing issue had been around

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for a couple of decades, and it was time to take care of the matter forcefully now that more countries and non-state groups in the region were determined to acquire some types of such utterly lethal weapons. Although WMDs could be potentially an immediate danger to the Western societies, however, they were thought to pose a grave threat to the West’s presence and interests in the Middle East in the long-term.57 That is why Iraq was the frst country in the region to be invaded and occupied primarily for its alleged possession of the WMDs. But the accusation was soon proved to be simply a fgment of imagination because the Saddam regime had probably forfeited its quest for obtaining those costly and risky weapons long time ago. Still, the Iraqi debacle did not really impede many in the West to go after other countries in the region which were suspected of having comparable inclinations to gain their own WMDs and the relevant devices such as ballistic missiles.58 Libya and Syria were thereby pressured to hand over their stockpiles of WMDs even though these two countries were not the prominent possessors of such weapons in the Middle East. France and Britain played a leading role in convincing the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddaf in Libya to abandon, once for all, its search for acquiring nuclear and chemical weapons in exchange for certain political and economic rewards promised by the West. Later, Gaddaf had to regret his decision when his regime was brutally toppled by the NATO-led military forces, while Libya could also hardly get any signifcant economic and fnancial benefts from its cooperation with the Western interlocutors to ditch its WMDs. In the same way, the Baathist regime of al-Asad in Syria was intimidated in the immediate aftermath of the “Arab Spring” to surrender its chemical weapons, though the outcome of this move was less dreadful for Syria than what happened to the Gaddaf regime, thanks to the Russian and Iranian quarterbacking for the al-Asad-dominated political system in Damascus.59 In spite of what happened to Iraq, Libya, and Syria over their WMDs question, however, the West did not terminate effectively and permanently East Asia’s entanglement in the Middle Eastern obsession with unconventional armaments. For long, there was lingering fears of North Korea for being the main stakeholder from East Asia in the Middle East’s WMDs programs since the DPRK had involved particularly in the Iranian projects of developing nuclear energy and ballistic missiles technologies. As the Islamic Republic decided to pay particular attention to such critical programs from the late 1980s and early 1990s onward, the DPRK was invited to share with Tehran its expertise and technological know-how.60 Of course, almost every aspect of close cooperation between Iran and North Korea on nuclear and missile programs over years was kept under wraps by both sides, giving rise to lots of rumors and speculations about the true nature and scope of their partnership and joint activities. There happened to be an omnifarious array of media and

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policy reports with regard to the DPRK’s deep involvement in the Iranian nuclear and missile programs, while Tehran often used to repudiate such allegations by accentuating its own internal capabilities and self-suffciency both in nuclear energy and missile technologies. Besides Iran, the communist Koreans were suspected to be assisting the WMDs programs of some other Middle East countries. Libya under Colonel Gaddaf had courted the DPRK to give a helping hand to its WMDs projects, but when the Arab North African country signed a deal with the West to do away with its ambitions it had to terminate ineluctably the relevant partnership with Pyongyang on developing such deadly weapons. Likewise, North Korea had probably little more to contribute when the al-Asad regime in Syria was browbeaten into giving up its WMDs ambitions, though part of the previously joint activities between Damascus and Pyongyang on such weapons had been severely interrupted and damaged, overtly or clandestinely, by the Israelis on several occasions. Moreover, the UAE was the last but not least important Middle Eastern state which the DPRK had tried to curry favor in terms of selling its missile technologies in exchange for lots of ready hard cash. But the tiny Arab sheikhdom’s interest in the DPRK’s offer of missiles turned out to be rather feeting because it had not been satisfed enough with the North Korean technology, though the two sides did not terminate in total their future cooperation in the area of other conventional weapons.61 In comparison to North Korea, the Chinese behaved far more cautious regarding any bold involvement in the WMDs programs in the Middle East. The rising East Asian power had certainly more expertise and technological know-how to play a bigger role in the development of advanced arms and sophisticated military devices for its close and friendly partners across the Middle East. China was even willing to provide some assistance for the Iranian nuclear program during the frst decade of the 1990s, but it decided in midstream to change its approach toward the proliferation of WMDs in the Middle East. In fact, it was Jiang Zemin’s big-power diplomacy (daguo waijiao) during the second half of its presidency when China became closer to the United States under the Bill Clinton administration, compelling Beijing to virtually scotch its ongoing cooperation with Tehran on nuclear as well as chemical weapons projects.62 China also showed little interest to contribute signifcantly to the Iranian missile program, though the two countries hardly discontinue their interactions and joint partnership on conventional arms and traditional security affairs for the decades to come. Despite the lack of formal cooperation between China and Iran on various WMDs programs, however, over years a number of Chinese companies and private dealers were alleged to be assisting certain parts of the Iranian nuclear and missile programs. The main issue was actually about some secondary and dual-use technologies which Iran could still exploit to make headway in its

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advanced weaponry projects. In the wake of stringent economic and technological sanctions levied against Tehran, Iran was patently facing tremendous problems in accessing certain types of equipment for its nuclear and missile programs, putting the Middle East country on the whims of black markets and money-grubbing intermediaries to come into the possession of those required technologies and materials. This was a method which the Iranians had previously put to good use during the Iran–Iraq War to acquire some of the conventional arms and replacement parts they desperately needed in order not to lose advantage vis-à-vis an enemy with well-supplied armaments.63 Prior to the Chinese, moreover, a good number of other East Asian companies and private dealers, some with a dual nationality, had demonstrated their willingness to cooperate with Iran in exchange for a lot of instant material rewards. During the 1980s and 1990s, there happened to be some Japanese companies which supplied to Iran a variety of sensitive and dualuse technologies regardless of whether or not Iran was taking advantage of those critical stuff for its advanced military purposes. Later, more East Asian companies and private citizens from Hong Kong and even Taiwan entered the competition, risking their security and reputation in order to make a chunk of hard cash, though many of them probably had no clue if Iran was really going to take advantage of their sensitive technologies and materials for any non-civilian purposes.64 Of course, some of those companies and citizens had to consequently pay a hefty price since the United States could prosecute, fne, and even jail them for their cooperation with Iran in violating certain sanctions diktats.65

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A PRACTICING GROUND FOR NORMALIZATION Militarily, perhaps a major yet widely overlooked strategic advantage of the Middle East for the East Asian countries was that they were provided with a number of valuable and often inexpensive opportunities to rehearse, albeit gradually and cautiously, part of the security and surveillance roles assumed for long by the powerful Western countries in the region. Throughout their history, the East Asian nations had been comfortable in the cocoon of their surrounding environment with little, if any, hankering for foreign adventures and risk-taking expeditions beyond their own familiar domains. Even when their modern economic activities and industrialization projects hinged irretrievably on a constant supply of vital raw materials, crude oil in particular, from faraway regions, the modernizing East Asian states were not initially prepared to take charge and handle directly that critical aspect of their international trade. They were even far less equipped and inclined to stand guard over some of the most volatile and insecure territories such as the Middle

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East from which a bulk of their crucially required energy resources had to be loaded and transported.66 Currently, the U.S.-led West still undertakes a great deal of those responsibilities in order to assure that the economic juggernauts throughout East Asia will not one day run out of fossil fuels and some other essential raw materials. The West actually assumed the task from the early period of the Cold War when Japan and later the “Asian Tigers” (i.e., South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore) were given the urgent mandate of fast-track industrialization and economic development.67 Suffcient cargoes of quality and rather inexpensive crude oil were incessantly purchased and shipped to East Asia from the Middle East and some other oil-rich territories long before the East Asian countries themselves could get involved and take care of the business. More importantly, the West had to simultaneously engage in the daunting task of guarding the sticky wicket Middle East and securing the long sea lines of maritime transportations. Such a grueling function often required physical military presence and paying out the pertinent fnancial burdens in addition to any other political and security measures needed to vouchsafe an uninterrupted fow of petroleum from the region.68 It was, however, during the presidency of John F. Kennedy when the United States broached, for the frst time, the demanding chore of securing and supplying crude oil to its Western and Eastern allies.69 From the 1970s onward, moreover, the Americans became very straightforward in raising the issue of “burden sharing” with their Western European and Japanese partners.70 As time went by and a number of chaotic developments unfolded in the Middle East, the United States became even more blunt asking its allies to shoulder some security and military responsibilities beyond their economic contribution to the unenviable task the Americans were undertaking almost singlehandedly for several decades. Washington was no longer afraid to accuse its close allies and partners for being merely “free-riding oil gulpers” and “passive bystanders” who could only foot the bill as the least kind of “burden sharing.” In the eyes of the Americans, therefore, its allies needed to behave like “normal” countries by dispatching their military and security personnel to the Middle East in order to bear the primary responsibility of protecting their own sedimented interests in the region and beyond.71 Perhaps the issue of “burden sharing” had never been raised previously more sharply and ruthlessly than what the United States did with Japan during the Kuwaiti crisis of 1990–1991.72 Although the Japanese sent their civilian minesweepers to the Persian Gulf and contributed unprecedentedly a whopping sum of $13 billion to the U.S.-led Operation Desert Storm to drag the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and restore the sovereignty of the tiny Arab sheikhdom, nevertheless, the entire Japanese contribution was blasted by the Americans as “too little too late.”73 Even during the “tanker war” of 1987

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Japan had been lectured once again about its expected “responsibility” in the Persian Gulf, and it now had to learn that lesson in a rather bitter way.74 The bottom line was that the conventional Japanese “checkbook diplomacy” came under blistering criticism, the country was badly humiliated internationally, and it was time for Tokyo to reappraise thoroughly its “free riding opportunism” and mercantilist practices if it wanted to secure the constant U.S. backing of its approach toward the Middle East.75 As a consequence, when the Iraq War of 2003 broke out in the Middle East, Japan emerged as one of the ardent political and moral supporters of the United States throughout the cataclysmic confict. The Japanese passed through their parliament (Diet) a number of critical anti-terror laws, paving the required legislative ground for the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces (SDFs) to the region. It was the frst time that the East Asian country was sending its military personnel to a war zone, though those forces were not supposed to engage in any actual combat during their mission in Iraq. With regard to the broader U.S. campaign against terrorism in the Middle East, moreover, Japan under the strong leadership of Junichiro Koizumi (2001– 2006) was determined to behave like a “normal country” without excusing its constitutional constraints and public disapproval.76 After referring to terrorism as “Japan’s own security issue,” the Japanese strived to make most of the U.S.-led crusade by turning it into a unique opportunity for implementing a number of critical internal and external reforms, including the creation of Ministry of Defense to be led by a defense minister and the passage of suffcient legal permission for a regular dispatch of their maritime forces to the Persian Gulf and the surrounding oceans and waterways in the future. Similar to Japan, South Korea demonstrated a striking show of loyalty and adherence to the U.S. agenda in the Middle East after the 9/11 incident. Because of its smaller size and weaker fnancial power, the ROK had not been censured as severely and publicly as Japan by the Americans for its “free riding” approach in the Middle East, but it now appeared somehow more resolute than Japan in throwing its full support behind the U.S. military campaign in the region. The liberal government of Roh Moo-hyun sent some 3,000 Korean military forces to the northern part of Iraq to provide logistical support for the U.S.-led military operations in Iraq. The ROK committed itself to such a potentially perilous move in the Middle East in spite of huge political division and a groundswell of public opposition at home.77 South Korea wanted to please the United States and make sure that the Americans were not going to single it out as a “free rider” in the Middle East. Additionally, the daring performance of Koreans in Iraq could be regarded somehow as a practice of their self-described “middle power” status through punching above their weight in one of the most challenging and unpredictable battlegrounds in the world.

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Compared to Japan and South Korea, however, China was a horse of a different color. The Chinese were not obviously an ally of the United States, nor were they expected to play second fddle to the Americans in any critical Middle Eastern development. They had started to become dependent on the Middle East’s oil since the early 1990s, though their thirst for the region’s gargantuan of energy resources soon grew by leaps and bounds. The Chinese had also a long record of displeasure with and opposition to various Western policies and practices in the greater Middle East region, making them a bête noire in many powerful policy and media circles in the West. On top of that, not every important Western stakeholder in the Middle East was really in favor of giving considerable political and security roles to the Chinese in the region. That is why many interested observers believed that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 just to shore up its hegemonic position in the Middle East by taking advantage of the restored power of the Iraqi crude oil as a weapon to rein in its rising Chinese adversary.78 Despite those unambiguous assumptions, however, many liberal and even conservative forces in the West have asked the Chinese to be more active in political and security affairs of the Middle East. While acknowledging China’s preference to keep a rather low profle role in the region and sympathizing with Beijing’s insuffcient and immature capabilities to guard some 7,000 miles of sea lines between Shanghai and the Persian Gulf, the relevant politicians in the West have sometimes reprimanded China for its “free riding” in the Middle East.79 Even the American Democrat president Barack Obama did not hesitate in 2014 to criticize the Chinese as “free riders” in the face of their predisposition to accuse the United States of “over-reaching” in the Middle East. In response, the critics point out that the Chinese have already abandoned their “free riding” orientation in the Middle East by a silent endorsement of certain Western policies toward the region and taking on a more direct, albeit cooperative, political and security role in managing its turbulent affairs.80 NOTES 1. Roger Owen, The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800–1914 (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2002). 2. Geoffrey Kemp and Robert E. Harkavy, Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East (Washington, D.C.: Brooking Institution Press, 1997), pp. 19–21; and Christopher Davidson, Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East (London: Oneworld Publications, 2016). 3. Ronen Bergman, The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power (New York: Free Press, 2008); Juan C. Zagarte, Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare

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(New York: Public Affairs, 2013); and Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake, The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats (New York: Penguin Press, 2019). 4. Juan Cole, Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). 5. Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), p. 1. 6. Brooks and Wohlforth, World Out of Balance, p. 58. 7. Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), p. 265. 8. Charles W. Freeman, America’s Misadventures in the Middle East (Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books, 2010). 9. Edward D. Mansfeld and Jack Snyder, Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005), p. 13. 10. Peter W. Galbraith, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006); and Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Confict (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008). 11. Stephen M. Walt, Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005). 12. Clyde V. Prestowitz, Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (New York: Basic Books, 2003); and L. Paul Bremer, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006). 13. Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000); and Meic Pearse, Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Roots of Global Rage (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004). 14. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (New York: Free Press, 2004); and Kurt Eichenwald, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars (New York: Touchstone, 2012). 15. Michael Lüders, Blowback: How the West F*cked Up the Middle East (London: Old Street Publishing, 2017); and Robin Aitken, The Noble Liar: How and Why the BBC Distorts the News to Promote a Liberal Agenda (London: Biteback Publishing, 2018). 16. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions, p. 64. 17. Maxwell O. Johnson, “The Role of US Military Force in the Gulf War,” in Christopher C. Joyner, ed., The Persian Gulf War: Lessons for Strategy, Law, and Diplomacy (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990), pp. 127–138. 18. Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), p. 888. 19. Stephen E. Bronner, Blood in the Sand: Imperial Fantasies, Right-Wing Ambitions, and the Erosion of American Democracy (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2005). 20. David Vine, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015).

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21. Peter Evans, Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), pp. 38, 240. 22. Christopher A. Ford, China Looks at the West: Identity, Global Ambitions, and the Future of Sino–American Relations (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2015), p. 391. 23. Frank Langftt, The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2019). 24. Robert R. Swartout, Jr., Mandarins, Gunboats, and Power Politics: Owen Nickerson Denny and the International Rivalries in Korea (The University Press of Hawaii, 1980), p. xiii; and Robert O’Brien and Marc Williams, Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics, 5th Edition (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), pp. 130, 146. 25. George B. Baldwin, Planning and Development in Iran (Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins Press, 1967), p. 5; and Nicolas J. S. Davies, Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq (Ann Arbor, MI: Nimble Books, 2010), pp. 13, 21. 26. William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (London: Zed Books, 2003); and David L. Phillips, The Great Betrayal: How America Abandoned the Kurds and Lost the Middle East (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2019). 27. Ian J. Bickerton, The Arab–Israeli Confict: A Guide for the Perplexed (New York: Continuum, 2012). 28. Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli–Palestinian Confict, 2nd Edition (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2009), pp. 782, 819. 29. Cited from: Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US–Israeli Covert Relationship (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 328. 30. Blum, Killing Hope, pp. 321–323. 31. Jerry M. Long, War of Words: Politics, Religion, and the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2004), p. 183. 32. Michael M. Gunter, Out of Nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in Peace and War (London: Hurst & Company, 2014); and Michael M. Gunter, The Kurds: A Modern History (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2016), p. 101. 33. Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon (New York: Thunder Mountain Press, 1990). 34. Jonathan V. Marshall, The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and the International Drug Traffc (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), pp. 53, 130, 188. 35. David S. Sorenson, Syria in Ruins: The Dynamics of the Syrian Civil War (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International, 2016), pp. 87–88. 36. David Ayalon, Gunpowder and Firearms in the Mamluk Kingdom: A Challenge to a Mediaeval Society (London: Frank Cass, 1978), p. ix. 37. Ayalon, Gunpowder and Firearms, p. 1. 38. Taylor, The Superpowers and the Middle East, p. 116. 39. James A. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American–Iranian Relations (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), p. 114.

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40. Even during the Iran–Iraq War, the West still supplied a lion’s share of all the weapons which the Saddam regime imported, directly and indirectly. For instance, from 1982 until 1989, the Western countries shipped arms to Baghdad worth more than $13 billion out of which some $4.5 billion sold by the French alone. Afshon Ostovar, Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), p. 81. 41. David Williams, Japan: Beyond the End of History (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), p. 171. 42. Beijing’s war position was actually a perfect encapsulation of the Chinese strategy zuo shan guan hu dou (sit on top of the mountain and watch the tigers fght). 43. In the period between 1981 and 1987, for instance, almost 70 percent of China’s total arms exports to the world were supplied to Iran and Iraq alone. Yitzhak Shichor, “Decision-making in Triplicate: China and the Three Iraqi Wars,” in Andrew Scobell and Larry M. Wortzel, eds., Chinese National Security Decisionmaking under Stress (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2005), pp. 191–228. 44. Azad, Koreans in the Persian Gulf, p. 75. 45. Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., North Korean Special Forces (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998), pp. 208–209. 46. Shirzad Azad, Koreans in Iran: Missiles, Markets and Myths (New York: Algora Publishing, 2018), pp. 21–22. 47. Ian Bowers, The Modernisation of the Republic of Korea Navy: Seapower, Strategy and Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), p. 177. 48. Michael Brzoska, “Profteering on the Iran–Iraq War,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 43 (June 1987), pp. 42–45. 49. Roger Owen, State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, 3rd Edition (London and New York: Routledge, 2004). 50. Bill Gertz, Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies (New York: Crown Forum, 2004). 51. Thomas A. Johnson, “Power Shifts and Transformational Global Events,” in Thomas A. Johnson, ed., Power, National Security, and Transformational Global Events: Challenges Confronting America, China, and Iran (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2012), pp. 1–32. 52. Shirzad Azad, Iran and China: A New Approach to Their Bilateral Relations (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017), p. 23. 53. Richard D. Fisher, China’s Military Modernization: Building for Regional and Global Reach (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008), p. 94 54. Brad Williams, “Japan’s Arms Procurement after the Cold War,” in Andrew T. H. Tan, ed., The Global Arms Trade: A Handbook (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2014), pp. 78–90. 55. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, p. 79. 56. David Albright, Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies (New York: Free Press, 2010), pp. 4, 157. 57. Gary J. Schmitt, ed., Rise of the Revisionists: Russia, China, and Iran (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 2018).

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58. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo–American Oil Politics and the New World Order (London: Pluto Press, 2004). 59. Michelle Bentley, Syria and the Chemical Weapons Taboo: Exploiting the Forbidden (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016). 60. Joseph Bermudez, Shield of the Great Leader: The Armed Forces of North Korea (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2001), p. 252. 61. Bertil Lentner, Great Leader, Dear Leader: Demystifying North Korea under the Kim Clan (Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm Books, 2005), p. 117. 62. Azad, Iran and China, p. 38. 63. John W. Garver, China’s Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 336–337. 64. Azad, Looking East, pp. 15–17. 65. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, p. 147. 66. Such a mindset is revealed in a statement made in 1975 by Sakata Michita, an ex-Director General of former Japan Defense Agency (JDA), saying that “security for Japan up to now has been like sunshine and water. When there is plenty, people take it for granted.” Cited from: Olsen, U.S.–Japan Strategic Reciprocity, p. 11. 67. The case of Taiwan is pretty much interesting. After encouraging the Chinese nationalists led by General Chiang Kai-shek to focus on an intensive course of industrialization and economic development as a better approach to comfortably rival the Mao-led communists on the mainland, the United States provided Taipei with ample amount of assistance militarily, economically, and technologically. For instance, from 1949 until 1965, the total U.S. aid to the Republic of China averaged $16 per every Taiwanese per year. Out of that rather generous support, economic aid alone accounted for $6 per person annually. See Robert Wade, “State Intervention in ‘Outward-looking’ Development: Neoclassical Theory and Taiwanese Practice,” in Gordon White, ed., Developmental State in East Asia (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988), pp. 30–67. 68. Michael C. Hudson, “Geopolitical Shifts: Asia Rising, America Declining in the Middle East?” in Nele Lenze and Charlotte Schriwe, eds., Converging Regions: Global Perspectives on Asia and the Middle East (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014), pp. 77–88. 69. Bruce Cumings, Parallax Visions: Making Sense of American–East Asian Relations at the End of the Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), p. 216. 70. Dominic Kelly, “Rice, Oil and the Atom: A Study of the Role of Key Material Resources in the Security and Development of Japan,” Government and Opposition 40, no. 2 (2005): 278–327. 71. Takashi Inoguchi and Paul Bacon, “Rethinking Japan as an Ordinary Country,” in G. John Ikenberry and Chung-in Moon, eds., The United States and Northeast Asia: Debates, Issues, and New Order (New York: Rowman & Littlefeld, 2008), pp. 79–98. 72. Shirzad Azad, “Japan’s Gulf Policy and Response to the Iraq War,” Middle East Review of International Affairs 12, no. 2 (June 2008): 52–64.

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73. In that sense, Germany also played a paymaster role similar to Japan. Encountering the constitutional barriers and widespread domestic opposition, the Germans were bludgeoned into coughing up some $12 billion dollars to the U.S.led operation in addition to deploying their minesweepers to the Persian Gulf under Washington’s arm-twisting. For more details, for instance, see Sebastian Harnisch, “German Foreign Policy: Gulliver’s Travails in the 21st Century,” in Ryan K. Beasley, Juliet Kaarbo, Jeffrey S. Lantis, and Michael T. Snarr, eds., Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective: Domestic and International Infuences on State Behavior, 2nd Edition (Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2013), pp. 71–93. 74. Richard L. Armitage, “US–Japan Relations in the Middle East,” in John Calabrese, ed., The United States, Japan, and the Middle East (Washington, D.C.: The Middle East Institute, 1997), pp. 3–9. 75. Alan Dowty, “Japan and the Middle East: Signs of Change?” Middle East Review of International Affairs 4, no. 4 (December 2000): 67–76; and Geoffrey Kemp, The East Moves West: India, China, and Asia’s Growing Presence in the Middle East (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2010), p. 119. 76. Christopher Hughes, Japan’s Re-emergence as a “Normal” Military Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); and Tomohito Shinoda, Koizumi Diplomacy: Japan’s Kantei Approach to Foreign and Defense Affairs (Seattle, WA and London: University of Washington Press, 2007), p. 86. 77. The Korea Economic Institute, Ambassadors’ Memoir: U.S.–Korea Relations through the Eyes of the Ambassadors (Washington, D.C.: The Korea Economic Institute, 2009), p. 186. 78. Larry Everest, Oil, Power and Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2004), p. 136; and Dan Glazebrook, Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis (San Francisco, CA: Liberation Media, 2013). 79. Jon B. Alterman and John W. Garver, The Vital Triangle: China, the United States, and the Middle East (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2008), p. 95. 80. Dorsey, China and the Middle East, p. 74. Additionally, the rich and resourceful countries of East Asia, including Japan, South Korea, and even the communist China, have contributed signifcantly to constant U.S. military adventures in the Middle East through their perpetual and generous purchase of various American assets such as U.S. government bonds which can help Washington to keep its interests rates low, comfortably fund larger budget defcits, and pursue costly military conficts in the region. Riccardo Fiorentini and Guido Montani, The New Global Political Economy: From Crisis to Supranational Integration (Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2012), p. 64.

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Chapter 4

Mine, Market, Model Reaching Economic Crescendo

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ASSIGNED: THE MODERN ECONOMIC DIVISION OF LABOR For ages, many nations across the Middle East adopted a certain way of economic activity dominated primarily by agriculture, animal husbandry, and trade. Such a relatively fxed pattern of economic life hardly underwent signifcant changes in the period roughly from 1500 to 1800 AD when the scope and size of productive activities generally waned in the region. With the arrival of the European colonizers in the nineteenth century, the Middle East engaged ineluctably in more commercial and fnancial interactions with the outside world. Still, the growing impact of Europe on various economic activities in some Middle Eastern countries hardly made a deep dent in the whole edifce of traditional economic structures throughout the region. The ruling elites in Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and Persia (now Iran), for instance, carried through consequently certain internal reforms in order to breathe new life into their own nation’s political as well as economic dynamisms, but even those measures, no matter how imperative and opportune, failed to transform fundamentally the nature and direction of productive operations in the Middle East for the decades and centuries to come.1 It was, however, the epoch-making event of oil discovery that sealed the fate of the Middle East in contemporary history. After being found frst in the United States in 1859, oil was discovered in Iran in 1908, in Iraq in a little while after the end of World War I, and in Saudi Arabia in 1938.2 From now on, almost every aspect of life in the Middle East was to be infused by the “oil factor,” one way or the other. From domestic politics to foreign affairs, oil had come to reign supreme in the region. This was particularly the case in those Middle Eastern countries which happened to be endowed by stupendous 65

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reserves of fossil fuels. As a case in point, it is often argued that Iran’s foreign policy has for decades been affected detrimentally by a powerful desire among foreign powers to maintain in every possible way a constant access to inexpensive Iranian oil.3 Other major petroleum producers in the Middle East were also infuenced indisputably by the paramount parameter of oil under different national, regional, and international circumstances that befall them. The bottom line was about the principal role of oil in an emerging draconian division of labor formulated and pushed forward predominantly by the West. All of a sudden, crude oil came into view as a strategic natural resource access to which could play an indispensable role in the implementation and success of various industrialization and development programs that were mandated to a number of countries under a new division of labor. Throughout ages, natural resources had functioned as a geopolitical element of statehood, and any state lacking suffcient natural resources or incapable of having an easy access to them could hardly become a world power.4 But a critical difference that the unearthing of oil made was that even those countries which were already a world power found themselves badly dependent on this newly uncovered raw material in order to secure their privileged status and interests vis-à-vis other competitors. More importantly and as the experience of several Western and Eastern countries proved over the past century, a state could be small and almost bereft of any oil and yet manage to become a major power on the world stage by benefting amply from this powerful natural resource.5 In addition to serving as a vital ingredient for any large-scale modern economic and industrial activity taking place throughout the globe, oil turned out to be truly instrumental in a whole array of human affairs, ranging from agriculture to transportation and from social entertainment to private lifestyle. On top of that, oil manifested itself as the blood stream of modern warfare regardless of where it was going to occur; on land, on sea, or in the air. Oil did not only fuel wars, it also became a prime objective of constant battles and armed conficts in different parts of the world. The more powerful and engaged a country was militarily beyond its sovereign borders, the more it became dependent on oil and its immediate products. Such a strong state required oil to primarily power its giant military machine abroad besides taking advantage of this vital fossil fuel at home to help its economic and industrial juggernauts move through the gears.6 A last but not least goal was to exploit oil as an effective weapon against its presently open enemies or potentially peer competitors.7 As a corollary to all those critical functions, therefore, the Middle Eastern oil put the entire region in the spotlight of world politics. As the richest of all regions in terms of possessing a cornucopia of known reserves of crude oil, the Middle East had been destined to once again play a pivotal role in human civilization, though this time the rules of the game were

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systematically different. The Middle East had certainly lots of other advantages, but from now on it was oil which determined fundamentally the signifcance of the region in the calculations of the great powers such as the United States that soon found itself in a privileged position to essentially rewrite the rules of the new global division of labor for the period that followed the World War II. The American policymakers simply earmarked the Middle East as the most strategically vital region outside Western Europe and Japan by taking into consideration the crucial role that the Middle Eastern oil was going to play in materializing the new U.S. programs for those two regions.8 Thus, the United States wanted to supply oil from the Middle East primarily for its allies in Europe and Japan. Despite their colossal industrial power and large consumption of fossil fuels, the Americans themselves were not as dependent as the Europeans and Japanese on the Middle East oil at that period because they could rely on some Latin American suppliers like Venezuela and other domestic sources located primarily in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. In comparison, the situation in Europe and Japan was far different in terms of their huge dependency on foreign sources of energy. As the only way to save Western Europe from the scourge of communism in the postwar era, the U.S. plans for its broken Western partners accentuated a swift pace of reconstruction and reindustrialization. The Americans were in a position to comfortably inject suffcient amount of capital and technology into their European programs, but fast-tracking a great deal of those U.S. schemes still required large cargoes of crude oil which had to be brought in from the Middle East.9 The level of Japanese dependency on the imported sources of energy from faraway territories was to be worse than that of Western Europe. Japan had to be equally rescued from the looming peril of communism through the implementation of a quick and robust program of reconstruction and industrialization. The energy-poor country of East Asia was also to emerge as an economic power and industrial base larger than any Western European nation, demanding a surfeit of oil supplies from the Middle East to fre up its kinetic energy for that eventuality.10 On top of that, Japan had been designated to later serve as a role model of sorts for many other countries in the East, the would-be “Asian Tigers” in particular. Almost all of those fellow Asian countries were to experience a similar situation in terms of heavy reliance on vast amount of crude oil from the Middle East to carry out their economic development and industrialization projects. In the same way, they were on the whims of a willing and strong foreign power (i.e., the United States) to guarantee an affordable and uninterrupted supply of enough Middle Eastern oil to meet their assigned modernization objectives in compliance with the new international division of labor.11

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OIL COMPANIES AND GUARDING SEA LANES OF SHIPMENT Today, it may be argued that the oil industry is a truly international business subject to the logical rule and mechanical mode of supply and demand. This industry has also developed and strengthened its own monumental structures and multinational bureaucracy over the past several decades by engaging a whole host of other professions and businesses. At the present time, moreover, almost all countries around the world have already set up and protected their own oil corporations, giving them the crucial mandate of securing suffcient supplies of fossil fuels to meet their domestic demands. For many quickly industrializing countries in East Asia, such a critical task was often regarded as a national security matter, compelling their respecting national governments to get deeply involved throughout the process.12 Given the fact that the entire international business of crude oil has a history of roughly one century, therefore, the global oil trade as a relatively young industry has really come a long way in asserting itself as an established feld with its own unique function and dynamics. Despite its short history and rather sterling achievements, however, the international oil industry has still remained a relatively controversial domain surrounded by speculations, rumors, and sometimes overtly corrupt practices. In point of fact, there is a great deal of furtiveness and opacity going on inside this highly important international business, and various transactions and statistics concerning this far-reaching industry are yet to be truly transparent and devoid of any confdentiality. The sanctioned-Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a prominent case in point. Even in the heydays of international sanctions imposed on Baghdad, there were some reports that the United States, as the chief architect and main advocate of those hard-hitting measures levied against the Middle Eastern country, was actually importing the Iraqi crude illegally and surreptitiously.13 In the same way, both Russian and Chinese governments could reportedly beneft greatly from the same wretched Iraq by exploiting the UN-mandated “oil for food” program which was supposed to be monitored disinterestedly and reported impartially by those major international stakeholders.14 If the oil business is still such a disputable and scandal-prone industry, how did it then function in its early stages of growth and expansion, particularly with regard to East Asia? In essence, it all started when too much oil frst gushed out in the Middle East in the early decades of the twentieth century. Oil had already been discovered outside the greater Mideast region, and such a magnifcent natural resource continued to be located in many new places across the world in the decades to come. But none of those oil-rich places could really stay on a par with the Middle East in terms of possessing a gargantuan of proven

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crude oil.15 Later, the Middle East even got a leg up on its rivals when the region’s unearthed reserves of natural gas turned out to be equally impressive. Against this seemingly envious backdrop of oil abundance in a single place, however, East Asia, similar to some other regions, had not been endowed with adequate amount of fossil fuels to muddle through. The East Asian dilemma of oil paucity got exacerbated over time when one country after another in the region carved out a slew of ambitious programs for industrialization and economic development the implementation of which required an uninterrupted surfeit of petroleum and some other critical raw materials. In 1948, for instance, the Japanese imported only 7 percent, or 32,000 barrels per day (bpd), of their total energy needs, but such a meager fgure ratcheted up astonishingly to around 70 percent, or 4.4 million bpd, by 1972.16 Likewise, South Korea’s annual consumption of crude oil in 1975 reached around 120 million bpd, all of which had to be shipped virtually from the Middle East which constituted more than 13 percent of the ROK’s total international trade then.17 Other oil-dependent entities in East Asia experienced similar circumstances because their oil requirements grew by leaps and bounds as soon as they managed to move triumphantly to a next stage of their industrialization and economic growth agenda. But a big problem was that they themselves did not have the wherewithal to purchase and ship independently their own requirements of crude oil from the Middle East. As the most advanced and sophisticated country among its peers in the East, for example, Japan in 1966 planned to bring in some 30 percent of its oil needs through its own companies by 1985.18 Who did then provide the East Asian states with so much crude oil they needed to burn up on a daily basis? It was a small coterie of exclusively Western, European and American, entrepreneurial corporations which originally dominated the international oil industry.19 They went to the Middle East, discovered and extracted oil, and then shipped the crude to the West and the East. In a short period of time, such a small group of oil companies became enormously wealthy and powerful both in the Middle East and in their own home countries. The Mideast region actually emerged as the leading cash cow of those oil tycoons whose near monopoly over the entire oil business enabled them to make huge fortunes throughout the process of oil trade. As a sign of their astonishing infuence and legendary wealth, they could sometimes even replace governments, change regimes through bloodless coups or other underhanded means, or demand certain rights and excessive privileges from their Middle Eastern host nations.20 That is no coincidence why many Russian oligarchs and children of communist offcials in China later emulated those Western “oil kings” by throwing themselves into their own country’s up-and-coming business of oil trade.

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Just as the Russian parvenus and Chinese princelings had a little chance to succeed in the oil business without enjoying certain political support, the Western oil moguls active in the Middle East also benefted from all the trappings of political and legislative backing thrust behind them by their respective governments in Europe and the United States.21 For obvious reasons, the presence and activity of the Western oil companies in the Middle East had a lot of economic benefts and fnancial rewards for their home countries, persuading the political as well as the military establishments at home to do their utmost in smoothing the way for the survival and progress of those oil magnates in the region, one way or the other. More importantly, the very existence of the oil companies in the Middle East could effectively symbolize the persistence of political power and economic heft of their home nations in the region. This was simply a badge of national honor for the country owning the oil company, compelling almost everyone across the political spectrum in taking care of its oil business in the Middle East and beyond in every possible way.22 But the oil business in the Middle East was not about oil wells alone; the shipment of the crude oil itself required additional political quarterbacking and military support by the most powerful countries in the West. Any cargo of crude oil bound for an East Asian country had to sail a long ocean route of thousands of miles. If the East Asian states lacked the wherewithal to be in charge of the shipment business independently, they would have less aptitude to take care of the unenviable task of securing oceans and guarding uncharted waters. Keeping ocean lanes open and protecting sea lines of communication, therefore, became an additional commitment of the West to assure a constant supply of suffcient and affordable petroleum for the industrial powerhouses of East Asia.23 Thanks to its huge vested interests and omnipresent military forces, the United States eventually assumed the leading role of monitoring and protecting all the long sea lanes connecting the Middle East and East Asia. The Americans also played a similar role in securing the fow of crude cargoes from the Middle East to their allies in Europe and some other parts of the world.24 As time went by, therefore, the responsibility and role of the United States in assuring a safe supply of crude oil increased, no matter if the East Asian states managed gradually to purchase and transport independently a great deal of their own required energy resources from the Middle East. From now on, the Americans asserted that they were actually in charge of safeguarding the supply of crude oil from the Middle East to the global markets rather than to an individual market. The international oil business had to be about having easy access to the wellhead as well as protecting all the routes to refneries and consumers not only in East Asian but throughout the world. The survival and success of the global economy demanded such a frm commitment on

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the side of the United States as the main driving force behind a new wave of globalization. Regarding the supply side, the reappraised American mandate aimed to convince the oil producers in the Middle East, and other parts of the world, that they were no longer peddling their crude oil to individual countries, but instead to a global market so that the grueling experience of the “oil shocks” were not to be repeated for a third time.25

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FROM THE MAJORS TO DIRECT ACQUISITION AND SHIPMENT In a nutshell, dependency on raw materials has always been part and parcel of a national drive toward industrialization and economic development. As apprehended in depth by a British leader long time ago, the very secret of and the shortcut to development was to import raw materials and then export its manufactured products.26 Whether it was a Western or Eastern nation, therefore, any country that wished to quickly become an industrialized and developed state had to by and large rely on the importation of some raw materials and natural resources.27 But the Eastern trajectory of industrialization and economic development turned out to be rather different than the path which had already been followed by many Western societies. As instigated by Japan prior to the World War II and more devotedly and systematically from the early 1950s onward, a bewildered and benighted Eastern state with little prior experience of foreign adventures and with a far lesser rate of resource endowment all in sudden could embark upon highly ambitious programs of industrialization and development. More surprisingly, such a dark horse of development and modernization was going to soon become an industrial powerhouse as well as a role model for many of its peers across the region and beyond. Quite to the contrary, the very raw materials, crude oil in particular, which the Japanese had to import constantly and abundantly became truly instrumental in their relentless quest toward achieving rapid industrialization. As they themselves later confessed, Japan turned out to actually become the number one benefciary of an incessant supply of cheap oil from the Middle East (or precisely from the Persian Gulf region). In the view of many other non-Japanese observers and pundits, it was indeed the inexpensive supply of crude oil from the Middle East which made it possible for the East Asian country to materialize swiftly its so-called economic miracle during the 1950s and 1960s.28 In spite of its petroleum paucity, however, Japan often behaved as if everything was really alright by insisting on the pace and prospect of its ongoing ambitious development schemes. In 1960, for instance, Prime Minister Ikeda laid out one yet more ambitious plan to effectively double

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the national income of his resource-poor country within a short period of ten years.29 The truth was that the Japanese had a thorough knowledge and frm grasp about the signifcance of the raw materials such as oil and the susceptibility of their country in that area. They just made full use of the abundant oil they were receiving, while paying little serious attention to the sources from which that crude oil was originally fowing from. The bottom line was that the Japanese cared too much about the Western oil companies (the majors or seven sisters) which were bringing them crude oil rather than worrying about the Middle Eastern producers in the frst place. They simply had this thought that the prime suppliers of crude oil to Japan were the Western majors which could also serve as the main channels of communication between Tokyo and the political capitals of petroleum exporters in the Middle East. By regarding themselves indebted primarily to the oil majors and harboring certain condescending attitudes toward the crude oil producers, the Japanese were thereby not very enthusiastic about developing more direct and close connections to the Middle East then.30 But it all changed with the outbreak of the frst “oil shock” in 1973 as the egregious event revealed the dark side of the breakneck industrialization of Japan in the midst of energy scarcity. There happened to be an abrupt oil price hike of some 70 percent as the rate surged suddenly from $3.01 to $5.11 per barrel. In October 1973, consequently, the Japanese for the frst time encountered a real oil crisis with massive ramifcations for their fast-moving industrializing society. Of course, they had already experienced some menacing problems brought about by the oil embargo which was imposed upon them by the Americans in the fnal years of World War II; the very casus belli which arguably triggered the moderate navy of the Imperial Japan to attach Perl Harbor.31 Still, the oil shortage of 1973–1974 was a fne kettle of fsh unprecedented in the history of many industrializing countries, including Japan. The whole episode brought about sea changes in the East Asian nation’s domestic as well as foreign policies (at least with regard to the Middle East region). As much as the security of oil supply was concerned, for instance, Japan’s powerful Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) put together an important report in July 1974 about the concept of “economic security” and how it should be implemented. In fact, the gist of the MITI’s report was that economic security needed to be interpreted primarily in terms of securing a stable supply of critical resources such as crude oil. From now on, a “comprehensive national security” in Japan could not be essentially achieved unless the country followed certain appropriate measures to vouchsafe its own “energy security.”32 In the following years and decades,

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therefore, the Japanese hard lessons gleaned from the alarming oil shocks were to be generally emulated by almost all other energy-dependent industrializing countries in East Asia and even beyond.33 What particularly fgured prominent in their ensuing policy measures was the idea of energy security the realization of which obliged the Eastern governments to gradually yet inevitably get involved deeply in direct acquisition and supply of their own energy requirements from the Middle East and some other energy-rich places in the world. As a result, the Eastern states themselves participated actively in the entire process of discovery, extraction, shipment, and refnery of energy resources in the Middle East, replacing slowly but surely the old axis in the region which involved the Middle Eastern producers and the Western oil companies. The new emerging relationship in energy trade included the Middle Eastern exporters and their customers from East Asia and some other non-Western nations.34 Such direct oil connections between the nations located on both sides of the Asian continent reached a crescendo once China became a net importer of oil and later the largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world.35 Sinopec, as the second-largest state oil company in the world, got involved deeply in the development of various oil felds across the Middle East, taking the Chinese oil profle in the region to new heights. In similar fashion, the East Asian states one after another launched larger vessels and oil containers to independently carry their own rising requirements of energy resources from the Middle East. Meanwhile, the advantage of the East Asian states did not stem only from the scope and size of their new oil involvement in the Middle East. Their strategic mileage was to spring from the way their oil companies and their relevant operations were to be viewed by the host nations in the region. Unlike the Western oil majors which were often suspected, if not say disliked or hated, the Eastern oil companies were generally welcomed in the Middle East. As a case in point, the dreadfully long-lasting legacy of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company still haunts many Iranians after several decades, but currently such a strong feeling of hatred and hostility does not exist with regard to any other non-Western oil corporation active in Iran or in any other Middle Eastern country.36 This generally positive impression of East Asia’s oil businesses in the Middle East had obviously a lot to do with a rather frm attachment of those oil companies to their home country’s off-hands orientation toward the region.37 Another important factor was a changing perception of the erstwhile status of petroleum producers as well as a new understanding of oil and its strategic weight in the midst of an increasingly rising demand for its consumption in East Asia and other parts of the world.

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STRIPPING THE OIL PRODUCERS OF THEIR STRATEGIC STATUS By and large, the signifcance of oil as a politically charged commodity and as an effective “weapon” was recognized by the general public upon the outbreak of the frst oil shock. Prior to the occurrence of that deciding watershed, only governmental elites and those experts versed in the ins and outs of oil politics were well aware of an increasingly rising value of petroleum in various affairs of a functioning state. Lack of suffcient oil, for instance, had played an instrumental role in the defeat of Germany in World War I, buoying up infuential leaders such as Lord Curzon to state rather boldly that “the allies foated to victory on a wave of oil.”38 In the same way, the blanket ban that the United States imposed on the Imperial Japan’s oil imports in World War II effectively brought the Japanese navy to its knees and forced it to plan for its infamous blitzkrieg against the American forces stationed in Hawaii’s Perl Harbor.39 After the end of that great war, the Japanese still had to be kept hostage to their hapless dependency on oil as the architect of the “containment” strategy, George Kennan, who was in charge of the American State Department’s Policy Planning staff, predicted in 1948 that his powerful country could virtually have a “veto power” of sorts over the Japanese military and industrial policies through managing to bridle its oil imports.40 As the struggle over capturing natural resources had been the principal cause of international conficts throughout history, soon after its extensive discovery in the Middle East oil was also certain to acquire a strategic status simply because of its virtual monopoly over the conduct of international economy and modern way of life from food production to transportation. Generally, oil accounted for just 4 percent of the world’s energy at the beginning of the twentieth century, but after a couple of decades oil positioned itself unwaveringly as the most important source of energy.41 After emerging to have a critical impact on regular domestic policymaking, moreover, oil came to occupy a highly important position in many security and foreign policy agendas, infuencing both positively and negatively the relationship between countries and even their affliated alliances.42 The appearance of natural gas, nuclear energy, and a whole host of other renewables could thereby hardly dislodge the crucial place of oil in both industrial and economic operations or in many habits of contemporary diplomacy and modern lifestyle.43 With regard to the Middle East, as the strategic importance of oil increased by leaps and bounds in the new era that followed the end of World War II, the self-esteem and the perception of major petroleum producers in the region of their rising role in the international political economy were equally affected. Generally, the OPEC members found themselves very powerful and unstoppable once, as a result of the frst oil shock, their revenues from crude exports

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ratcheted up astonishingly to $140 billion in 1977 from only $23 billion in 1972.44 In particular, the phenomenon of “resource nationalism” reached a fever pitch when the Shah of Iran charged the industrialized world with misusing oil by lecturing them that “oil is a noble product which must be put to noble use.”45 By taking his rhetorical pride to new heights, the Iranian monarch even went out of his way asserting that “the virtually continuous economic growth among the industrialized nations of the West since the early 1950s was subsidized, and probably made possible, by the oil-producing countries.”46 Of course, he had Japan in mind as well, despite putting the West in the crosshairs. In fact, part of what many diplomats and foreign eyewitnesses had reported from the frst oil shock-stricken Japan had formed the basis for a new wave of resource nationalism among some OPEC members. As a result of the oil predicament, the Japanese economy recorded negative rates of growth for the frst time after World War II. The Japanese had to wait until 1978 to achieve the same fgure which they had reported for 1972. On average, Japan’s economic growth rate between 1974 and 1979 was hardly half of what the industrializing East Asian giant had achieved during the period of 1967–1972. From now on, manufacturing in Japan could no longer function as the cutting edge of its economic growth.47 The frst oil shock really panicked the general public in Japan just as it almost frightened to death many of its offcials and opinion-makers.48 The Japanese society was truly shell-shocked in every aspect so that even the popular big stores across the country had to ration the sale of toilet papers by urging their customers not to purchase more than two packages.49 Although the consequential frst oil shock was followed by a less momentous second oil shock in the late 1970s, however, the oil-producing countries in the Middle East, like their counterparts in some other parts of the developing world, ceased dubiously to pose as a menacing challenge to the advanced and quickly industrializing states in the West and the East. The Shah was thrown under the bus in Iran in the early 1979,50 and hardly any other credible leader among the OPEC members had the guts to act as the grieving spokesperson for the disadvantaged exporters of crude oil vis-à-vis the thirsty yet mighty group of the industrialized countries.51 The oil producers not only had little success, if any, in the creation of a new order in the international oil trade following the price surge of the 1970s and early 1980s, they had even failed to act unanimously as a single group with rather identical interests during the oil shocks.52 For instance, in the frst oil shock Iran refused to back a demand by the Arab producing countries to boycott the United States and its oil-dependent allies for their staunch support of Israel, while during the second oil shock it was Saudi Arabia that made the whole energy interruption a passing and less effective happening by pumping too much crude oil into the energy markets.53

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By the time the East Asian states rekindled their diplomacy toward the Middle East after the oil shocks and more vigorously from the 1990s onward, therefore, the major oil producers in the region appeared to be friendlier and for the most part accommodating. And unlike the time when the region’s oil was under the aegis of the Western oil majors, the oil-producing nations were ironically now less hawkish and generally in favor of working with both the Western and Eastern oil companies. The environment in the region had actually become more conducive to East Asia’s recent penchant for “resource diplomacy” through which the Asian nations were striving to secure more access to the Middle East’s abundant sources of fossil fuels.54 Such a new practice of foreign policy aimed essentially to increase the level and scope of predominantly bilateral cooperation involving the East Asian states and their Middle Eastern counterparts in oil and natural gas sectors. Though this approach had the potential to occasionally spur rivalry and even frictions among the Eastern players themselves in some parts of the Middle East, it had no bearing on their new advantageous position in the region’s bustling bazaar of energy.55 A last but not least effective factor which contributed to the rising fortunes of the East Asian states in the Middle East was the emergence of new oil and gas producers as well as the proliferation of new sources of energy besides fossil fuels. With achieving a breakthrough in its drilling technical ability widely known as “fracking,” for instance, the United States surprised the world by becoming a leading oil producer with the prospect of obtaining self-suffciency in energy in a foreseeable future.56 Such a major development in addition to growing investments and the popularity of consuming a larger share of the renewables were certainly not going to convince the Americans to soon end the presence of their military forces in the Middle East, but they could somehow alleviate the energy anxiety of the thirsty Eastern importers there.57 After all, the strategic power of East Asia in the region’s energy sector had been enhanced rather than reduced because all those developments had effectively lessened the erstwhile bargaining position of the Middle Eastern oil producers, one way or the other. DEPENDENCY IS UPENDED: COURTING OIL CONSUMERS The modern trajectory of trading interactions between the East Asian states and their oil-producing counterparts from the Middle East provides some illuminating lessons in different areas. At the end of the day, both sides achieved a lot of wealth, though not concurrently, and their ensuing sense of affuence greatly infuenced their attitudes toward each other and toward

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the other nations. The more money they accumulated, the more powerful and infuential they found themselves. Their newly stockpiles of cash and valuable assets also played a pivotal role in the way they treated their own citizens and planned for their future. In the same way, their sense of dependency and susceptibility was pretty much associated with how they perceived the proper place of their nation in the broader international trade, and whether that recognition was promising or unfavorable.58 That is exactly why many in East Asia were feeling rather gloomy and dispirited during the oil shocks, while their peers in the oil-rich Middle East found themselves overjoyed and jubilant then. In order to illustrate that general mood through a number of brief examples, therefore, providing some historical data and statistics might be both useful and informative. In the period of 1950–1975, East Asia’s annual growth rate of GNP per capita was 3.9 percent, while the fgure for the Middle East region was 5.2 percent.59 In various other areas, such statistical differences between the East Asian and Middle Eastern countries were equally contrasting. As much as the relevant data and facts were available then, a telling case was the per capita of national incomes for a selected number of countries in the two regions. In the period from 1952 until 1954, the average national income per capita was $190 in Japan and $70 in South Korea, while the fgure was $260 in Lebanon, $210 in Turkey, and $120 in Egypt.60 Of course, none of the Mideast nations of Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt were a major oil-producing country in the region, just as the ROK in East Asia had to wait for another decade to commence in earnest its industrialization and modernization programs. Even after the South Koreans under General Park Chung-hee embarked upon their ambitious national agenda of industrialization and economic growth in the early 1960s, they still needed at least two decades before they could present to the world some captivating data and statistics in different areas. Those years turned out to be really a stressful and demanding period when the ROK was even lagging behind its communist archenemy in Pyongyang, the DPRK, by almost any meaningful economic yardstick. In terms of certain facts and statistics, therefore, South Korea was then far behind some Middle Eastern countries. As a matter of fact, in 1976 the nominal GNP per capita and real GNP per capita for Iran were $1,930 and $4,671, while those fgures for South Korea were $670 and $1,501, respectively. The overall share of an East Asian or Middle Eastern country in world trade in that period of time could be equally revealing. In 1978, for instance, the percentage share of major East Asian and Middle Eastern nations in global trade was 8.2 (Japan), 0.9 (South Korea), 0.8 (Taiwan), and 0.7 (China) vis-à-vis 3.9 (Saudi Arabia), 2.5 (Iran), 1.0 (Kuwait), 0.9 (Iraq), and 0.9 (Libya).61

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If those statistics and any other relevant data could previously bring delight and pride to some people in the Middle East, it would hardly be the case in the period that followed the oil shocks. The two oil shocks, the frst one in particular, were a decisive moment when the oil-producing nations in the Middle East, and in some other parts of the developing world, won the battle temporarily, but unfortunately they lost the war somehow permanently. During the oil shocks, a sense of profound dependency on the whims of the oil producers sparked a frisson of distress and agitation among the thirsty advanced and industrializing nations. From that watershed onward, however, such a somber sentiment in the dependency equation between the oil producers and the crude consumers was by and large reversed, though not all stakeholders in each group were really prepared to interpret this hard truth that way.62 But in the decades that followed the oil shocks, nearly all the developments relevant to oil and the international trade in energy made it clear that the oil consumers had ultimately the upper hand no matter if they still had to pin their hopes on the petroleum exporters for a lion’s share of their energy requirements. Essentially, a big problem that afficted the petroleum-producing countries from the frst oil shock onward was huge fuctuations in oil prices. A sudden rise or fall in the price of crude oil often turned out to harm the oil exporters far more than it could pose as a major challenge for the oil importers. There was actually no logical market mechanism or any other persuasive rationale to explain why there had to be so much uncertainty and unpredictability in the energy markets. Even when oil prices skyrocketed and thereby brought in massive amount of cash into an oil-producing state’s coffers, the long-term implications of such sudden windfall could hardly beneft the average citizens of that crude exporter.63 And if oil prices nosedived for a relatively long period of time, those unfortunate citizens like canaries in a coal mine would defnitely be the frst to detect problems, one way or the other. Since chaos and volatility in oil prices happened to be often detrimental to the stability and security of almost all oil-producing countries, many among the crude exporters had little choice but to wish continuously for a robust growth and economic health of the energy consumers. Such yearning, which could hardly be reciprocal, was all but reeking of their desperate dependency for putting up for sale uninterruptedly their precious resources.64 Meanwhile, with the rise of the new giants of oil consumption from the early 1990s onward, many observers and pundits were dragged to a state of euphoria predicting for the energy exporters a very bright and promising future unprecedented since the time of the oil shocks. In addition to a swiftly growing China with its vast demand for oil and other sources of fossil fuels, the prospective rise of the thirsty elephantine consumers like India and Brazil was envisioned to provide new golden opportunities for the energy exporters to virtually ride on the crest of a wave. But the crux of the problem was that

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this new generation of colossus consumers only exacerbated the complicated situation which often troubled the energy exporters. Besides causing more fuctuations and instability in the international energy markets, their patterns of and orders for energy transactions were relatively capricious and subject to more unpredictability because foreign and even energy policies of these rising economic giants could be infused, sometimes at the cost of a major energy producer, by the nature and scope of their larger, if not more important, interactions with the powerful and industrialized countries in the West.65 As a corollary to that, the oil-producing nations were now playing kissyface with the new rising economic powers as the future of many crude exporters in the Middle East and other regions was seen to be hinged on a steady and surfeit supply of energy resources to fuel those quickly transforming economic juggernauts. There happened to be even some sort of rivalry developing among the oil-producing nations with regard to offering certain advantages, such as surprisingly selling oil at a bargain price, in order to pique the interest of the newly industrializing consumers of energy. This was an approach practiced more by some energy producers of the Persian Gulf region, especially Iran, which, as a result of their domestic political circumstances as well as the nature and direction of their national economy, had additionally deepened their own dependency on the new rising oil consumers in the East. This group of rather hopeless oil producers in the Middle East could certainly boost the advantageous position of the Eastern importers in the region’s expanding energy markets.66

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WRONG DIRECTION: ECONOMIC REFORMS WERE NO PANACEA In spite of their enormous potentials to practically overhaul for good the situation of any nation, natural resources may not pay off all they are cracked up to be. In a nutshell, natural resources can cut both ways. The contemporary history abounds with the successful countries which were virtually bereft of natural resources, yet they could at long last create enormous wealth by making the most of their own unique comparative advantages and economies of scale, though not their startling accomplishments all should be attributed only to what they possessed themselves and what they planned for.67 Quite to the contrary, however, the modern world bears witness to a rather large group of countries whose mammoth wealth of natural resources turned out to be deleterious and inimical to their overall national security and well-being. Of course, not any type of natural resource had such a malign effect. What proved to be the case was the vast reserves of fossil fuels, especially oil, the

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possession of which came to be a great hindrance in the national trajectory of many countries of the developing regions, including the Middle East. After all, the epidemic gave birth to the “oil curse” thesis according to which the main political and economic travails in the petroleum-producing countries of, especially, the developing world could be attributed to the infuence of oil. Since those nations with a lot of oil ended up to be poorer than many of their counterparts in other countries which did not have any oil, it was argued that such a “resource curse” or the “Dutch disease” had actually prevented the average citizens of those societies to engage in truly creative activities and innovative businesses.68 Since they were not able to operate in an internationally competitive environment, they had less chances to enjoy a better life by taking advantage of a variety of goods and services generally available through genuinely market mechanisms. An oil-based national economy, moreover, could provide fewer decent and agreeable opportunities for certain groups of the population, including women and unprotected minorities, because the job market of such societies was normally small and the people from those categories were thereby frst to be discriminated against whenever a new chance of employment came along.69 That is why the “rentier state” theory argues that opportunities in such societies are not offered on an equal and meritocratic basis. Some people and families in an oil-exporting country become enormously rich simply through rent-seeking activities and privileged connections to the political offcials and the institutions which they have sway over. Besides, the functioning government of an oil-producing nation is generally large and gives rise to a lot of abuses and corrupt practices because the administrative procedures tend to be cagey and less transparent. More importantly, the political systems of many oil-producing countries in the developing regions are by and large less democratic as the nature and structure of the underpinning politico-economic systems of such states present formidable obstacles to their openness and widely accepted democratic reforms. When reviewing all those besetting political, economic, and social disturbances rendered by oil, therefore, it is no coincidence why the Middle East region did not become a menacing challenge for the energy advantage and safety of the thirsty oil consumers from the East in the long run.70 Roughly from the 1970s onward when the oil industry emerged to make up for a lion’s share of the annual national budget in many petroleum-producing countries of the Middle East, their overdependence on crude oil incomes continued to affict them with a whole array of political, economic, and social malaises. While those countries had little politico-economic differences with their counterparts in other parts of the developing world prior to the 1980s, the domineering role of the revenues coming from oil exports prevented them to pay enough attention to human capital or invest suffciently in some

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other productive economic domains such as industry, agriculture, and so on. Despite being developed into a full-fedged rentier state, however, almost all the petroleum producers in the region were at the same time cognizant of the importance of carrying out some economic reforms lest their systems run unexpectedly into insurmountable troubles rendered by their heavy reliance on the oil industry and its resultant ramifcations. But even those Mideast states which started earlier or took more doses of reforms were by and large unsuccessful in terms of ridding themselves, and their region, of overdependence on energy revenues or coming out as an advanced country with genuinely transparent systems as well as democratic political and economic foundations.71 The United Arab Emirates, particularly its Dubai entrepôt, is often cited as a rather successful example of carrying through economic and fnancial reorganization in the Middle East. The UAE’s accomplishments over the past several decades galvanized some of its Arab neighbors, especially Qatar, into embracing similar measures to make certain alterations to their energy income-driven economic systems. But a big problem was that the reform initiatives in the UAE were implemented on a relatively selected basis, both geographically and structurally. Consequently, economic investments and reform steps were largely constrained to the country’s trade and tourism sectors from which Dubai emerged as the largest benefciary. Various required political and administrative reforms were also never included in the reform packages adopted by the Emiratis, making their national style of governance hardly distinguished from many other Arab governments in the Middle East.72 More importantly, a great deal of what the UAE achieved could hardly be materialized without the existence of a slew of regional and international restrictions which the West imposed on some other major countries in the region, particularly Iran. Derailed from its erstwhile agenda of modernization and economic development, Iran under the Islamic Republic made various attempts, from the late 1980s onward, to rebuild its economic and fnancial structures by designating to privatize a rather large number of state enterprises and publicly owned businesses. But several rounds of privatization programs did not really reduce the substantial role of the government in economic activities in favor of truly market forces. As a result of some bureaucratic collusions and preferential treatments during the process of privatization, certain handpicked individuals and entities won the ownership of the offered shares, creating a new semigovernmental sector which emerged to eventually preside over more than half of the country’s GDP.73 The government continued to rely on its oil revenues to manage the affairs of the state, and many of the recently privatized entities could do little, if any, to free the country from an omnifarious array of economic and fnancial limitations levied against the Iranian citizens one decade after another.

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In comparison to the UAE and Iran, however, Saudi Arabia embarked upon some economic and fnancial reforms in recent times when the ruling Saudis realized that their security and survival in the long run hinged on reshaping their rather outmoded social and economic structures. Indeed, when the socalled Arab Spring sent shock waves through the whole authoritarian and infexible states in the region, the Saudi kingdom happened to be among the last Arab countries to ineluctably carve out its own reform policies. After excluding entirely their political establishment from the reform agenda, the Saudi rulers vowed unexpectedly to minimize the corrosive effects of petroleum on their national economy by pouring massive investments into some other productive sectors beyond the oil industry. In a country where the energy industry accounted for about 90 percent of its GDP and yet employed less than 2 percent of its active labor force, however, it could be really an inconceivable vision of the Saudis to become a non-oil economy in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.74

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A NEW GLOBAL CHAIN OF PRODUCTION: EASTERN GOODS DOMINATE MARKETS A near-total dependency on imports has long become a common characteristic of many national economies across the Middle East, illustrating as another indicator why the region’s economies have generally been moving in the wrong direction at least for the past several decades. This is a malaise which has particularly afficted many oil-producing countries in the Middle East, and has wreaked havoc on various great potentials for regional integration and cooperation throughout the region. Historically, the Middle Eastern nations used to buy and sell primarily among themselves, but the ascendancy of the oil industry changed markedly such an old predisposition in the region.75 Now, a number of major energy exporters in the region sometimes import everything—lock, stock, and barrel—from outside the Middle East at the cost of the region’s own brands and products. Such unhealthy trend has thereby had deleterious impacts on the economies of those countries in the Middle East which are not endowed with the wealth of fossil fuels, but they have enormous possibilities in various other felds, ranging from mineral water to fsheries and from traditional crafts to agricultural products.76 As a matter of fact, the trend toward massive importation of goods and services, especially in the oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf region, snowballed in the era of consumption bonanza that followed the frst oil shock of 1973. When the prices of crude oil skyrocketed, the fow of petrodollars into the region gave the governments a great impetus to curry favor with their citizens through offering them a lot of foreign products. By doing

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so, they virtually turned Walt Rostow’s theory of leaner stages of economic growth on its head. Instead of investing their vast amount of oil revenues in some productive activities, the oil exporters in the region just dashed for the “age of mass consumption” as the last stage of what Rostow required to achieve the status of an advanced and developed country after experiencing sequentially the previous four stages.77 More surprisingly, in some Arab oil producers of the Middle East, a traditional society continued to engage in an orgy of mass consumption in total disregard to what was going on in some other swiftly developing and industrializing regions, particularly East Asia, where the Rostow principles became in effect the roadmap to modernization and advancement. In the aftermath of the frst oil shock when the fow of foreign products engulfed the crude oil-exporting countries of the Persian Gulf region, however, the Western brands and products could generally dominate the local markets and become rather popular among many consumers who had benefted from the petrodollars, one way or the other. In fact, it was a time when the American and European goods and services (and even a number of British brands) could easily fnd their way into all major international markets across the world. The Western brands and products were in demand then not because they had a high quality with affordable prices, but because they used to be the only foreign goods which many picky purchasers outside the Western countries could actually fnd in their local markets. After all, the Japanese products were still struggling to pique the interest of a more number of international consumers because their previously negative reputation had made many foreign customers to label them as “a lady of light morals” or “inferior quality.”78 Meanwhile, the Japanese brands and goods were doing their utmost to close the gap, aiming to at least be in the same league as the Western products not only in the Middle East but in the markets of the West as well. That goal was at the heart of the Japanese agenda of industrialization and economic development in the post–World War II period. After they revived their Meiji era’s motto of “catching up with the West” roughly from the early 1950s onward, the new Japanese “GNPism” now concentrated on the economic and fnancial fronts of one-upmanship with the West. Several years after testing the waters and fying kites here and there, therefore, part of that noble objective could be materialized through competing with various well-established brands and goods promoted by the Western companies in the bustling markets of the Middle East amid the remunerative boom that followed the frst oil shock period. As a consequence, the slowly evolving and progressing “Made in Japan” products found a propitious moment to enter the Mideast markets with the ultimate goal of replacing the well-known and thriving Western contenders in the region in the long run.79

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Apart from Japan, the Western brands and products in the Middle East soon faced other ferce rivals from the East; the so-called Asian Tigers. This new breed of highly ambitious Asian contestants, which themselves had took a leaf out of the Japanese book of modernization and economic development, proved to be a menacing challenge to the one-time domineering position of the Western goods in the Middle East and many other international markets, no matter if they needed more time to show their true mettle among their increasing foreign customers. Among those four smaller aspirants of the East, however, South Korea and Taiwan managed over time to capture a larger share of the Middle Eastern markets at the cost of the Western countries which had been instrumental in facilitating the ground for a gradual yet wider presence of the Asian brands and goods throughout the region. Of course, the Western brands and products did not vanish in total from the Middle Eastern markets, but their teetering standing in the region was to be further threatened by the arrival of “Made in China” goods.80 Compared to Japan’s indefatigable determination to catch up with the West in general, China under Mao Zedong vowed on January 28, 1958, to catch up with Britain within a decade and half.81 But as a result of its visionary and misguided politico-economic policies, two decades later the entire Chinese foreign trade, including exports and imports, was hardly $14 billion as opposed to Japan’s $141 billion, the ROK’s $21 billion, and Taiwan’s $18 billion.82 When the communist China embarked in earnest upon its policy of “reform and opening-up” (gaige kaifang) in 1978, therefore, the country’s total share of the world’s trade was virtually less than 1 percent.83 Within a rather short period of three and a half decades, moreover, the Chinese managed to become the largest trading nation in the world, capturing some one-fourth of its annual transactions in 2013. Still, some ebullient optimist observers and pundits see a brighter future for China, predicting that by the middle of this century the size of its overexpanding economy will become in all likelihood as twice large as that of the United States and bigger than all the economic power of the Western countries combined. By the time the bustling markets in the Middle Eastern were fooded with the upgraded types of Chinese brands and products, the retreat of the Western goods and services from their previously imperious position in the region had effectively been turned into a rout. At a later stage, the walloping success of Chinese products put heavy pressures on a number of established and popular brands from other East Asian countries, especially Japan. Although the Chinese failed to displace in total their East Asian rivals from every Middle Eastern market, they made a name for themselves by becoming the “number one” trading partner of almost all sovereign nations throughout the region. Still, there happened to be some fourishing markets in the Middle East, particularly Iran, where a lion’s share of all foreign brands and products supplied

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by both Western and Eastern manufacturers was railroaded out of the local bazaars which had little option but to import a larger volume of Chinese stuff.84 A main reason was that due to the mounting international pressures put on the Iranians by the West, cultivating all-out connections to China, as a rescuer, had been agreed upon by the policymakers across the political spectrum of the Islamic Republic.

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CIRCUMVENTING SANCTIONS: ANOTHER WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY Although exerting pressures through economic means is as old as the history of politics and statecraft, however, hardly any great power in the past had all the wherewithal to use this tool of foreign policy as extensive and all-encompassing as those exercised by the United States of America over the past several decades. The U.S. mastery over a whole raft of advanced technological capabilities such as satellite and the Internet made it possible for the American politicians to more than ever bludgeon their foreign enemies and adversaries into certain policy behaviors.85 Buttressed by its technological primacy and military superiority, moreover, the domineering economic and fnancial power of the United States gave all the necessary means to Washington to punish, sometimes singlehandedly, any foreign country which was not inclined to acquiescence to the American global ambitions and hegemonic rhetoric.86 Even other great powers such as China and Russia were not really safe from various forms of economic and fnancial coercion applied by successive U.S. administrations in Washington. Regionally, no part of the world other than the Middle East came under a comprehensive and long-lasting regime of sundry sanctions imposed by the United States. Sure, the communist governments of Cuba in Latin America and North Korea in East Asia experienced many decades of various economic pressures levied by Washington, but both of them were small states with relatively limited volumes of commercial interactions with the outside world, and their sanctions regimes bore no comparison with those exercised against some major energy producing countries in the Middle East during the past several decades. As a matter of fact, all the three Mideast countries—Libya, Iraq, and Iran—which were targeted for the greater parts of the U.S.-drafted hard-hitting measures in the region happened to be large and oil-rich territories with extensive engagement in international trade.87 Among these three Middle Eastern countries, however, Iran became the greatest victim of the U.S.-imposed regimes of crippling sanctions which also played an instrumental role in adding to the economic advantages of the East Asian states in the region.

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After the ascendancy of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and more precisely upon the time a mysterious group of utopian and starry-eyed revolutionaries seized in one fell swoop the American embassy in Tehran, the Iranian people in general came under an incessant and inclusive regime of heavyhanded sanctions which continues until the present day. By and large, the successive U.S. administrations since then either renewed or reinforced the punitive and crippling measures which were levied against the Iranians often after singling out their political system as revolutionary, radical, revisionist, terrorist, extremist, expansionist, arsonist, incendiary, mad, monster, crazy, rogue, evil, and so on. The bottom line was about weakening Iran and denying it all the signifcant economic and technological opportunities which the Persian Gulf country required to eventually emerge and function as a truly independent and powerful player in the Middle East, if not in the world, in lockstep with its envied historical destiny and enormous potentials nationally, regionally, and internationally.88 The United States, moreover, used Iran as a bogeyman in order to achieve a whole array of domestic and especially foreign policy objectives, including the exercise of its hegemony in the Middle East and unceasingly lucrative sale of massive armaments to the well-heeled and pliant Arab states in the region. Although the United States and some of its friends and close allies in the Middle East came out as the biggest benefciaries of the sanctions imposed on Iran, however, the Iranian citizens across the socioeconomic spectrum paid the highest price for bearing the brunt of swingeing economic, fnancial, and technological restrictions lasted for more than four decades.89 The crippling sanctions affected the whole population indiscriminately, and the unprotected and susceptible segments of the society especially suffered the most. It would not be preposterous to even assert that the U.S.-led serial regimes of the sanctions which the West levied against the Iranian people hurt the country on the whole more than what several very powerful nuclear weapons could infict at once. Besides their devastating social and scientifc repercussions for which the future generations of Iran will still pay a hefty price, the sanctions had certainly a lot of disastrous economic and fnancial implications which were consequential for the Persian Gulf country’s domestic and foreign policies. The sanctions regimes shored up unprecedentedly the state control in Iran both in political and economic domains at the cost of the civil society and market forces. They created a lot of menacing barriers for the private sector to freely and easily engage in symbiotic and remunerative interactions with the outside world. Discouraged and disappointed by those forbidding obstacles, a very large crowd of creative and talented forces often chose to leave the country permanently, giving rise to yet another deleterious phenomenon of brain drain and capital drain. Healthy and correct business practices were severely damaged, and rent-seeking activities and various other types of corrupt

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practices got exacerbated.90 More importantly, the sanctions railroaded ruthlessly a great number of frmly and long-established domestic brands and products out of the business over years, putting a relatively large and consumerist market of 80 million population more than ever on the whims of foreign products. That is why almost all the countries from East Asia found a golden opportunity to tap into in a sanctioned-Iran.91 The increasing penetration of East Asia’s brands and goods into Iran, however, came as a consequence of the Islamic Republic’s approach of Looking-East. Cold-shouldered by the West and discouraged by many other non-Western nations for various politico-ideological as well as economic and technological reasons, the Iranian government heavily capitalized on East Asia to acquire a great deal of its domestic requirements. Iran gradually became more dependent on the East as it faced little option but to ship larger cargoes of its crude oil to the thirsty Asian economies. Compounding the problem was the fact that the Persian Gulf country could not return back a lion’s share of its oil incomes, compelling it to import a larger volume of the products manufactured by the East Asian companies. In the same way, Iran needed its trade partners in East Asia to sell a signifcant share of the non-oil products which it could no longer export easily to the West or other non-Asian destinations. As a corollary to that, the East Asian states, especially South Korea and China, captured a signifcant share of Iran’s towering imports.92 Regarding the ROK, long before the liberal government of Moon Jae-in kowtowed to the Trump administration’s policy of arm-twisting upon its unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and the follow-up intensifcation of the sanctions regimes against Tehran, the conservative governments of Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye had enabled a slew of Korean businesses to make a mint from the markets of Iran. During those years, South Korea reached a crescendo of its economic, and even cultural, interactions with Iran despite the fact that the two countries were not really close politically and ideologically. In particular, the South Korean brands of Samsung and LG managed to dominate the Iranian bankable markets of furniture, mobile, and other electronic devices, while the country’s insatiable market of automobile and personal vehicles was equally fooded by the Korean chaebol of Hyundai, Kia, and Ssangyang. That was no coincidence why when Park Geun-hye paid an offcial visit to Iran in May 2016, her teeming entourage was to be dubbed “the largest business delegation in the history of Korean presidential trips” to a foreign country.93 Later, however, South Korea under Park’s successor, Moon Jae-in, had to toe the line in much the same way as the successive governments in Tokyo and Taipei had followed inescapably for years concerning the regime of Iran sanctions. Still, China was as always a major exception. Because of their

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great power status and rising economic power, the Chinese now had better opportunities to beneft from their staying power in Iran in the absence of many other more resourceful Western and Eastern competitors. Even when China needed to occasionally engage in some secretive quid pro quo deals with the United States regarding Iran, it still could take advantage of Iranian limitations and plan for its long-term economic presence in the Middle Eastern country by pouring a lot of hard capital and wanted technology into its energy industry and other infrastructure projects.94 Compared to its East Asian rivals, moreover, China was able to purchase larger cargoes of Iran’s crude oil and non-energy exports over a longer period of time, making it almost mandatory for the Iranian government and its partners from the private sector to prioritize the Chinese businesses for various sanctions-busting measures they pursued relentlessly at home and abroad. As part of its practical initiatives to bypass the stringent regimes of sanctions through the East, therefore, Iran had to put to good use a number of convenient markets in the neighboring countries. This strategy, which effectively brought to bear a larger presence of the East Asian brands and products in the Iranian markets both through legal and surreptitious means, greatly infuenced the scope and size of those countries’ economic interactions with Asia. As a case in point, such an Iranian approach to dodge sanctions turned out to beneft the United Arab Emirates the most in the region. The UAE’s growing fnancial institutions as well as its hectic commercial ports all had something to gain by functioning as an intermediary of sorts between Iran and its partners across Asia.95 For that reason, many preening and self-satisfed political and economic offcials from the UAE could continuously boast about a new surge in the volume and value of their trading relationship with many countries in the East. All such developments were not also irrelevant to a growing trend in the region to ditch the American dollar in favor of Asian and local currencies while doing business. AN END TO THE OIL DOLLAR HEGEMONY One of the critical, and often less debated, implications of the frst oil shock was the reinforcement of the U.S. dollar as the world’s hegemon currency and its instrumental role in the follow-up recycling process of the crude oil exporters’ surplus petrodollars to fnance defcits in some other quickly industrializing and developing nations. The international hegemony of the American greenback became impossible to challenge because international transactions, the oil trade in particular, were to be conducted in the U.S. dollar, and the central banks around the world also continued to hold dollar reserves equal to their own national currency in circulation. Consequently,

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the domineering status of dollar provided the United States with a whole host of benefts, including a more American power to control the international monetary system, borrowing excessively from other nations at lowest interest rate, thanks to the enormous amount of dollars in circulation globally, fexing its fnancial muscles in order to underwrite its never-ending military adventures abroad, and so on. It appeared, therefore, that the petrodollars were at the kernel of the U.S. dollar hegemony, and the Americans were most probably prepared to do anything in their power to counteract any move that could potentially challenge the preeminent status of their currency and its tremendous advantages for the United States.96 That is why when the administration of George W. Bush invaded Iraq in March 2003, a different cluster of theories attributed the move to the oil dollar factor. Instead of linking the Iraq War to the 9/11 incident or the Iraqi WMDs program, these theories drew a connection between the U.S.-led invasion and a dangerous decision by the Saddam regime in Baghdad to actually sell its crude oil to a foreign currency other than the U.S. dollar. In a sharp contrast to an established and enduring norm committed by the OPEC members to receive their oil incomes in the U.S. dollar, Iraq under Saddam chose in November 2000 to become the frst OPEC country to sell its crude oil in euro. The United States had then little option, as such theories argued, but to topple the Iraqi regime lest another OPEC member dare to mess with the hegemonic position of the U.S. dollar within the international trade of energy. The greenback had long undergirded the American military operations, and it was now time for the army to make it up by overthrowing resolutely a political regime in the Middle East which had put the future of U.S. military might in serious jeopardy by favoring an alternative currency for its oil transactions.97 Whether or not the foregoing theories could hold water, the reality was that the euro currency had started to challenge the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and its economic weight in the world since the end of the twentieth century. Introduced in 1999 and entered wide circulation in 2002, euro soon became a popular currency in many parts of the world, particularly in Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and even in the Middle East.98 Top European leaders and their upbeat proponents in the academic and media circles were also spinning the circulation and growing popularity of euro as another glaring success of their long-cherished goal of a continent-wide integration and cohesion. Many of them had already thought about the vast benefts and privileges which the Americans had enjoyed for decades in the wake of their dollar hegemony, and that was why they had strived hard over years to eventually come up with the idea of a single currency, euro. For some EU countries like France, the creation of euro was also considered to be a major step toward curtailing their uncomfortable economic, fnancial, and security dependence on the United States.99

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Meanwhile, the advent of euro was not the only factor which had threatened the privileged status of the U.S. dollar as the world’s hegemon currency. Perpetual military conficts, fnancial crises like the Asian fnancial crisis of 1997 and some of the ensuing measures which were adopted by the Asian leaders such as the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), and, more importantly, the rise or decline of economic powers all had raised the necessity of issuing globally a rival currency for the U.S. dollar. With the hope of propping up yen as a leading international currency, for instance, the Japanese tried hard for such eventuality from the time they had become the second-largest economy in the world behind the United States.100 But despite implementing a large-scale liberalization in their capital markets after 1984, the Japanese yen failed to at long last threaten the supremacy of the U.S. dollar. For various other security and structural domestic impediments, moreover, the Japanese were not prepared at all to pose a threat to the prominent global status of the U.S. dollar.101 But the Chinese were not really going to follow the same practice once their economic weight grew exponentially and eclipsed Japan by becoming the second biggest economy in the world in 2010. Even before emerging as the second-largest economy, many Chinese used to harbor some grudges against the U.S. dollar. They had this view that the Americans had actually used their dollar hegemony to rein in Japan’s catching up with the United States economically in the 1980s. So, those Chinese worried that the United States might again take advantage of its international dollar supremacy in order to put a spoke in the wheels of China’s economic juggernaut before it manages to approach points of no return. Furthermore, the Chinese regarded the dollar hegemony as the main secret behind the superpower status of the United States in the world, enabling the Americans to enjoy high living standards at the cost of other nations, including China. In a more practical notion, however, many relevant Chinese offcials and experts were obsessed how to put into action their own crucial objective of internationalizing yuan, or RMB, and thereby becoming a prominent fnancial power in the international monetary system pari passu with their surging economic clout.102 In fact, part of the agenda for RMB internationalization could be achieved in the Middle East where the Chinese came out to become the biggest importer of crude oil from the region. The Chinese government only needed to persuade its Mideast partners to use yuan as a new mechanism for settling their two-way commercial interactions. This approach eventually led to the signing of several agreements or MOUs regarding currency swap or utilization of local currencies for doing transactions between China and its business partners across the Middle East.103 Surprisingly, a number of close friends and allies of the United States among the energy exporters of the region expressed their willingness to settle some of their commercial deals with China by

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using only local currencies. Since such a measure could actually beneft both parties in varied forms fnancially and economically, more and more Middle Eastern nations jumped on the bandwagon, demonstrating their inclination to sign similar accords with other important economies from the East, including Japan, South Korea, and India. Vowing to ditch the U.S. dollar in its oil trade with the East, Iran emerged in the Middle East as the most proponent of using local currencies to settle its commercial transactions with East Asia. After moving to switch the reserves of its central bank from the U.S. dollar to euro a short while after the Trump administration took offce in Washington, the Iranian government was now determined to as much as possible bring down its erstwhile dependency on the U.S. greenback by increasingly tapping into euro and several Asian currencies. As Iran came under more international restrictions regarding its oil exports and oil incomes, the situation further reduced the role of the U.S. dollar in the country’s trade with the outside world partly because the Iranians were forced to barter some of their oil and non-oil exports with Asian products. Given the prospects of larger multifaceted interactions between East Asia and the Middle East in a foreseeable future, the Iranian experience would predictably smooth the way for a greater presence and role of the Asian currencies such as the Chinese yuan in the region.104

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THE EAST ASIAN DEVELOPMENTAL PATH: MAGNETISM OF A MODEL Halfway through the 1970s, the purposive political establishment in Tehran under the Pahlavi monarchy had the intention of catching up with the Japanese and become in effect the “Japan of the Middle East.” It was long before the “East Asian developmental model” was introduced to the greater Middle East region, and the wider world, as a tempting template to reproduce. The American Hollywood was yet to produce the blockbuster movie Godzilla, and China was still an isolated and closed country stuck in its own Maoist dystopia. The “Asian Tigers” were essentially nowhere to be seen as they still needed some another two decades to be fully grown and mature, though the rising Japanese giant was already there to almost always overshadow their anticipated presence on the world stage. In those days, few people among top political and economic elites in Tehran, and the rest of the Middle East, knew what was really going on in Japan, and probably fewer had a frm grasp of what it could entail to redo the Japanese trajectory in an Iranian context.105 What mattered the most about Japan then, however, was the possibility of becoming an industrialized and economically developed country roughly within a short period of time. What essentially signifed was mouthwatering

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data on economic growth and spellbinding statistics on making great strides in fnancial domains. In order to arrive in the “gateways of civilization,” Iran like Japan had to heavily focus on building industries and developing mines besides taking care of other economic sectors such as agriculture and fsheries. The country also needed to come up with new national brands and creative products all of which could at long last contribute to a more competitive GDP as a yardstick against which an industrializing nation’s level of development and progress could be clearly sized up. In sum, many among the Iranian policymakers appraised the captivating Japanese experience primarily in terms of certain objective and materialistic elements which could provide many other non-Western societies a blueprint for achievable industrialization and economic progress.106 Aside from those largely worldly and empirical aspects of development and growth, however, the appealing Japanese path seemed to touch on some other fascinating characteristics which were rather diffcult, if not inconceivable, to pinpoint in the Western model of modernization and progress. By and large, the Japanese had managed to preserve some of their traditional attitudes and quaint old customs in spite of their fast-track push for material gains and earthly accomplishments. They appeared to be more successful than their peers in other parts of the developed and industrialized world in terms of making balance between modernity and tradition. For a topsy-turvy society like Iran which was already in the throes of a ferce confict and Manichean schism between these two rather contrasting worlds, therefore, the Japanese narrative could offer some illuminating lessons to take notice of. By making reference to Japan, the Iranian rulers could at least assure some of their traditionalist and conservative constituencies that the campaign underway in the country for swift scoring of material progress and worldly attainments was not going to eventually cost their patriarchy, masculinity, religiosity, and so on.107 At the end of the day, the Pahlavi rulers were removed from power and Iran failed to become a “second Japan.” Under the succeeding political system of the Islamic Republic, the idea of learning from the Japanese experience did not die away as a number of more educated and thoughtful individuals among the Islamist political elites in Tehran later talked about the possibility of becoming “an Islamic Japan.” But for many disinterested and discontented intellectuals outside the new circles of political and economic power, however, it sounded somehow farfetched to come forth as one of the rising “Asian Tigers” which reached a position of prominence internationally by the late 1980s and early 1990s.108 It now grieved many Iranian experts and observers to either promote or give publicity to the successful performance and achievement of any of those four “Asian Tigers” which were a virtual nonentity when Iran had embarked upon its own ambitious agenda of modernization and

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development.109 All in all, Iran under the Islamic Republic emerged at long last neither as “an Islamic Japan” nor as another “Asian Tiger”; in some ways and based on some features, the country ended up at the status of what may be characterized gloomily and lugubriously as “an Islamic North Korea.” Besides Iran, the thought of at least learning from, if not modeling oneself on, the East Asian trajectory of industrialization and economic development was often discussed among the intellectual and literati classes of some important and populous countries of the Middle East such as Egypt. Still, many infuential and powerful offcials of those ineffcient and authoritarian political systems across the region were rather skittish to chime in because the prospect of eventually becoming another developed and democratic Japan or being turned into one of those advanced and relatively representative democracies of the “Asian Tigers” had to be really taken with a pinch of salt. After all, the political systems and offcial institutions of those triumphant Asian nations had played an instrumental role in the transformation and betterment of their respective societies, while their generally unprepared and unproductive counterparts in many Middle Eastern countries were hardly up to the daunting task of breakneck development or actually what some call “compressed modernity.”110 It made a lot of difference, however, when China, another much larger behemoth from the region of East Asia, crawled out of the twentieth century as a thriving archetype of development and economic progress. For the frst time, there was now a propitious ground for the “East Asian developmental model” to be discussed rather widely and keenly across the politico-ideological spectrum throughout the Middle East. The marvel of the Chinese course of action, as many of its staunch proponents argued here and there, was that the rising East Asian giant had managed to reach an envious level of development and economic growth, while at the same time it had remained rather assertively as an illiberal and authoritarian great power.111 On top of that, many of the early architects and planners of various industrialization and development programs in the communist China were not even that educated professionally or accomplished personally, giving this heartening promise to many enthusiasts in different parts of the Middle East that their incumbent political and economic leaders would probably score the same, if not better, once they became fully determined to repeat the Chinese experience.112 Deep down, the soaring appeal of the “East Asian model” among the Middle Eastern elites could simply chalk up more points for the East Asian states which were now engaged proactively throughout the region. The notion boosted their strategic edge on a silver platter, bringing about a whole host of economic and fnancial opportunities to tap into. As the average citizen and shopkeeper in the Middle East got a more favorable impression of East Asia, the markets and marketing agents in the region found it much easier

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to promote and peddle a growing variety of brands and products supplied by the Asian companies.113 Not only looking-East became subsequently an undeniable aspect of foreign policymaking in almost all Middle Eastern countries, moreover, the East Asian representatives and envoys to the region also encountered a more pleasing and agreeable environment in various diplomatic, academic, and media circles of their host nations.114 Not unexpectedly, many Middle Eastern authorities and decision-makers both in the public and private sectors were expressing repeatedly in any appropriate occasion their willingness to learn from and put into practice various experiences gleaned from the East Asian trajectory of industrialization and economic development.

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NOTES 1. Owen, The Middle East in the World Economy, p. 1. 2. On a chronological basis, Iran started to export crude oil in 1913, Iraq in 1928, Bahrain in 1932, Saudi Arabia in 1938, and Kuwait in 1946. Peter Sluglett, “The Cold War in the Middle East,” in Louise Fawcett, ed., International Relations of the Middle East, 2nd Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 44–60. 3. Graeme A. M. Davies, “The Changing Character of Iranian Foreign Policy,” in Ryan K. Beasley, Juliet Kaarbo, Jeffrey S. Lantis, and Michael T. Snarr, eds., Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective: Domestic and International Infuences on State Behavior, 2nd Edition (Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2013), pp. 204–222. 4. Jones, Divide and Perish, p. 47. 5. Leif Wenar, Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules That Run the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 119, 177. 6. Barry R. Posen, “Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony,” International Security 28, no. 1 (2003): 5–46. 7. Russell H. Fifeld, and George E. Pearcy, Geopolitics in Principle and Practice (Boston and New York: Ginn and Company, 1944), pp. 37, 42–43. 8. Joyner, “Introduction.” 9. James A. Bill, “The Geometry of Instability in the Gulf: The Rectangle of Tension,” in Jamal S. al-Suwaidi, ed., Iran and the Gulf: A Search for Stability (Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, 1996), pp. 99–117. 10. Ichiro Nakayama, Industrialization of Japan (Tokyo: The Center for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1963), p. 19. 11. Hilton L. Root, Capital and Collusion: The Political Logic of Global Economic Development (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2006), pp. 47, 74. 12. Kent E. Calder, “Asia’s Empty Tank,” Foreign Affairs 75, no. 2 (March– April 1996): 55–69. 13. U.S. Congress, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, Oil for Infuence: How Saddam Used Oil to Reward Politicians

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under the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. S. Hrg. 109–185 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Offce, May 2005), p. 841. 14. Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (New York: Random House, 2006), pp. 17, 126; and Wayne Baxtrom, America Hanging by a Thread (Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2007), p. 260. 15. Isaiah Bowman, The New World: Problems in Political Geography (Nonkerson-Hudson, NY: World Book Company, 1921), pp. 74, 468. 16. Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), p. 542. 17. Korea Foundation for Middle East Studies, Economic Development and Outlook of the Middle East, the First International Seminar, June 11–14, 1976 (Seoul: Korea Foundation for Middle East Studies, 1976), p. i. 18. Christopher Tugendhat, Oil: The Biggest Business (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1968), p. 292. 19. The United States itself became an oil importer as early as 1949, when the American oil companies were virtually in charge of at least 40 percent of the Middle Eastern oil, and the Europeans presided over the rest. See Sluglett, “The Cold War in the Middle East.” 20. Philip H. Gordon, “Trading Places: America and Europe in the Middle East,” Survival 47, no. 2 (2005): 87–99; and Daniel Ammann, The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009). 21. Franklin D. Roosevelt famously told Lord Halifax, the British Ambassador to Washington, “Persian oil is yours. We share the oil of Kuwait and Iraq. As for Saudi Arabian oil, it’s ours.” Cited from: Edward R. Kantowicz, Coming Apart, Coming Together: The World in the 20th Century, Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), p. 165. 22. Anthony Sampson, The Seven Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Made (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1975), pp. 21–23. 23. Sedgwick, “Britain and the Middle East.” 24. Ian Bremmer, Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2012), pp. 47, 57. 25. Scott L. Montgomery, The Powers that Be: Global Energy for the TwentyFirst Century and Beyond (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010), p. 41. 26. It is actually attributed to the British leader’s address to the parliament in 1721, stating that “it is evident that nothing so much contributes to promote the public well-being as the exportation of manufactured goods and the importation of foreign raw material.” Cited from: Clyde Prestowitz, The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the PostDollar Era (New York: Free Press, 2010), p. 47. 27. Pfaltzgraff, Energy Issues and Alliance Relationships, p. 5. 28. In fact, the consumption of oil in Japan tripled in the period of 1960–1965. More importantly, the role of oil as the principal source of energy in Japan ratcheted up from just 40 percent in 1960 to 62 percent in 1965, and to more than 70 percent in 1975. Pfaltzgraff, Energy Issues and Alliance Relationships, p. 17.

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29. Robert A. Manning, “The Asian Energy Predicament,” Survival 42, no. 3 (2000): 73–88. 30. Armitage, “US–Japan Relations.” 31. Precisely, the United States imposed an oil embargo on Japan from the frst day of August 1941. 32. Sudo, Southeast Asia in Japanese Security Policy, p. 32. 33. Thanks to its active Maoism and isolationist approach in international relations, China could escape the frst oil shock unscathed, though it took the East Asian country roughly another two decades before becoming a net oil importer in 1993. Based on some analysis, China even benefted from the frst oil shock. For more details, see John F. Copper, China’s Global Role: An Analysis of Peking’s National Power Capabilities in the Context of an Evolving International System (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1980), p. 53. 34. David E. Brown, Africa’s Booming Oil and Natural Gas Exploration and Production: National Security Implications for the United States and China (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute and US Army War College Press, 2013), p. 82. 35. Although China had previously imported crude oil, it became a net importer only in 1993. 36. In point of fact, it all happened as Britain could exercise a heavy control over the oil industry in Iran from the time of its discovery in 1908 until the early 1950s when the Iranians managed, albeit at a hefty price, to nationalize their oil industry. 37. James Kynge, China Shakes the World: The Rise of a Hungry Nation (London: Orion Books, 2006), pp. 218–219. 38. Tugendhat, Oil, p. 113. 39. In same way, it was unsurprising because Japan had become desperately dependent on the United Sates for some 80 percent of its oil requirements by the end of the 1930s. 40. Everest, Oil, Power and Empire, p. 57. 41. Kelly, “Rice, Oil and the Atom.” 42. Robert J. Lieber, “Energy and the Western Alliance,” in Steven L. Spiegel, ed., The Middle East and the Western Alliance (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016), pp. 104–113. 43. Giacomo Luciani, “Oil and Political Economy in the International Relations of the Middle East,” in Louise Fawcett, ed., International Relations of the Middle East, 2nd Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 81–103. 44. Yergin, The Prize, pp. 599–601. 45. William Shawcross, The Shah’s Last Ride: The Fate of an Ally (New York: Touchsyone, 1989), p. 172. Based on some reports, many important and high-ranking managers of major international companies suddenly encountered a lot of problems in Iran in the post oil shock period before being able to arrange a meeting with top Iranian offcials and executives. Some of them had to sleep in hotel lobbies or hospitals, and one Japanese executive had even spent one night sleeping in a mosque in Tehran. Cited from: Robert Graham, Iran: The Illusion of Power (London: Croom Helm Ltd., 1978), p. 11.

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46. Geoffrey Barraclough, “The Great World Depression I,” New York Review of Books (January 23, 1975), p. 22. 47. Williams, Japan: Beyond the End of History, p. 138. 48. Interestingly, the frst oil shock inspired Taichi Sakaiya, a former chief of Japan’s Economic Planning Agency, to publish in 1975 a novel (titled Yudan or oil interruption) in which he pictured a doomsday scenario when a sudden confict in the Middle East could lead to a 30 percent cut in oil exports to Japan. As a consequence, the entire Japanese industries could go bankrupt, three million of its citizens could die of hunger or fre, and more than 70 percent of the East Asian nation’s assets could be deserted or demolished in riots. Cited from: Masanari Koike, “Japan Looks for Oil in the Wrong Places,” Far Eastern Economic Review 169, no. 8 (October 2006): 44–47. 49. Kazuhiko Fuji, Sekiyu shinwa – jidai wa tennen gasu e [The Oil Myth: Toward Natural Gas] (Tokyo: Bungei Shunju, 2001), p. 19. 50. In the words of the author of The Shah’s Last Ride, “Oil runs through the history of modern Iran like blood through a body—except that it has not been merely life-giving. Indeed, oil was a curse to the Shah himself, in much the same way as was gold to King Midas.” Shawcross, The Shah’s Last Ride, p. 170. 51. Robert Tucker, The Inequality of Nations (New York: Basic Books, 1977), pp. 190–191. 52. Tucker, The Inequality of Nations, p. 109. 53. Evan Campbell and Steve A. Yetiv, “Realpolitik and Religion: The Twin Sources of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Policy,” in Jack Covarrubias and Tom Lansford, eds., Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition and Support for US Foreign Policy (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007), pp. 137–156. 54. Andreas Goldthau, “Energy Diplomacy in Trade and Investment of Oil and Gas,” in Andreas Goldthau and Jan Martin Witte, eds., Global Energy Governance: The New Rules of the Game (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, Global Public Policy Institute, 2010), pp. 25–47. 55. Osamu Miyata, Isuramu sekiyu senso [Islam’s Oil Wars] (Tokyo: NTT Shuppan, 2006), p. 263. 56. Hudson, “Geopolitical Shifts.” 57. Simon Bromley, “The United States and the Control of World Oil,” Government and Opposition 40, no. 2 (2005): 225–255. 58. Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford Delong, The End of Infuence; What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money (New York: Basic Books, 2010), pp. 2–3. 59. David Morawetz, Twenty-Five Years of Economic Development 1950 to 1975 (Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 1978), p. 13. 60. Henry H. Villard, Economic Development (New York: Rinehart & Company, 1959), p. 26. 61. Central Intelligence Agency, Handbook of Economic Statistics (Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1978); and Copper, China’s Global Role, p. 59. 62. Tucker, The Inequality of Nations, p. 190. 63. Salvatore Carollo, Understanding Oil Prices: A Guide to What Drives the Price of Oil in Today’s Markets (Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, 2012).

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64. Robert McNally, Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), pp. 118, 139. 65. David Shambaugh, China’s Future (Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, 2016). 66. McNally, Crude Volatility, pp. 96, 138. 67. In the success story of such fortunate nations, a whole raft of regional and international factors conducive to their achievements should never be underestimated. 68. Because of its long-term ruinous implications for many petroleum exporting countries, it is understandable why Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso, a former oil minister of Venezuela once said “It (oil) is the devil’s excrement. We are drowning in the devil’s excrement.” Cited from: Michael L. Ross, The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012), p. 1. 69. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Staying Competitive in the Global Economy: Moving Up the Value Chain (Paris: OECD, 2007), p. 8. 70. Yoneyama Toshinao, “Coping with Energy Problems,” in Umesado Tadao, ed., Seventy-Seven Keys to the Civilization of Japan (Tokyo: Sogensha Inc., 1985), pp. 269–272. 71. Clement M. Henry and Robert Springborg, Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East, 2nd Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). 72. Raymond Barrett, Dubai Dreams: Inside the Kingdom of Bling (London and Boston: Nicholas Brealey, 2010); and International Monetary Fund, United Arab Emirates: 2002 Article IV Consultation-Staff Country Reports (Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 2003), p. 4. 73. Azad, Koreans in the Persian Gulf, pp. 122–123. 74. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, pp. 16, 44. 75. Roberto Aliboni, ed., Arab Industrialization and Economic Integration (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015). 76. The World Bank, Unlocking the Employment Potential in the Middle East and North Africa: Toward a New Social Contract (Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2004). 77. Based on what Rostow argued, the fve stages of growth included the traditional society, the preconditions for take-off, the take-off, the drive to maturity, and the age of mass consumption. For more details, see W. W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), p. vii. 78. Luke Nottage, Product Safety and Liability Law in Japan: From Minamata to Mad Cows (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004); and Shuji Hosaka, “Japan and the Gulf: A Historical Perspective of Pre-Oil Relations,” Kyoto Bulletin of Islamic Area Studies 4, no. 1&2 (March 2011): 3–24. 79. Yoichi Funabashi, ed., Japan’s International Agenda (New York: New York University Press, 1994).

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80. Ted C. Fishman, China, INC.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World (New York: Scribner, 2005), pp. 205, 212–213. 81. J. A. G. Roberts, A History of China (London: Macmillan Press, 1999), p. 267. 82. Ronald Coase and Ning Wang, How China Became Capitalist (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), p. 35. 83. Guoli Liu, China Rising: Chinese Foreign Policy in a Changing World (New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), p. 81. 84. Tom Miller, China’s Asian Dream: Empire Building along the New Silk Road (London: Zed Books, 2017). 85. Daniel W. Drezner, The Sanctions Paradox: Economic Statecraft and International Relations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 7. 86. Zagarte, Treasury’s War. 87. Drezner, The Sanctions Paradox, pp. 313, 317. 88. Richard W. Bulliet, “Iran between East and West,” Journal of International Affairs 60, no. 2 (2007): 1–14. 89. Jonathan Cook, Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (London: Pluto Press, 2008). 90. United States Government Accountability Offce, Iran Sanctions: Impact Good or Bad? (New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2008). 91. Richard Nephew, The Art of Sanctions: A View from the Field (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018). 92. Kemp, The East Moves West, pp. 67, 121–122. 93. Azad, Koreans in Iran, p. 39. 94. Roy, Return of the Dragon, pp. 172–174. 95. Peter Lilley, Dirty Dealing: The Untold Truth about Global Money Laundering, International Crime and Terrorism (London and Philadelphia: Kogan Page, 2006), p. 149. 96. David E. Spiro, The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1999), pp. 1, 4. 97. William R. Clark, Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2005). 98. Benjamin J. Cohen, Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 187. 99. Debra Johnson and Colin Turner, European Business: Policy Challenges for the New Commercial Environment (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), p. 307. 100. Japan emerged as the second largest economy in the capitalist world after the United States in 1968. It was, however, only in the mid-1980s when the Japanese managed to surpass the communist Soviet Union and become the world’s second largest economy. 101. Adam Kritzer, Forex for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide to Profting from the Global Currency Markets (New York: Apress, 2012), p. 31. 102. Alex He, The Dragon’s Footprints: China in the Global Economic Governance System under the G20 Framework (Waterloo, ON: Center for International Governance Innovation, 2016).

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103. Kritzer, Forex for Beginners, p. 38. 104. Cohen, Currency Power, 214. 105. The Japan Foundation, Dialogue: Middle East and Japan – Symposium on Cultural Exchange (Tokyo: The Japan Foundation, 1977), p. 77. 106. Andrew S. Cooper, The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2011), p. 21. 107. Azad, Koreans in Iran, p. 85. 108. Sanjaya Lall, Learning from the Asian Tigers: Studies in Technology and Industrial Policy (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1996). 109. Shirzad Azad, Quo Vadis Korea: The Last Custodian of Confucianism and Its Atypical Transformation (Washington and London: Academica Press, 2017), pp. 2, 37, 122. 110. Azad, Quo Vadis Korea, p. 155. 111. Daniel A. Bell, The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 180. 112. Kupchan, No One’s World, pp. 5, 14. 113. Alan Paul, Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing (New York: HarperCollins, 2011). 114. Gideon Rachman, Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline from Obama to Trump and Beyond (New York: Other Press, 2017).

Chapter 5

Ace in the Hole Poised as a Technological Alternative

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KICK-OFF: DEVELOPMENT AND THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY Technology and scientifc innovations have played a pivotal role in the development and transformation of human civilization. It is really impossible to image what humans and their affliated communities would have experienced throughout the ages without taking into account the involvement and infuence of technology and technical advances, one way or the other. Within the past few centuries, in particular, technological evolution and various technical achievements of high value and quality turned out to be very instrumental in reshaping and remodeling human societies and their dynamics across the globe. In more recent decades, moreover, the pace and scale of scientifc changes and technological progress have become truly ferocious and consequential, revolutionizing the form and feature of almost every human activity, ranging from interpersonal interactions to commodity transactions.1 Technological changes and innovations in scientifc affairs will certainly never grind to a standstill, and human societies and their underlying organizations would thereby be subject to additionally decisive developments, positively and even negatively, in the future. In spite of the crucial impact of technical accomplishments and innovative instruments in the alteration and amelioration of life patterns among human beings, however, not all societies have historically enjoyed a comparative advantage in terms of giving birth to new technologies and creative works in various felds. As it was the case in old times and previous civilizations, in contemporary history also some societies and regions have been more inventive because of having a knack to bring about new scientifc changes and technological attainments. Their scientifc works and technical know-how 101

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effectively made them more successful and thriving, giving them a leg up on their peers and rivals. Comparably, there happened to be other societies and regions which either failed or did not fnd propitious opportunities to be creative and innovative. Consequently, they were often rated somehow negatively for not being able to generate new sources of technology and scientifc works, no matter if they still had certain critical potentials and valuable advantages in some other areas.2 Meanwhile, the transfer of technology from advanced and innovative societies and regions to other less progressive and underdeveloped parts of the world has been prescribed and practiced as an effective panacea and practical shortcut to close the gap between the two sides. Of course, it is very hard to often persuade a technologically productive and innovative society to hand over, rather on a silver platter, the indispensable end results of its talents and endeavors to other society. Since technological innovation is at the same time a comparative advantage of that given society, however, the export of technology and technical know-how could function as a major source of generating signifcant amount of revenues in external commercial interactions. As a consequence, diffusion of technology enables a recipient nation to make progress and as much as possible narrow its technical disparity, while the source country can make the most from the transfer of its technology not only for making money but for having an upper hand vis-à-vis the benefciary as well.3 Regarding the impact of technological diffusion, probably no region in the world has become more accomplished and fourished other than East Asia in terms of its inexorable reliance on the acquisition, assimilation, and replication of foreign technologies. Right from the early years of the Meiji restoration in the second half of the nineteenth century until the present day, the industrialized and industrializing countries of East Asia have derived tremendous benefts from any sort of technology and innovative products which they could obtain from multifarious North American and Western European sources. From the moment the Japanese made a frm commitment with themselves to catch up with the West, the whole edifce of the region’s industrial juggernauts had to be on the whims of foreign technology without which it was next to impossible for the developed countries of East Asia to minimize their scientifc and technical discrepancy with their Western counterparts over a span of several decades.4 After more than a century and half, the universal zeal in the region for getting any new type of technology and scientifc breakthrough is still stronger than ever.5 For all its perpetual addiction to and passionate appetite for foreign sources of technology and scientifc discovery, however, East Asia itself emerged at long last as a headspring for the transfer and diffusion of technological achievements and knowledge-based innovations. As an incestuous hothouse

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of industrialization and modernization, the region actually became the principal benefciary of such development so that Japan contributed greatly to various stages of technological capabilities which the “Asian Tigers” rather quickly made headway in before they became mature enough to be a source of exporting scientifc know-how and technical attainments to China.6 Still, even when they were sharing their technological innovations with themselves in the region, the East Asian countries often behaved very cautiously in terms of giving away all their state-of-the-art systems and latest scientifc accomplishments primarily because they had to jump through hoops and hurdles to acquire various critical technologies which they initially required to begin with.7 Aside from their own immediate region, the successfully industrialized and developed states of East Asia needed to sooner or later get involved in the transfer of technology by sharing their scientifc skills and technical achievements with other parts of the world, including the Middle East. Like their Western counterparts, remunerative objectives and material rewards were actually the primary motive behind East Asia’s willingness to engage in the relatively sensitive business of transferring technology to the region. In the early stages of their industrialization process, therefore, the East Asian countries needed to especially build up their fnancial muscles and investment power at home by exporting their less advanced technology to a relatively technologically poor yet fnancially rich Middle East in addition to some other regions. By the time they climbed the pinnacle of their industrial growth and economic development, scientifc know-how and technological innovation had already become their comparative advantage, providing them with more favorable opportunities to make more lucrative deals by exporting their newfangled products and creative works.8 Although technology was per se the comparative advantage of the East Asian countries while they were involved in a whole host of proftable commercial interactions with the Middle East, such a critical asset could still be exploited in many other ways. From serving to foster bilateral politicodiplomatic relationship to facilitating the ground for the promotion of various informal cultural interactions, the transfer of technology and innovative products turned out to be very conducive to an unprecedentedly growing East Asian–Middle Eastern connection over the past several decades. More importantly, the transfer of technical know-how and scientifc innovations could boost the strategic standing of the East Asians vis-à-vis their Western and Eastern rivals in the region, especially when a certain Middle Eastern country had virtually little option but to rely almost solely on East Asia for its technological requirements. Thus, the faster the East Asian states emerged in the Middle East as prominent players and key stakeholders technologically, the larger grew their strategic upper hand in the region.

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LACK OF INDIGENOUS TECHNOLOGY: HELPING ONE SIDE AND LEAVING THE OTHER SIDE ON ITS OWN For sure, a number of Middle Eastern nations had already carved out their national plans for modernization and economic development long before the region witnessed a windfall in crude oil prices upon the outbreak of the frst oil shock in 1973. With a sudden upsurge in oil revenues poured immediately into state coffers, however, some oil-producing countries in the Middle East became very ambitious, coming up with additionally fresh thoughts and programs concerning their ongoing industrialization and economic growth agendas. Economic development now became an imperative, compelling them to allocate a signifcant chunk of the earnings coming from the exports of crude oil to fast-track their modernization and economic progress. For the time being, they had suffcient funds to either launch from the scratch or just move forward their ambitious development schemes. But having capital alone was not really an adequate precondition to materialize what they aimed to achieve in the long run. After all, they badly required technology as another essential prerequisite to successfully achieve full-fedged industrialization and sustainable economic development.9 The crux of the problem was that the Middle East region in general did not enjoy the bless of home-grown modern technology and scientifc knowhow which were, and still are, the sine qua non of producing newfangled products and generating innovative works. Despite its ancient glory as a cradle for civilizations and world-class thinkers and scientists, however, the region had remained far behind some other parts of the world in terms of possessing with-it technology and producing updated sciences.10 Not every nation in the Middle East had all the preconditions domestically to swiftly give birth to modern scientists and innovative technological stuff either. It was also very hard to educate and train at once, at home or abroad, a fair number of industrialists and scientists in every feld in order to accomplish what a truly advanced and developed society ultimately required.11 Hence, the only immediate solution for the Middle East region was to be virtually on the whims of the West to provide it with suffcient fow of modern technology and scientifc know-how. An immediate impediment was that the West did not really have a grand strategy to industrialize the Middle East region. As far as the Middle East was concerned, there happened to be no such a thing as the Marshall Plan or any other similar grand design to equip the region with all the trappings of modern technology and sophisticated industrial methods. The most powerful Western countries in the region were not also in favor of propping up genuinely developmental systems or forcing the existing political establishments across the Middle East to quickly, and if necessary forcefully, overhaul the

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old and dilapidated industrial and economic structures of their own societies. Moreover, few Western private companies and entrepreneurs were encouraged by their respective governments to signifcantly capitalize on the ongoing industrialization and economic development programs in the Middle East.12 In the same way, the prominent public institutions and educational centers in the West were not prepared or requested, if necessarily by law, to assign suffcient quotas for training or updating systematically another succeeding generation of the Middle Eastern scientists and thinkers who could play an instrumental role in the industrialization and development of their home countries. What added insult to injury was that when requested the West even refused to give its critical technology to some Middle Eastern countries. A case in point was Iran under the Pahlavi monarchy which was left in the lurch when the West virtually declined to provide it with suffcient supply of relevant technology and materials to frmly construct its vital heavy industries in order to ultimately emerge as an advanced and industrialized state in the region. Disappointed from the resourceful Western countries, Iran had to ineluctably turn to the Soviet Union or its satellite states in Eastern Europe to get some technological assistance in spite of the fact that the Iranian political system was then a rather friend and close ally of the West.13 Based on some views, an industrialized and highly advanced Iran had the potential to soon set a dangerously industrial rivalry across the energy-rich region so that a number of other Mideast countries could decide to push determinedly for their own industrialization agenda by taking a leaf out of the Iranian developmental book.14 By comparison, the Western technological contribution to all industrialized and developed states in East Asia turned out to be of utmost importance. From the early Meiji era onward, a furry of Western nationals were hired by the succeeding developmental governments of East Asia to work as educational, technical, and scientifc advisors.15 That is no coincidence why the so-called Japanese miracle was fundamentally based on the motto of wakon yōsai (Japanese spirit, Western knowledge).16 All other late developers which followed the successful model of Japan across the region adopted their own version of that magic Japanese formula.17 Moreover, technology became a central factor in all Western interactions with East Asia from the late nineteenth century until the present day. The Western governments did all in their power to mobilize many in the public and private sectors regarding the crucial matter of technology transfer to East Asia.18 From removing legal and bureaucratic barriers to offering tax inducements for amenable investors and entrepreneurs, the Western governments were certainly committed to a great deal of technical and scientifc know-how which every purposive East Asian state required to successfully modernize and industrialize over a span of few productive decades.19

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Besides, the West continued to provide for more than a century a very fertile ground to train and guide the successive generations of East Asian scientists, technicians, and educators in various felds. The top educational institutions and laboratories in the West were turned into a welcoming environment for millions of students and scholars from East Asia, arranging a unique opportunity for them to acquire a lot of practical knowledge and scientifc know-how so that upon returning to their home countries they could put into good use what they had already learned in the West.20 This approach played a fundamental role in diffusion of Western technology and revolutionizing almost all aspects of industrial and managerial methods in East Asia. On top of that, the Western governments often took a relatively soft approach or simply looked the other way when over time many East Asian companies and greedy individuals got involved, sometimes repeatedly and systematically, in various forms of piracy and stealing intellectual property as another subterranean approach to get hold of certain technology or scientifc formula and design of American or European vintage.21 Regarding the transfer of technology, therefore, the Western practice of double standards eventually led to a technological triumph of East Asia in the Middle East. As the Western technological footing throughout the Middle East hardly ever matched a tiny percentage of what East Asia experienced over time, the strategic bonus of the industrial Eastern stakeholders in the region became stark in its clarity. On one side, the industrialized states of East Asia gradually found ample opportunities to fll a huge technological void in the Middle East created by the Western reluctance or refusal to equally and fairly treat the region in terms of technology diffusion. On the other hand, the Middle East learned to deal with East Asia as a rather willing partner which had already acquired a lot of practical knowledge and advanced technical know-how to share with the region.22 In particular, the technological advantage of East Asia happened to be salient in those parts of the Middle East where the West had pursued for long a policy of nearly zero cooperation in technological matters and scientifc affairs. REINFORCEMENT: TECHNOLOGICAL EMBARGOES The Western, and particularly the American, hegemonic presence in the Middle East over the past several decades turned out to be rather more catastrophic and detrimental to some nations in the region in comparison to what a number of colonial powers in the past had committed with regard to the territories which they could conquer in the Middle East or in some other parts of the world. Supposedly that it was a viable option, a direct colonial rule with benign intentions and manners would have probably been less consequential

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in terms of what such unusually strong-willed and uncompromising countries in the Middle East had to go through in order to survive many decades of unceasing sanctions and perpetual pressures thrust forcefully and universally upon their unfortunate citizens by the U.S.-led West.23 Part of the U.S.pushed punitive pressures and crippling constraints was somewhat bearable and momentary, but some other stringent measures and restrictions such as technological embargoes and scientifc barriers were certain to bring about far more ruinous ramifcations and long-lasting repercussions for which the future generations of those Middle Eastern nations will still pay a hefty price. In the Middle East, therefore, Iraq and especially Iran came under the severest forms of technological restrictions besides other sorts of heavyhanded political and economic pressures initiated predominantly by the United States and backed by most, if not all, of other Western countries. The various types of scientifc and technological limitations which were levied against Baghdad came about largely after Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, and those crushing constraints were kept intact until he was toppled from power in 2003.24 Compared to Iraq, the Iranians had to bear the brunt of the longest period and the most dreadful forms of technological embargoes and a whole host of other scientifc impediments. For a large and populous country which had previously strived to industrialize and develop determinedly and swiftly, an international imposition of large-scale technological embargoes and scientifc restrictions for more than four decades had obviously a lot of corrosive impacts trickling down virtually to all aspects of life of an average Iranian citizen.25 As a corollary to that, East Asia emerged as a major benefciary, strengthening its technological clout in the Middle East. It all happened because the successive regimes of sundry sanctions forced almost all Western, and particularly American, companies out of the Iranian markets, barring them from any signifcant technological investment in or technical assistance to the Middle Eastern country. Any Western industrialist and entrepreneur who really dared to violate those draconian restrictions had to pay a heavy penalty, one way or the other. But many companies from East Asia were not to get a similar treatment as a consequence of their technological cooperation with Iran, though most of the top Japanese corporations and businesses were still leery of pouring a great deal of their fnancial and technological resources into the Persian Gulf country. There were many loopholes in different rules and regulations dictated by the West-initiated sanctions, while some East Asian countries were sometimes even exempted from partaking in those crippling international steps taken against Tehran, providing them with unprecedented opportunities to boost their technological presence in Iran.26 What epitomized the towering technological presence of East Asia in Iran was the omnipresent appearance of Asian products and brands in the daily

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life of an average Iranian citizen. Long developed a rather good taste for a variety of Western goods and marques, the country’s bustling markets sometimes had to rely almost exclusively on a limited number of brands manufactured and supplied by certain East Asian producers. The lack of option and authoritative provision of products available for an Iranian customer was to astound periodically even those sophisticated foreign travelers who had already witnessed in person the prevailing patterns of some oligopolistic markets in a modern East Asian country where most, if not all, available goods used to be produced and supplied by certain monopolistic domestic companies. Still, the situation could appear more frustrating when those few brands accessible to an average buyer in an Iranian local market had not been made from suffciently quality materials because those products would have been supplied originally by a professional counterfeiter located somewhere in southern China.27 In the 1980s, therefore, it was common to fnd that every Iranian home had been equipped with at least one Japanese technological product. But in those days, the sanctions regimes against Iran were not that comprehensive, nor was their implementation easy and universal, making it possible to still fnd a lot of Western brands available to purchase. After a lapse of some two decades, however, the country came under severe international restrictions in the wake of the nuclear controversy, forcing almost every major Japanese technological brand out of Iran. This new situation created a market bonanza for a number of South Korean brands unparalleled in the entire history of any foreign product and marque shipped to the Persian Gulf country. Given a green light by the United States, the ROK ran into a unique opportunity to essentially reach the acme of its economic and technological footing in Iran in so far as some types of Korean goods and products such as personal mobile phones and other electronic devices could actually capture more than half of the market turnover.28 As the Iranians had used for several decades to almost always lurch from bad to worse, the ascendancy of the Trump administration and the ensuing U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal (i.e., the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) led to the harshest regime of economic and technological sanctions the country had ever encountered.29 Now, even South Korea had to think twice before brown-nosing Washington to maintain its envious economic penetration and technological presence in Iran. For that reason, the Iranians had to be virtually on the whims of Chinese goods and brands to meet their unbridled technological requirements. If many of them were in serious doubt a short while ago whether to buy a domestically assembled French or Korean car, they now found a bitter reality that a Chinese Changan had practically become a high-end automobile available to be purchased at a local market. Of course, the situation was to only get worse when the value

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of the Iranian currency plummeted to its lowest ebb, making many other Chinese technological goods and brands the only foreign product which an average Iranian customer could afford. Meanwhile, the enlarged technological presence of East Asia in the Middle East was not to be gauged only based on the scope and size of its market share in a technologically boycotted Iran. As another negative consequence of the sanctions regimes, black markets fourished one decade after another, and the subterranean methods of supplying technological materials and lots of other types of consumer goods to Iran grew to become a thriving yet intricate business involving a rather large number of individuals as well as institutions from both the public and private sectors. That is no coincidence why the neighboring countries, from Iraq to Afghanistan and from Turkey to the UAE, all became an important source for smuggling varied goods and technological stuff into Iran.30 Over a span of several decades, the practice had certainly played a part in East Asia’s increasingly growing technological penetration into those countries around Iran, no matter if their domestic markets were not going to eventually consume all they used to import from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, and so on.31

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ACCOMMODATING: A MARKET FOR TESTING AND UPGRADING TECHNOLOGY From the very beginning, a great deal of the East Asian model of industrialization and economic development was essentially based on employing Western technology and scientifc know-how. From the Japanese “Meiji Restoration” to the “Chinese Dream” of Xi Jinping, all modernizing and developing countries throughout East Asia had to build up their industrial and scientifc capabilities primarily by taking advantage of the West’s with-it technology and advanced methods of getting things done. In point of fact, a very common practice among all those East Asian states was “reverse engineering” as a process through which they could learn how a specifc sample of imported technology and technical equipment functions after disassembling and pulling it to pieces. For a whole array of other less intricate and complicated goods and products, it was much easier to get away with copying and reproducing. Thus, if it required some patience and passionate “reverse engineering” to fnd out how a high-priced car engine operates, a trendy type of a whiskey bottle or cigarette would only need replication.32 Another important feature in the East Asian experience was that in the early stages of industrialization and economic development much of the business involved some sort of assembly work which did not require highly accomplished workers or very innovative methods of doing things.

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Of course, all the quickly industrializing and developing countries in the region had to simultaneously take care of their own heavy industries by securing suffcient capital and technology for their own long-term objectives of becoming a fully-fedged advanced and developed nation. Apart from that critical undertaking, a bulk of their goods and products were to be manufactured normally based on a Western prototype whose technology and operational details had to be sometimes imported—lock, stock, and barrel—from the United States or another industrialized country located in Western Europe. The reliance of the East Asian countries on this type of imported technology and technical know-how could usually last much longer after they managed to develop and upgrade their own designs and brands.33 A third yet equally consequential characteristic of the East Asian path toward industrialization and economic growth was that its starting point had been based fundamentally and pragmatically on an export-oriented strategy. Any small or big country in East Asia which embarked in earnest upon a course of industrialization and modernization needed to ineluctably become a committed exporter of goods and manufactured products long before it advanced and developed enough to be turned eventually into a consumerist society.34 The citizenry was urged strongly to work hard, save a bulk of their incomes, steer away from a luxurious lifestyle, and purchase goods and materials produced primarily by their own nascent companies and fedgling businesses. Such a national drive toward frugality and austere habits could thereby leave domestic producers and builders in almost every feld with little option but to strive for maximizing their exporting potentials through taking advantage of all formal and informal assistance they were receiving from their own national government.35 In spite of their relatively high standards and tough regulations, however, the industrialized and advanced countries in the West, especially the most populous and consumerist ones, were a prime and major destination for the manufactured products and technological goods shipped by a newly industrializing country in East Asia. In particular, the United States used to often open its huge markets to the gigantic loads of products supplied uninterruptedly by the East Asian states no matter if such developing and less sophisticated trading partners were dubiously exempted from giving a similar treatment to the American exporters.36 Aside from the advanced and developed West, a swiftly industrializing and growing country from East Asia needed more booming markets in other parts of the world, including the Middle East, for its surplus load of manufactured goods and products. After all, a unique advantage of such non-Western export destinations was that they could be turned into a dumping ground of sorts for testing and upgrading various Asian technologies of less desirable and subpar quality.

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For all its alluring advantages, ranging from lax regulations to lack of enough transparency, therefore, the Middle East happened to be an up-andcoming market to put to the test the quality and grade of many types of newly developed technological products shipped from an East Asian powerhouse. Even a recently established and amateur technical frm in East Asia could make ends meet simply by relying on its willing and loyal customers hailing from a certain country in the Middle East. The situation would be certainly more propitious and promising where a populous and oil-producing country from the region like Iran was sometimes given little option but to bear with its abyssal trade defcit in favor of an industrializing yet technologically less sought-after country from East Asia where the Iranians needed to engage in huge commercial interactions with. That is why under such rather favorable circumstances, the Iranian public sector or even the country’s army could be taken for a ride in terms of testing and ameliorating certain types of civilian and especially military technology which an ambitious Asian country struggled to develop.37 Though not a particularly industrializing and developing country, for instance, the East Asian communist state of North Korea tried, in the 1990s and early years of the twenty-frst century to test through Iran its newly developed technological systems of ballistic missile, though the DPRK had already attempted to also achieve such a crucial objective with regard to some of its conventional weapons during the heydays of the lucrative arms deals between Pyongyang and Tehran in the 1980s.38 Besides the North Koreans, their communist comrades in China turned out to be more acquisitive and insatiable when it came to take advantage of Iran for the sake of putting into the test and improving their military technology. After making a serious and purposeful effort to test part of their conventional arms and weaponry vis-à-vis other similar types of munitions and military equipment made by the Soviet Union and the United States during the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s, the Chinese later again followed the same goal concerning their new types of armaments such as drones by capitalizing on Iran and some other agreeable and promising partners across the Middle East.39 Far larger than military and defense domain, moreover, Iran was actually a testing ground for a whole host of the typical technologies and technical goods conventionally used by any modern household. Many Chinese companies and run-of-the-mill manufacturers could hardly come across a more rewarding and consumerist market other than a sanctioned Iran which had been bludgeoned internationally and regionally into developing closer and larger connections to the rising East Asian giant one decade after another. Excelled in the art of “fake it until you make it,” some Chinese producers and makers were not abashed to catch fsh from the muddied waters of the Iran situation sometimes simply by suggesting to their local agents and business partners that “we only need

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your product sample.”40 It was not really unusual, thus, to at times encounter many disgruntled Iranian customers who had little option but to take home a certain product of a popular national brand which had been produced somewhere in China by using the worst type of raw materials and technological skills.41

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A GROUND FOR INVESTING IN ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY Despite its obvious shortcomings and inherent problems, late industrialization could have a lot of potential benefts and advantages. True that the late developers of East Asia learned the ropes by emulating genuinely and wholeheartedly their advanced and industrialized counterparts in the West, they also improved and refned their technological capabilities and scientifc know-how through apprenticing and rehearsing. No matter how honestly and straightforwardly they dedicated and committed themselves, they could hardly fnd contentment merely by copying and imitating their exemplary Western models. After all, they needed to go through their own paces in order to hone their theoretical skills and sharpen up what was presumed to serve the best of their modernization and industrialization objectives in the long haul. That is why in the early stages of their development and growth, many East Asian entrepreneurs and industrialists were quite prepared to hire themselves out to some other more experienced and sophisticated foreign capitalists and technological tycoons at home and especially abroad.42 In the aftermath of the frst oil shock, for instance, a swarm of advanced and well-established Western and Japanese companies focked to the Middle East, providing a great opportunity particularly for many neophytes and unseasoned contractors from the would-be “Asian Tigers” to practice and learn a variety of managerial and industrial skills regarding the up-and-coming construction industry. It was actually a good time for many sub-contractors and tenderfoots from Taiwan and particularly South Korea to initially work for the Western and Japanese corporations which had the upper hand in the market in terms of advanced technology, managerial skills, and business connections to their host country. Of course, some of them like Koreans had already gained considerable expertise in the feld of construction by cooperating and collaborating with Americans in Vietnam where they used to put up military bases and shelters for a furry of U.S. forces stationed there throughout those trying times.43 It was now time for many Korean contractors to rehearse as well as enhance their relevant skills in a thoroughly different environment in the Middle East region.44

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As it turned out, therefore, whatever the junior Koreans had learned from their senior and sophisticated Western and Japanese partners proved to be instrumental in the coming junctures of their rather legendary legacy of construction business in the Middle East. Over a span of roughly one decade, the Korean contractors went from a virtual nonentity to a dominant player in the bankable business of construction in the region by rivaling and displacing even some of their former foreign mentors and trainers from Japan and the West. While they were previously very inclined to engage in any humble and low-grade project, the thriving and accomplished Korean businesses in the Middle East soon emerged as rather picky contractors, choosing to primarily work on those expensive and prodigious projects which required advanced technology and specifc expertise. Moreover, their previous experiences and walloping achievements had taught them that the Middle East could also be a fertile ground for new investments in highly advanced and sensitive technologies as well as in scientifc projects.45 One of such delicate and high-cost undertakings was a groundbreaking deal signed in late 2009 between the ROK and the UAE to construct a good number of nuclear power plants for the energy-rich Arab country in the Persian Gulf region. The advanced technological contract was actually so lucrative that it was dubbed a “heaven-sent national fortune” by the then South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak; a Middle East-savvy leader who supervised the whole negotiation project and also attended the signing ceremony at the conclusion of the deal in Abu Dhabi. The project which required South Korea’s sensitive technical assistance and managerial involvement over a course of several decades thought to be very dear to the East Asian technological experiences in the region to such an extent that it led simultaneously to an undisclosed yet highly contentious defense deal between the Koreans and their Arab partners. Prior to that astonishing feat in the UAE, South Korea had cautiously and secretively provided, either directly or through Russia, some required sensitive technological instruments for Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, though the East Asian country would have probably been willing to go far beyond that if its cameo role in the Iranian project had not been under constant surveillance and scrutiny by the United States and other anxious stakeholders.46 Other more sophisticated and technologically advanced players from East Asia (i.e., the Japanese) were equally prepared to get involved in various costly and generally sensitive projects across the Middle East. As a case in point, a Japan-led consortium signed a striking deal in 2013 to set up a nuclear power plant for Turkey in the Sinop, a coastal area along the Black Sea. The top builder, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., however, surprisingly abandoned the contract in 2018 excusing a lack of feasibility with

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regard to the costs the consortium had initially estimated.47 Whether or not the prominent Japanese corporation was under heavy pressures not to undertake such highly sensitive and controversial projects in a Middle Eastern country, the whole episode and some other close relevant developments revealed that the transfer of advanced technologies and scientifc know-how to the region was not really going to be an easy venture which an industrialized country from East Asia could plan on a whim and then move to carry it out entirely of its own volition. Where the East Asian countries were not able or permitted, for various security or sanctions reasons, to get involved in investing independently in advanced technological projects in the Middle East, however, they could sometimes fulfll such a critical objective through participating in joint ventures and scientifc collaborations with their host country. Although the East Asian states often took advantage of such a business approach to cooperate with many friendly and close allies of the United States in the region, they still managed to, from time to time, have a constructive hand in several important technological projects in a sanctioned Iran.48 A number of top Korean conglomerates, for instance, engaged over the past three decades in various joint projects with Iran particularly in the proftable automobile and electronic industries. The South Koreans were sometimes bludgeoned into postponing, downsizing, or simply withdrawing in total their technical collaboration with the Iranian partners, but still the practice paved the ground at long last for the East Asian country’s largest technological presence in the Middle Eastern country’s consumerist markets.49 Compared to their East Asian rivals, however, the Chinese had been destined to essentially play a larger and long-lasting role in a variety of technological joint activities in almost all Middle Eastern countries with friendly or unsympathetic political systems toward the United States and other major Western powers. Now that China was increasingly catching up with its Eastern competitors technologically and scientifcally, the rising Asian giant was also in a far better position strategically and politically to invest in many elephantine projects in the region, ranging from constructing railways to airports and from building up car factories to oil refneries.50 On top of that, a more recent Chinese grand strategy based on its highly ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) turned out to only deepen the scope and size of Beijing’s physical presence and its technological involvement in the Middle East.51 In spite of a growing technical and scientifc nexus involving East Asia and the Middle East, however, the whole practice was hardly a oneway route transferring technologies, both advanced and run-of-the-mill ones, from China as well as from other industrialized and developed stakeholders of the East to the region. Indeed, there happened to be some exceptions to this general pattern.

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CONTRARIWISE: APPROACHING A TECHNOLOGICAL TWILIGHT True that by and large the Middle East has not been doing well technologically and scientifcally in contemporary history, however, by dint of its civilizational records the region has always remained a fountainhead and a fertile ground for ideas, imagination, and novelty under right circumstances. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some of the Western discoverers and orientalists who made a lot of investigative expeditions and feld trips to the region pondered whether the Middle East had actually been the accurate place of origin for a number of early crucial technological discoveries such as compass, gunpowder, and printing press which all played a pivotal role in the advent of modern human civilization, one way or the other.52 Under the Third Reich, moreover, the Germans made more additional scientifc and technological investigations in the region, and in some cases took to the West their entire archeological fndings—lock, stock, and barrel—without leaving a footprint behind.53 Today, any rich Western museum equipped with hundreds, if not thousands, of objects and pieces from a Middle Eastern discovery would attest that the region’s scientifc and technological contribution to the world has as always remained overlooked and unsung. When the practical and pragmatist newcomers from East Asia arrived in the Middle East in modern history, therefore, there was not much evidence of trendy scientifc know-how and chic technological innovation which could pique their curiosity. Still, the passage of time showed that the region could infuence critically some of East Asia’s industrialists and entrepreneurs as they ended up benefting in different ways through the transfer of ideas and technologies from the Middle East. For instance, in the early 1930s Ahura Mazda (the ancient Iranian god of light, wisdom, intelligence, and harmony) illuminated the Japanese founder of Hiroshima-based Toyo Cork Kogyo Company to be renamed as Mazda which emerged over time as a technological heavyweight and one of the best carmakers in the world. In the same way, during the 1960s and 1970s the Iranian auto industry, and even its burgeoning educational system, attracted the attention of many visiting Korean industrialists and scholars who thought the Middle Eastern country could serve as a role model of sorts for their own ongoing endeavors in those critical felds.54 From the 1980s onward, however, the pattern and medium of transferring technology and scientifc expertise from the Middle East to East Asia became more objective and straightforward. During the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988, for instance, there happened to be a rather unique opportunity for the Chinese to learn a great deal from various types of Western armaments used by the two warring parties in the Middle East. Capitalizing signifcantly on its relatively backward military technologies was actually one of the modernizing

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goals of the communist party, giving it a strong incentive to engage in a quid pro quo agreement of sorts with any agreeable foreign country which could help Beijing to acquire any type of advanced arms and military technology made in the West. Since Iran was very desperate to receive on time part of its badly needed arms and military requirements from China, Tehran was prepared to thereby pay back the Chinese favor by handing over to Beijing some of the Western, and especially American, weapons which its military forces could capture from the Iraqi side.55 After the Tiananmen incident of 1989 when China came under stringent military embargoes by the Western countries, moreover, it became more urgent for the Chinese to rely on some Middle Eastern sources for certain military technology and technical know-how associated with the arms and defense industries. It was now Israel which piqued the attention of China for that crucial objective. As a close friend and ally of the United States in the Middle East, the Jewish state had long benefted from a whole array of advanced weaponry and cutting-edge military technologies. The Chinese had actually drawn a bead on some of those state-of-the-art armaments long before Beijing moved to normalize its politico-diplomatic relationship with Israel in the early 1990s. After normalizing its offcial ties with Israel, China strived hard over years to gain access to the American arms secrets and technological know-how by signing several military deals with the Israelis, though some of those critical agreements had to be eventually abandoned after the Jewish state came under tremendous U.S. arm-twisting.56 Besides China, other East Asian players, including Taiwan but certainly not North Korea, also tried to take advantage of Israel’s technological and scientifc capabilities from the 1990s onward, no matter if they were less enthusiastic than the Chinese to make the most of the Middle Eastern country’s advanced military and defense capabilities. In particular, once Israel engaged in a lengthy peace process negotiations with the Palestinians, Japan and South Korea took advantage of the propitious circumstances by formalizing their relationship with the Jewish state. In the previous decades, they had a lot of informal interactions with the Israelis here and there simply because they all happened to be close allies and all-weather friends of the United States on both sides of Asia. From now on, therefore, many Japanese and Korean companies and entrepreneurs were attracted to Israel because they thought that their Israeli counterparts could actually teach them a lot of innovative ideas and creative business skills.57 The two sides subsequently made various bilateral agreements on technological and scientifc cooperation, covering many critical felds ranging from IT startups to renewable energy ventures.58 Meanwhile, East Asia’s new technological, scientifc, and business rush to Israel was not entirely a noble end in itself; part of the reason was actually political. It etched in the conscience of many citizenry, a lot of them active in

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various technological and business sectors, when in the late 1980s Japan was engulfed by a torrent of “Jewish conspiracy theories” part of which gave rise to a “Jewish book boom” in the East Asian country. Some of those popular theories claimed that a global conspiracy led by the American Jews was in fact the main factor behind a sudden rise in the value of the Japanese yen lest Japan manage to ultimately overtake the United States economically and technologically. As Japan crawled into the 1990s to still suffer more from its own “preordained lost decade,” many of its citizens kept frmly believing that some outside hands were actually behind their sustained economic slowdown and the follow-up misfortunes for the “setting sun” of Asia which was a heartbeat away only a few years ago from becoming a “superpower” at least in economic and fnancial terms.59 The conspiratorial pungency among many Koreans was equally telling. In the aftermath of the Asian fnancial crisis in 1997 when the Korean government was obliged to carry out harsh austerity measures as a precondition to receive a timely loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), many Korean citizens like some of their peers in other parts of Asia came to believe that the Jews were indeed behind the fnancial predicament which had aimed to essentially siphon off the hardly acquired wealth of Asians and then shackle them to the draconian diktats of a neoliberal, Anglo-Saxon economy.60 Long before the Asian fnancial crisis came about, many Koreans had convinced themselves that the Jews were the main culprits behind carving up the Korean Peninsula into two separate political entities following the end of the World War II.61 Despite the staying power of such conspiracies in the Korean society, however, many Korean enterprises and businesses both in public and private sectors, similar to their counterparts in other parts of East Asia, viewed Israel very positively by approaching the Jewish state for a whole host of technological and scientifc cooperation.62 TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: MAKE IT OR BREAK IT FOR ALL-OUT TIES The fusion of foreign policy and technology has increasingly become a salient element of contemporary international relations. In fact, never in history were international relations affected so deeply by new technological developments and scientifc innovations. Today, modern technological tools have permeated profoundly every aspect of human affairs, making it almost impossible for policymakers and diplomats to pay no heed to the role of technology when they formulate and pursue a certain set of policies and objectives with regard to other nations. Whether in conducting bilateral diplomatic negotiations or in setting regional and international agendas, technological issues pop up

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naturally because they are multidimensional and embedded intimately in different national priorities and preferences. Where the main subject of such high profle deliberations involved an important technological matter such as the feasibility of transferring advanced and sensitive technologies from one country to another, the alluring power of technology or its potential benefts would easily and unknowingly cast a shadow on statesmanship and diplomatic dexterity, one way or the other.63 Technology is, therefore, a double-edged sword offering promises and presaging perils because it has the power to both liberate and enslave. For having advantages as well as disadvantages, technology cuts both ways as it can be a source of comfort and happiness or just bring about sorrow and wretchedness. In international relations, technology functions pretty much the same. It is beyond dispute that higher technological prowess is growingly fueling the distribution and redistribution of power and prestige among major global players, while making a great number of other contenders to appear rather weak and susceptible, if not irrelevant, in the international system’s pecking order.64 At a lower level, a technologically advanced country usually holds enormous sway over its foreign partner which is a nation-state with rather backward technology and undeveloped scientifc capabilities. Without taking into account the increasing role of technology in other international equations, such asymmetrical relationship between nations is more revealing when a relatively important country is subject to heavy-handed technological sanctions, leaving it virtually on the whims of few agreeable foreign partners to muddle through.65 Considering the Middle East, therefore, technology turned out to determine signifcantly the modern dynamics of East Asia’s presence in the region. The more the East Asian counties advanced technologically and scientifcally, the larger their vested interests expanded among their Middle Eastern partners. In the same way, the technological presence and infuence of East Asia in the Middle East became more visible and relevant once the industrialized East Asians managed to comfortably rival their Western counterparts in the region by offering a whole raft of innovative products and technical services.66 Moreover, the scope and size of bilateral interactions between any developed country from East Asia and its individual partners in the Middle East followed a rather similar pattern; the more it was prepared to transfer its with-it technologies and scientifc know-how, the bigger opportunities it could fnd in developing better ties with and furthering its market penetration in that specifc country in the region. It could also go the other way around; refusing to transfer certain required yet conventional technologies or withholding technological cooperation could wreak havoc on relations between a resourceful East Asian state and its Middle Eastern partner in different ways.

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In particular, the role of technology in Taiwan’s overall connections to the Middle East happened to be strikingly effective. For decades, the Republic of China (ROC) had to take advantage of its growing technological and industrial capabilities in order to forge rather good relations, in both formal and informal ways, with a more number of sovereign countries across the Middle East, though this approach also proved to work nicely in Taipei’s interactions with many nations in other parts of the world. Once Saudi Arabia switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing in the early 1990s, however, Taiwan was stripped of its last offcially politico-diplomatic relationship with a Middle Eastern country, compelling it, from now on, to increasingly tap into its own technological strength as a key instrument in vouchsafng its sedimented interests in the region.67 Taiwan was even willing to occasionally bring to play its technological toolbox in a sanctioned and Beijing-friendly Iran so that various Taiwanese companies could either secure or ramp up their business share from the Persian Gulf country’s bankable markets.68 Besides Taiwan, the power of technology in nurturing Japan’s multifaceted connections to the Middle East was already stark in its clarity. As the frst non-Western country which managed to soon rival the American and European technological products and services in the Middle East (and many other places around the world), Japan found no material objective other than technology to fortify its tenuous toehold in the region. But when the equally ambitious contenders from the club of the “Asian Tigers” joined the race, technology turned out to be Japan’s feet of clay in the Middle East.69 Later, the rise of China only made things worse for the Japanese brands and technological products in the region. As those Asian rivals managed to offer rather comparable and affordable technologies and technical services to their Middle Eastern clients, the Japanese businesses had to gradually and ineluctably lose the ground in favor of the neophytes. It was particularly the case with regard to Iran where the Japanese reluctance to cooperate with Tehran technologically pushed the country slowly but surely into the hands of many Korean and Chinese companies. Technology was, therefore, an ace in the hole of South Korea’s rivalry with Japan in Iran long before Seoul was pressured by the Trump administration to rein in the scope and size of its thoroughly expanding economic and technological cooperation with Tehran. Right from the late 1980s when the ROK dispatched a ranking foreign ministry envoy to Tehran aiming to rekindle its rather lackadaisical relationship with the Islamic Republic, South Korea demonstrated its willingness to engage the Middle Eastern country in various technological felds over a course of roughly three decades.70 That is no coincidence why the presence of Koreans in Iran reached its acme around the early 2010s when an all-out international showdown with Tehran over the nuclear controversy had catapulted a number

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of Korean companies into an envious position in the Persian Gulf country largely, thanks to their ongoing technological and economic cooperation with the Iranians. Somehow similar to the Japanese trajectory, the Koreans also had to suffer from debilitating setbacks in Iran once their Chinese rivals were in a better position to offer more technologies and technical services the Iranians wanted. As the Chinese are increasingly catching up with their advanced East Asian competitors technologically and scientifcally, therefore, they become more confdent in their ability to soon put forward any sort of technological need the Middle East may require. On top of that, a great deal of China’s ongoing mega plan to revive the ancient Silk Road through its highly ambitious BRI has to do with technology and various types of technological transfer to the Middle East.71 It is imperceptible to think on what the BRI is really going to achieve in the region without taking into consideration the role of technology in different forms of sharing China’s improved technical and scientifc capabilities. Even if we ignored China’s long-term strategic objectives and its vested interests in the region as far as the BRI is concerned, the transfer of technology would still be part and parcel of all Chinese schemes to essentially bring about what Beijing envisions to be a multipronged network of ground Silk Road, aerial Silk Road, and maritime Silk Road extended to the entire Middle East and beyond.72

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NOTES 1. Geoffrey L. Herrera, Technology and International Transformation: The Railroad, the Atom Bomb, and the Politics of Technological Change (New York: State University of New York Press, 2006), p. 3. 2. Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli, “Why China Has Not Caught Up Yet: MilitaryTechnological Superiority and the Limits of Imitation, Reverse Engineering, and Cyber Espionage,” International Security 43, no. 3 (Winter 2018/2019): 141–189. 3. Posen, “Command of the Commons.” 4. Joseph Baladi, The Brutal Truth About Asian Branding: And How to Break the Vicious Cycle (Singapore: John Wiley & Sons, 2011). 5. In the words of one Japanese writer, “It is now something of an international truism that the Japanese are good copiers . . . Japan has from the earliest times learnt, copied and absorbed much from the Chinese. . . . After 1868, Japan modelled its constitution and army on those of Prussia, its trade practices and navy on those of England, and its technology and democracy on those of America . . . there can be no doubt that the culture of mass society today owes a good deal to copying techniques, reproductions and replicas.” Yoneyama Toshinao, “Imitators or Innovators,” in Umesado Tadao, ed., Seventy-Seven Keys to the Civilization of Japan (Tokyo: Sogensha Inc., 1985), pp. 273–276.

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6. As one Korean scholar puts it, “Korea’s 1960s and 1970s strategy was largely associated with duplicative imitations, producing on a large scale knockoffs or closes of mature foreign products, imitative goods with their own or original equipment manufacturers’ band names at signifcantly lower prices.” See Linsu Kim, Imitation to Innovation: The Dynamics of Korea’s Technological Learning (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1997), p. 12. 7. Gustav Ranis, “Appropriate Technology: Obstacles and Opportunities,” in Samuel M. Rosenblatt, ed., Technology and Economic Development: A Realistic Perspective (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1979), pp. 23–58. 8. United Nations Educational, Scientifc and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNESCO Science Report 2010: The Current Status of Science around the World (Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 2010), p. xvii. 9. Mark Hanson, Economic Development, Education and Transnational Corporations (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2008), p. 132. 10. Frances Wood, The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia (Berkley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2002). 11. John Kenneth Galbraith, Economic Development in Perspective (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962), p. 21. 12. John Agnew and J. Nicholas Entrikin, “Introduction: The Marshall Plan as Model and Metaphor,” in John Agnew and J. Nicholas Entrikin, eds., The Marshall Plan Today: Model and Metaphor (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 1–24. 13. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion, p. 83; and Matthew K. Shannon, Losing Hearst and Minds: American–Iranian Relations and International Education during the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017). 14. Stephan J. Randall, United States Foreign Oil Policy since World War I: For Profts and Security (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005), pp. 172, 218. 15. Swartout, Jr., Mandarins, Gunboats, and Power Politics, p. 152; and Hideo Yoshikawa and Joanne Kauffman, Science Has No National Borders: Harry C. Kelly and the Reconstruction of Science in Postwar Japan (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1994), p. vii. 16. In the Meiji period, that motto actually substituted the old slogan of “wakon kansai” (Japanese spirit, Chinese knowledge), historically attributed to Sugawara no Michizane (845–903 AD) who was a scholar and politician of the Heian period of Japan. 17. As Natsume Soseki put it in 1909, “Japan can’t get along without borrowing from the West. But it poses as a frst-class power. And it’s straining to join the ranks of the frst-class powers. That’s why, in every direction, it puts up the facade of a frst-class power and cheats on what’s behind.” Cited from: Otto von Feigenblatt, Understanding Japanese Animation: The Hidden Meaning Revealed (Delray Beach, FL: Guild of Independent Scholars, 2007), p. 37. 18. Robert Weil, Red Cat, White Cat: China and the Contradictions of “Market Socialism” (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1996), p. 272. 19. Lall, Learning from the Asian Tigers, pp. 18–19.

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20. Langftt, The Shanghai Free Taxi. 21. William P. Alford, To Steal a Book Is an Elegant Offense: Intellectual Property Law in Chinese Civilization (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995); and Jeffery Towson and Jonathan Woetzel, The 1 Hour China Book: Two Peking University Professors Explain All of China Business in Six Short Stories (Cayman Islands: Towson Group LLC, 2013), p. 101. 22. Robert Elegant, Pacifc Destiny: Inside Asia Today (New York: Avon Books, 1990), p. 510. 23. Nigel Harris, The End of the Third World: Newly Industrializing Countries and the Decline of an Ideology (London: Penguin Books, 1986), p. 33. 24. Eric D. K. Melby, “Iraq,” in Richard N. Haass, ed., Economic Sanctions and American Diplomacy (New York: The Council on Foreign Relations, 1998), pp. 107– 128; and Anthony Arnove, ed., Iraq under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War (London: Pluto Press, 2003). 25. Patrick Clawson, Business as Usual? Western Policy Options towards Iran (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1995); and Patrick Clawson, “Iran,” in Richard N. Haass, ed., Economic Sanctions and American Diplomacy (New York: The Council on Foreign Relations, 1998), pp. 85–106. 26. Bryan R. Early, Busted Sanctions: Explaining Why Economic Sanctions Fail (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015), pp. 94, 128. 27. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy (Paris: OECD, 2008), p. 320; and Guy Sorman, The Empire of Lies: The Truth about China in the Twenty-First Century, trans. Asha Puri (New York and London: Encounter Books, 2009). 28. Kemp, The East Moves West, p. 131. 29. Scott Ritter, Dealbreaker: Donald Trump and the Unmaking of the Iran Nuclear Deal (Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press, 2018). 30. Early, Busted Sanctions, p. 118. 31. John W. Garver, China and Iran: Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2006), p. 237. 32. Troy Parftt, Why China Will Never Rule the World (New York: Western Hemisphere Press, 2011). 33. Alice H. Amsden, Asia’s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. vii. 34. Dwight H. Perkins, East Asian Development: Foundations and Strategies (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), pp. 172, 198. 35. Chalmers Johnson, “Political Institutions and Economic Performance: The Government-Business Relationship in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan,” in Frederic C. Deyo, ed., The Political Economy of the New Asian Industrialism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987), pp. 136–164. 36. Perkins, East Asian Development, pp. 38–39. 37. Fisher, China’s Military Modernization, pp. 52–53. 38. Davis and Pfaltzgraff Jr., Anticipating a Nuclear Iran, pp. 65–67. 39. Garver, China and Iran, p. 182. 40. Midler, Poorly Made in China, p. 109.

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41. Azad, Iran and China, pp. 63–64. 42. Paul L. Robertson and David Jacobson, “Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion: An Introduction,” in Paul L. Robertson and David Jacobson, eds., Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion (Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2011), pp. 1–34. 43. In the period between 1965 and 1973, South Korea dispatched some 300,000 of its military forces to Vietnam, giving the Americans a good reason to favor the ROK construction companies. In 1966, for instance, roughly 40 percent of South Korea’s foreign exchange came from the Vietnam War. Cited from: Mark Peterson and Phillip Margulies, A Brief History of Korea (New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2010), p. 222. 44. Donald Kirk, Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung (Hong Kong: Asia 2000 Ltd., 1994), pp. 81, 94. 45. Richard M. Steers, Made in South Korea: Chung Ju Young and the Rise of Hyundai (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 108–111. 46. For more details, see Azad, Koreans in the Persian Gulf, p. 126. 47. Pantelis Ikonomou, Global Nuclear Developments: Insights from a Former IAEA Nuclear Inspector (New York: Springer, 2020), p. 72. 48. Robert J. Reardon, Containing Iran: Strategies for Addressing the Iranian Nuclear Challenge (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2012), pp. 108, 137. 49. Reardon, Containing Iran, p. 155. 50. Li Xing and Zhang Shengjun, “China and Regional Integration in East Asia: Opportunities, Constraints and Challenges,” in Soren Dosenrode, ed., Limits to Regional Integration (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 57–76. 51. Jonathan Holslag, The Silk Road Trap: How China’s Trade Ambitions Challenge Europe (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2019). 52. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History, 7th Edition (Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2013), p. 183. 53. Francis R. Nicosia, Nazi Germany and the Arab World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 146. 54. Azad, Koreans in Iran, p. 83. 55. Richard F. Grimmett, CRS Report for Congress: Trends in Conventional Arms Transfers to the Third World by Major Supplier, 1980–1987 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1988), p. 52. 56. E. Zev Sufott, A China Diary: Towards the Establishment of China–Israel Diplomatic Relations (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1997), pp. 69, 104. 57. David Rosenberg, Israel’s Technology Economy: Origins and Impact (New York: Springer, 2018), pp. 43, 107. 58. Yitzhak Shichor, “My Heart Is in the West and I Am at the End of the East: Changing Israeli Perceptions of Asia,” in Alfred Wittstock, ed., The World Facing Israel – Israel Facing the World: Images and Politics (Berlin: Frank & Timme, 2011), pp. 239–259. 59. David G. Goodman and Masanori Miyazawa, Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype (Lanham, CO: Lexington Books, 2000), p. 264.

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60. Douglas J. Sikorski, “Global Capitalism and the Asian Financial Crisis,” in John A. Turner and Y. Kim, eds., Globalization and Korean Foreign Investment (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2004), pp. 60–80. 61. Chung-in Moon, “Between Banmi (Anti-Americanism) and Sungmi (Worship of the United States): Dynamics of Changing U.S. Images in South Korea,” in David I. Steinberg, ed., Korean Attitudes toward the United States: Changing Dynamics (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015), pp. 139–152. 62. After all, General Park Chung-hee, under whom the ROK embarked in earnest upon its industrialization and economic development in the early 1960s, in his book praised several times the Israeli Jews as a role model for their rather stunning political and economic achievements despite being stuck in a challenging geographic and ideological environment. For more details, see Park Chung-hee, Kunggawa hydngmydngiwa na [The Country, the Revolution, and I] (Seoul: Hyangmunsa, 1963). 63. U.S. Congress, Offce of Technology Assessment, Technology Transfer to China. OTA-ISC-340 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Offce, July 1987). 64. Herrera, Technology and International Transformation, pp. 40, 115. 65. Eugene B. Skolnikoff, The Elusive Transformation: Science, Technology, and the Evolution of International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 194. 66. Robert Gilpin, Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), pp. 184, 322. 67. Offce of Technology Assessment, Technology Transfer to the Middle East, Publication no. OTAISC-173 (Washington, D.C.: Offce of Technology Assessment, U.S. Government Printing Offce, 1984), p. 343. 68. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, pp. 131, 134. 69. John F. Copper, Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? 3rd Edition (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999), p. 169. 70. Azad, Koreans in the Persian Gulf, p. 90. 71. Jeremy Garlick, The Impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: From Asia to Europe (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2020). 72. David De Cremer, Bruce McKern, and Jack McGuire, eds., The Belt and Road Initiative: Opportunities and Challenges of a Chinese Economic Ambition (Los Angeles, CA and London: Sage, 2020).

Chapter 6

Beyond Semantic Affinity Gaining on New Cultural Modus Vivendi

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REMAINED UNTAPPED: ANCIENT ROOTS AND HISTORICAL TIES East Asia and the Middle East (excluding its North African stretch) are geographically different parts of the large Asian continent. In spite of sharing a single physical geography, however, each of these two Asian regions is now identifed almost universally with a name which makes them appear they actually belong to a separate continent. It all has to do with the staying power of some convenient terms which the Western colonizers and explorers devised to distinguish one part of Asia from another. For a better part of the nineteenth century and during the frst half of the twentieth century, for instance, East Asia was widely known as Far East. But in the second half of the twentieth century, the powerful and infuential nations in the West, and ineluctably most of the other countries in the world, gradually yet deftly abandoned using Far East in favor of the most appropriate appellation of East Asia.1 In comparison, the Middle East region was not privileged and promising enough to be called by its proper name of West Asia which is in fact among the least applied geographical terms used to referring to different parts of the Asian continent. Meanwhile, East Asia and the Middle East have had a long history of affnities beyond their mere affliation with a particular physical geography. The genesis of the East Asian people’s race and languages is, for example, one of the baffing historical riddles which could be traced to the greater Middle East region (including North Africa). After all, the people who frst occupied the present-day countries in Northeast Asia were not native to their homeland. They had probably been one of the several major tribes which had migrated, for whatever reason, to East Asia from somewhere in the Middle 125

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East after making their long way through Central Asia. As it comes with the territory, the provenance of the East Asian languages could be tracked down to the Middle East as well. Whether or not the yellow race originated from the Middle East, there have been many linguists and historians who have long asserted that the writing system of the Chinese language, as virtually the mother of all East Asian languages, had its provenance in the ancient Middle Eastern civilizations (probably an imitation of the Sumerians).2 More important developments took place between both sides of Asia, however, after the migrated people managed to establish their own relatively unique political entities in Northeast Asia. In particular, the successive classical Chinese empires engaged in various types of political, military, economic, and cultural interactions with their counterparts in the Middle East. Even the smaller and rather insular kingdoms which settled in the present-day Korean Peninsula found a chance to be part of a larger commercial and cultural enterprise involving several nations from East Asia and the Middle East. Of course, there were perpetually ups and downs in the dynamics of both formal and informal relationships taking place among them.3 In practice, nonetheless, the famous Silk Road manifested the scope and size of many multilateral connections going on especially in the realms of commerce and culture. That still surprises many how the memory of the Silk Road survived to stand as the last living relic of all those old interactions between the Middle Eastern and East Asian nations. There happened, however, to be an era when both East Asia and the Middle East were ruled by a unifed colossal empire. The case in point is the Mongolian ascendancy which brought under its tight control vast swathes of territories extending from East Asia to Europe. Despite its blood-curdling records of death and destruction meted out against the Middle Eastern and East Asian nations, the Mongolian empire gave rise to an unprecedented level of migration and interracial marriages between both sides of Asia. As part of their social engineering and roughshod politics, the Mongolian conquerors took a great number of Middle Eastern talents, ranging from artisans to bureaucrats, to East Asia in order to better handle their various politico-social affairs there.4 In those peculiar times, moreover, the Middle East had actually been destined to play its unique role in different forms. Persia (now Iran) was, for instance, the only land which happened to be in direct contacts with China, India, and Europe, making it possible for the famous Persian statesman and scholar, Rashid ad-Din, to write a rather comprehensive history about all those regions which were then ruled by the Mongols.5 Still, the intellectual contribution of the Middle East and the region’s instrumental role in facilitating the fow of thoughts and ideas to East Asia predated the Mongol period. The only problem is that a great deal of such contribution remains until now enshrouded in a Cimmerian obscurity. It

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is almost impossible to size up what percentage of some famous classical Chinese works, including The Analects of Confucius and The Art of War by Sun Tzu, was actually originated in the Middle East. Not only Confucius himself confessed that “I transmit rather than create,” the whole essence of Confucianism had to do with the dialectical concepts of yin and yang which came with the most probability from the ancient Iranian religions of Manicheanism and Zoroastrianism.6 In the same way, The Art of War could in reality be the brainchild of those top Iranian generals and brilliant military commanders who had to defect to the Chinese empire upon the conquest of the Sassanid dynasty by the hordes of Arab invaders back in the seventh century (633–656 AD). Surprisingly, the Middle East had also played a rather vital role in educating several generations of early Western explorers about East Asia in addition to the fact that many Middle Eastern thinkers had already contributed immensely to the rise and transmission of modern sciences during the medieval period.7 The case of the Italian Marco Polo is telling indeed. A number of historians now believe that Marco Polo and the people who accompanied him had actually never visited China. In fact, they had hardly traveled beyond the Iranian plateau, and their account on China had been taken from some Persian sources which were then replete with frsthand information about the Chinese and some other parts of Asia.8 The crux of the problem was that the narratives of the Italian Polos had essentially failed to mention several prominent characteristics of the Chinese society, including foot binding, drinking green tea, eating with chopsticks, the Great Wall, and so on.9 Both prior and after the tales of Marco Polo, for obvious reasons the Middle East region served as a bridge of sorts connecting East Asia and the West in various areas such as commerce, culture, science, and so on.10 In the face of all those previous connections and contributions, however, culture was hardly a starting point for kicking off the modern trajectory of relationship between East Asia and the Middle East. Nor was that awesome background very pivotal in shoring up the ensuing cultural advantage of the East Asian countries in the Middle East region. Upon rekindling their old connections in the twentieth century, the two sides were not initially very enthusiastic to explore various cultural characteristics of the other party, while in other times they came to learn about each other culturally through a Western prism. More importantly, the East Asian states found out gradually from their Western role models how to take advantage of culture and cultural things in order to better vouchsafe their increasingly expanding interests in some other critical areas across the Middle East.11 Such a strategic value of culture was to be augmented into the bargain when certain policies and behaviors of the West somehow defamed one party while giving publicity to the cultural credence of the other party.

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THE CLASH THESIS: UNEQUAL TREATMENT Cultural stereotypes are actually consequential. Any attempt to inculcate the general public with certain opinions and value-laden beliefs about a particular society and its cultural mores would in all likelihood have lots of unintended consequences. In contemporary history, the powerful and resourceful Western countries have virtually become the principal agents of shaping global public opinions about cultural things besides their rather dominant role in giving promotion to or picking holes in specifc political ideologies and economic philosophies. The invention of new technologies and digital outlets seems to have increased rather than decreased the domineering position of the West in molding minds and defning right and wrong. Over the course of the past century, therefore, whenever the infuential Western media and academia concentrated, somehow collectively and contemporaneously, on a certain theme and topic, they often succeeded to make that highlighted matter a focal point of global public opinions, one way or the other. In particular, their treatment of the East Asian and Middle Eastern cultures and traditions had really far-reaching impacts which at long last made it easier for the alluring strategic power of East Asia in the Middle East culturally.12 In essence, the modern history has recorded a swing of the pendulum regarding the treatment of East Asia and its cultural belongings by the West. Over a span of one century, or roughly from the mid-nineteenth century until the late 1940s, the Western cultural and intellectual attitude toward East Asia was what summarized succinctly by Rudyard Kipling: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” Various relevant assumptions of Max Weber and Carl Marx were held in rather high regard, putting the spotlight on the Eastern societies as “static” and “backward” devoid of certain characteristics conducive to the modernization and development which the Western countries were then going through.13 Although “oriental despotism” was an all-purpose portmanteau to describe almost all Eastern nations throughout the large Asian continent, the East Asian societies were more explicitly portrayed negatively and caustically as prosaic and lacking in imagination, phlegmatic, compliant, imitative, adaptive, fragile, feminine, decadent, contradictory, and so on.14 There happened to be, however, a slowly but surely U-turn in that Western attitude to East Asia from the early 1950s onward. Without doubt, the Chinese Maoism and the North Korean communism were to be perpetually denied and denigrated with utter ruthlessness, but that primarily politicoideological orientation pursued by the U.S.-led West had actually little to do with either quintessential racial features or stereotypical cultural characteristics of the East Asian societies. In sharp contrast to the pre–World War II period, therefore, the oriental people were now credited, by and large,

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with excellent capacity to engage in all branches of science and intellectual endeavor, including metaphysics.15 Even terms such as “Orient” or “Far East” which could smack of the previous biases were to be as much as possible abandoned, albeit in a gradual yet unnoticed manner. What to be now accentuated about the East Asian people was a whole array of other characteristics very favorable to economic growth and technological development such as hard work, money-mindedness, frugality, punctuality, pragmatism, and so on.16 More precisely, various traditional attributes and cultural hallmarks of East Asia were to be portrayed positively and auspiciously in the West since the 1960s onward. It coincided dubiously with a time when many cultural characteristics and moral values of the Western societies were steadily undergoing signifcant changes. In some ways, the whole process seemed to be a sort of “Easternization” of the Western civilization.17 True that many Western countries were then receiving a great number of permanent immigrants and temporary visitors from Eastern societies, but the real transformation was to go beyond certain physical and visible features which the West had long been associated with. It was time for relativism to rule the roost throughout the Western societies, while a new wave of reinterpreting “conventional things” or a growing lax attitude toward a whole host of religious and moral matters had a great potential to over time water down, if not quite marginalize, certain forces and features of the Western civilization largely in favor of the East.18 Before the Cold War was effectively over, therefore, East Asia had been turned virtually into a cultural ally of the West.19 Even the new emerging “Clash of Civilizations” thesis had a lot to do with political Islam and the Middle East than with Confucianism and East Asia. The Soviet Union and its communist ideology eventually evaporated from the global discourse like a wisp of morning mist, while many in the West were now very inclined to recognize a swiftly rising China more with mammonism than with its erstwhile Maoism or its ongoing offcial creed of twisted communism. Halfway through the 1990s, the greater Middle East region replaced the previous Soviet empire, and political Islam substituted for a discredited ideology which the Russians had done their utmost to bankroll internationally over a course of more than seven decades. Of course, Iran under the Islamic Republic had assumed the costly mantle of political Islam for more than a decade before the Soviet Union ultimately crumbled, but the disappearance of global communism and the arrival of new digital technologies and media outlets turned out to be far more effective in promoting the Middle East and its affliated political ideology as the leading cultural battleground between the West and the rest.20 As soon as the world’s citizenry crawled into the twenty-frst century, moreover, the West stoked up its ongoing cultural clash with the Middle East

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by a new project of “global war on terror.” For all of its “global” trappings, the new Western “war on terror” effectively turned the Middle East into the spearhead of its politico-cultural battlefeld with tremendous repercussions for almost all Middle Eastern societies, and especially for those Mideast citizens who were members of the diaspora living in a Western or Eastern country. At a critical time when many in the West were giving huge intellectual and cultural publicity to the “East Asian model,” the promotion of the “Middle Eastern madness” as a part of fghting “international terrorism” in many infuential Western media and academia did little to assuage some cultural suspicions which many people in the world had about an average citizen of the Middle East.21 Adding insult to injury, the dubious rise of the Islamic State (IS or ISIL) and various sheer insanities committed by its faceless men only served to further tarnish the Middle East and its diverse cultural attributes among global public opinions. In the midst of a large cultural campaign to vilify the Middle East and denounce its culture as a sworn enemy of the Western civilization, however, there happened to be in the West many disinterested and unprejudiced people who often did their utmost to essentially rectify some wrong impressions and false beliefs held by their fellow citizens about the Middle East. A number of those well-intentioned experts and activists had to sometimes jump through hoops and hurdles in order to convince their Western peers that the long-run confrontation between the West and certain political systems in the Middle East had a lot to do with politics than culture simply because the region itself used to be a cradle of civilizations and a monumental magnet of cultural things. The “war on terror” and the “axis of evil” terminologies, as they had to argue, were all parts of certain dirty political games carved out by a small coterie of powerful politico-ideological circles in the West because an overwhelming majority of people in the Middle East hardly harbored grudges against their innocent peers in the West.22 At the end of the day, the lopsided approach adopted by the West played a part in the elevation and publicity of East Asia’s cultural validity and weight in different parts of the world, including the Middle East. Although there is a possibility that global politics may soon see a day when the Middle East no longer opens up rather interminably new fault lines that would defne another chapter of contentious and quarrelsome relationship between the region and the West, however, China as the most likely candidate to serve in that capacity could simply be an additional factor in an already expanding cultural heft of East Asia in the region.23 After all, during the Cold War period the Soviet Union was widely lambasted and chastised by the West, but the communist Russians still had a lot of fame and popularity among many Middle Eastern citizens even when their political systems did not have close connections to Moscow. Moreover, similar to the Soviet Union, China may just turn the

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Middle East into a fortifed battlefeld in its anticipated cultural clash with the U.S.-led West.

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PETRIFIED AND PROMISED: IN SEARCH OF A MYTHICAL ALTER EGO When the East Asian newcomers arrived in the modern Middle East, they came up against a peculiar environment which was quite new to them in almost every aspect. They had signifcant racial and linguistic differences with their Middle Eastern counterparts, and cultural dissimilarities between the two sides were equally perceptible in many other areas. Although the greater Middle East region was culturally heterogeneous enough, it was yet to offer a very intimate and cozy environment to make the homogeneous East Asian arrivals really feel at home. The Middle Eastern countries, moreover, had long used to deal with their immediate neighbors or just engage certain Western nations for various political, economic, and cultural purposes. That was why many among the business and literati classes in the region were predisposed to primarily choose a European or North American country for their economic objectives and educational aspirations.24 This tradition had ineluctably produced few Middle Eastern people with a frsthand knowledge and experience about East Asia and its cultural attributes so that they could make their rather insular Eastern guests more comfortable and secure when they were visiting the region for any type of business.25 Still, connections had to be made, no matter if such real or imagined racial and cultural bonds between East Asia and the Middle East were not that plausible or easily verifable. What soon turned out to be a glimmer of hope as well as a perennial bone of contention was the legend of the “ten lost tribes of Israel.” A number of academic works surprisingly argued that some or all of those “rudderless” Jewish tribes had actually ended up in the present-day China.26 In similar fashion, some sinologists and anthropologists refocused on the origins of the yellow race and the Chinese civilization regardless of how much their assertive arguments and explanations were wide-ranging and mutually contradictory. Such protagonists contended that the early ancestors of the yellow race came from somewhere in the greater Middle East region, more precisely from Akkaida (Mesopotamia), Babylonia, or Egypt. Whether the Yellow Emperor of China had its provenance in the Middle East, South Asia, or the Tarim valley of Khotan (Eastern Turkestan), however, the foregoing theory had a lot of potentials to create more feelings of camaraderie and bonhomie between the Chinese (as well as other East Asian people) and their Jewish and Arab (both of them Semitic) counterparts in the Middle East.27

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Even when any of those speculations could not hold water, the Chinese and Israelis had some other important things to capitalize on.28 They could proudly brag how both of their cultures put heavy emphasis on the value of family, children, and their upbringing and education. The two sides had also been privileged to pinpoint various commonalities between the teachings of Confucius and the thoughts fostered by the laws of Moses. By making the most of their purported cultural similarities, moreover, China and Israel could actually help each other in so many ways some of which unbeknownst to them. The Israelis had a lot to beneft from various lucrative economic opportunities China could offer, while the Chinese could learn a great deal from the Jewish state’s technological prowess, business success, and global connections. On top of that, the perceived power and wealth of the Jews in the world had convinced many among the Chinese elites that through engaging in closer cultural interactions with Israel, China would be in a better position to exploit the almost “legendary infuence” of the “Jewish lobby” for handling its often complicated and growingly confrontational relationship with the United States.29 Compared to the Chinese, the Japanese people used to be far more obsessed with the Jews and their near-mythological power and control over a variety of world affairs. The rather vast negative impressions which the Japanese held about the Jews had in part been shaped by a slew of conspiracy theories blaming the powerful Jewish hands for a whole host of Japan-related matters, including an abrupt decline in the purchasing power of the Japanese currency, yen, in the late 1980s, the designs on yen, the cataclysmic earthquake of Kobe in 1995, and so on. Even the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult publicly held the Jews accountable before it moved daringly to release lethal sarin gas on the Tokyo subway in March 1995. That is no coincidence why many people in Japan are still pretty much predisposed to easily blame the Jews for any unexpected upheaval and catastrophe that befall any other nation here and there.30 This situation also often supplies grist to the mills of a burgeoning publishing industry in Japan which conventionally sells more books and magazines per capita annually as compared to many other developed and industrialized countries throughout the globe. Beyond those defeatist approach toward and cynical views about the Jews among many Japanese citizens, however, the current of offcial cultural as well as formal political interactions between Japan and Israel turned out to be a horse of a different color. After all, during World War II the imperial Japanese government had chosen to ignore several requests by the German Nazis to hurt some 40,000 Jews who happened to be within the large empire which the Japanese military forces conquered in Manchuria, China, Korea, and the region of Southeast Asia.31 That act of sheer bravado seemingly put the Japanese government on moral high ground regarding any future cultural

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and noncultural interactions involving Japan and the Jews from the second half of the 1940s onward. As two very successful outsiders that despite being the victims of the “white man” had experienced miracles in the postwar period, moreover, the Japanese and Jewish governments could provide more capital for their increasingly growing cultural connections by drawing some parallels between their stories; the way anti-Japanism was similar to anti-Semitism in the West, and how the tragedy of Hiroshima resembled the calamity of Auschwitz.32 Regarding the Jews, South Korea almost had the appearance of its neighboring Japan. Similar to their Japanese peers, many among the South Korean citizenry actually believed in various conspiratorial narratives widely attributed to the Jewish people. They also came to hold the Jews accountable for some of the modern tragedies which the Korean nation had gone through, including the occupation and annexation of their country by Japan in 1910, the division of the Korean Peninsula at the end of World War II, and the outbreak of the Korean War of 1950–1953.33 Like the Japanese government, however, the Korean government followed its own cultural and political policies with regard to Israel and the Jewish people in other parts of the world. It was not really surprising as a book penned by Park Chung-hee, the so-called architect of the ROK’s modernization and economic development programs, had widely praised the Israeli Jews for their long struggle for statehood as well as for their postwar economic and technological miracles despite being surrounded by hostile and forbidding neighbors.34 In sharp contrast to the national government of South Korea, the communist regime of the DPRK throughout its history showed no interest to engage in any type of offcial relationship with Israel, cultural or otherwise. North Korea also used incessantly a barrage of searing criticism against the Jewish state one decade after another in order to curry favor with its friends and allies across the Middle East region. This antagonistic approach of Pyongyang toward the Israelis went against the orientation embraced by the government in Taipei. In fact, tapping into a whole array of bilateral cultural interactions, both in formal and informal ways, turned out to become a linchpin of Taiwan’s policy vis-à-vis the Jewish state of Israel. In the wake of its nonexistent offcial political and diplomatic relations with Israel (as it was the case with an overwhelming majority of countries around the world), culture was a far safer area to exploit without risking to antagonize many other stakeholders in East Asia and the Middle East. To better cultivate their growing cultural bonds, Taiwan and Israel had certainly lots of common interests to exploit; from being small yet successful allies of the United States to acquiring their past economic and industrial accomplishments in a harsh and inhospitable environment.35

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CAPITALIZING ON CULTURE: OILING THE WHEELS OF OTHER RELATIONS In modern history, when the Japanese intellectuals came into contact with the Middle Eastern culture, some of them jumped straight away into a precarious conclusion by asserting rather self-assuredly that if polygamy was all that they could learn from the Middle East, they would not need it. But as time went by, they realized that the greater Middle East region was so diverse and complex that a lot of its cultural twists and societal intricacies appeared to be really esoteric and unfathomable to many outsiders. The interested Japanese as well as their fellow East Asian experts and observers, moreover, came up with this cold reality over time that the region was actually of enormous importance, requiring them to inevitably grasp a solid understanding about various historical developments and cultural facts related to the Middle East (and broadly the Islamic world). After all, a better knowledge of the Middle Eastern cultures and traditions could certainly make it easier for them to advance their increasingly expanding interests across the region in almost all other political, military, economic, fnancial, and technological felds.36 It started largely in the aftermath of the frst oil shock when out of the blue the East Asian newcomers found themselves badly exposed and undefended. They had to recognize that they knew very little about the topsy-turvy world of Middle Eastern politics let alone the sticky-wicket realm of its cultural affairs and deep-rooted traditions. Petroleum had unanticipatedly come to infuse almost every major politico-economic decision, bringing about massive ramifcations for the very survival and prosperity of many other nations, including the quickly industrializing and developing countries of East Asia. True that oil had surged to unbelievably infuse various critical issues, but there were also many other things which could in turn have an impact on oil and oil decisions. Culture and cultural matters were among them. In a Middle Eastern context and in spite of a relatively brutish and cold-blooded nature of its power politics, such primarily subjective affairs could potentially, and sometimes rapidly, transform the dynamics of various political choices and economic commitments no matter if the stakeholders were from the region itself or they were hailing from other parts of the world.37 As a corollary to that, the major political players in the East Asian countries got involved, urging the relevant individuals and institutions in both public and private sectors to do their utmost with regard to examining and exploring in deep various aspects of Middle Eastern history and culture. Generous funds were allocated, and some special bodies or groups were assigned the specialized task of working on the Middle East and the knotty roots of its politico-cultural affairs. On a long-term basis, moreover, almost each East Asian country gave a clear mandate to certain academic and research

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institutions, which were normally headquartered in the political capital, to concentrate on the Middle East with a prime goal of training relevant specialists and educating skillful graduates to meet various demands of their nation’s growing connections to and interactions with the region. Additionally, many bureaucratic departments of different governmental institutions were asked to from now on pay serious attention to varied forms of cultural exchanges with more powerful and infuential countries across the Middle East. Despite some ongoing measures, however, by the early 1990s East Asia’s overall awareness of and academic accomplishments about the Middle East were rather negligible. Even many Middle East specialists and pundits in East Asia had to often accept that their region was by and large far behind some resourceful Western countries in terms of training adequately very capable experts or producing a suffcient body of knowledge and research regarding the Middle East.38 This was a critical time when regional and international politics in the Middle East, and many other parts of the globe, were undergoing tremendous developments, while the East Asian societies themselves were increasingly tilting toward internationalization and opening-up. The situation provided many relevant internationalizing academic bodies and research institutions in East Asia with a rather unique opportunity to tap into all rich human and material resources which their counterparts in the West had to offer, either directly or indirectly, concerning the Middle East region.39 More importantly, engaging in more direct exchanges with the Middle East’s own academic institutions and research centers became a new aspect of East Asia’s fresh approach to overcome its rather poor record in scholarship on the region. Through dispatching successive generations of students and researchers to some specially chosen nations in the Middle East, the relevant institutions in East Asia were now in a better position to take advantage of those Mideast-savvy individuals to foster all-out and deeper connections to the region. Another equally important step was allocating a higher number of scholarships and research grants to Middle Eastern students and scholars. As part of this policy, almost all East Asian countries set aside special public funds to recruit regularly through their universities and research bodies a bigger number of Middle Eastern applicants in various felds of sciences, though such an increasingly trendy scientifc and cultural orientation was not constrained to the Middle East alone as it covered almost the entire world, including both developed and developing nations. Meanwhile, the new wave of globalization and massive changes which had come to engulf the entire world brought many people in the Middle East into their senses with regard to an increasingly growing role of East Asia in the twenty-frst century. They had to confess that they had remained far behind their East Asian counterparts in terms of scrutinizing and grasping the other side’s historical developments and cultural intricacies. The East Asian

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countries had generally gained an edge, while their counterparts across the Middle East region had by and large a long way to go in order to bring up to date their repository of data and knowledge about East Asia and its enormous transformation over the past several decades. In fact, the Middle East had conventionally remained so obsessed with the West that it had ignored very much about what was actually going on in the East. When the East Asian countries reached out to the Middle East for a new course of academic and cultural exchanges in the post–Cold War era, thus, the relevant authorities and institutions in the region had a better chance to appreciate their signifcant gap versus the quickly changing Eastern stakeholders.40 As a consequence, several relatively resourceful countries in the Middle East set up, albeit very belatedly, their own academic departments and research programs to look into East Asia and its varied developments. Part of this new educational agenda in the region was to study more about East Asia’s languages and cultural characteristics as an important instrument to develop closer connections between the two sides in different areas.41 In contemporary history, almost always political institutions and offcial representatives in most of the Middle East had been in charge of conducting various forms of interactions with East Asia. Now, it was time to bring some meaningful changes into this old pattern by giving more say to other players in society, including universities and research institutions, no matter if such academic bodies were still publicly funded and infuenced greatly by certain governmental policies and regulations. Furthermore, this approach could serve some other crucial objectives at a deciding moment when the East Asian and Middle Eastern governments were increasingly acknowledging certain important elements of their cultural commonalities and common heritages as the Eastern societies.42

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BUMPED UP: “ASIAN VALUES” SOUNDED FAMILIAR As soon as a great deal of certain ideological wrangles and dogmatic remains were about to be swept away with the debris of the Cold War’s history, new contentious debates and controversial themes rushed to replace them. The self-proclaimed “new world order” by the United States also envisioned for the mankind a new path in which some specifc values and freedoms were to be widely promoted and reinforced throughout the globe. Many conventional concepts of international law, particularly the principle of state sovereignty, were now subject to new interpretations, making it rather diffcult for many authoritarian and illiberal political systems across the globe to as usual stick to their old patterns of ruling over their unfortunate and hapless citizens with roughshod politics. More importantly, a barrage of boosterism that the

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triumphant Americans and their all-weather partners here and there threw behind some catchy concepts such as universal values put many non-Western societies in rather defensive position with regard to what the new rhetoric in the West would entail.43 Many in East Asia were simply suspicious about what universal values would imply in practice. The Chinese were patently among the fercest opponents of raising and promoting such issues, but there happened to be also several Western allies in the region which were really critical about the advancement of the recent doctrine underpinned by the West. South Korea, for instance, had just recently celebrated its decades-long process of democratization, while many among the Korean elites were now talking about “Confucian capitalism” and “Confucian democracy” in contrast to what some universal and liberal values actually suggested. Taiwan was no exception either. In fact, the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government, which was now controlling the isolated island under more democratic trappings, had previously managed to maintain the longest period of military rule through imposing a draconian martial law over its besieged population for some thirty-eight years from 1949 until 1987.44 Compared to South Korea and Taiwan, however, the Southeast Asian country of Singapore, as another member of the “Asian Tigers” club emerged virtually as a leading state in the region to oppose the concept of universal values. Singapore and its rather domineering leader, Lee Kuan Yew, primarily advocated the concept of “Asian values,” arguing in essence that the sovereign societies across the region had long been governed by certain moral principles and code of behaviors which had recently contributed greatly to their successful trajectories of industrialization and economic development. Backed up by various ethical and religious teachings of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even Islam, “Asian values” highlighted the importance of family, social harmony, respect for authority, unity, loyalty, sympathy, consensual decision-making, distributive justice, and so on. Despite being subsumed under the engaging rubric of “Asian values,” such relatively particularistic code of morals had long made it possible for many Eastern political systems to comfortably favor the interests of society as a whole over the interests of individuals, sacrifcing in principle certain civil freedoms and political rights on the altar of materializing their coveted goals of social stability and economic prosperity.45 In that sense, therefore, what Lee Kuan Yew and his staunch supporters in East Asia upheld stood on principles diametrically opposite to the Western values of universal human rights, individualism, privacy, liberty, due process of law, right consciousness, instrumental rationality, and so on. That is why many in the West soon accused those Asian leaders of resorting to the concept of “Asian values” in order to justify their authoritarian political and economic

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practices. In their disapproval and censure, those Western critics pointed out that the powerful proponents of “Asian values” had actually strived to resist any outside condemnation of and attack to their old style of authority and leadership by manipulating what Aristotle dubbed endoxa (reputable opinions). Additionally, the Western antagonists argued in their frm rebuttals that some of what had been championed by the portmanteau description of “Asian values” during the 1980s and especially in the middle of the 1990s had in fact universal appeal and were not unique to the Asian societies alone.46 Amid a tempestuous cultural kerfuffe regarding the desirability of Western values versus the justifcation for “Asian values,” however, the greater Middle East region was by and large a well-wisher backing the East. After all, the concept of “Asian values” had essentially appealed to many powerful circles around the world, including some in the West and a majority in the Middle East, whose overall politico-ideological or economic interests, if not both, had been threatened perilously and unpredictably by the rhetoric of universal values and standards.47 Moreover, the Middle East itself had just become a major target of the new U.S.-led doctrine to promote human rights and democratic principles, if necessarily through force. The new Western interpretations of international law and state sovereignty had obviously come as a menace to many autocratic and one-party political establishments across the region, compelling them to more than ever tap into various cultural values and religious principles of their own societies to justify the way they were ruling over them. At the same time, the Middle East was deeply involved in another serious cultural confict with the West concerning the “clash of civilizations” thesis. Although the Eastern teachings of Confucianism had also been cited by this doctrine as a potential menacing force vis-à-vis the Western civilization, however, it was the Middle East which had been singled out essentially as the largest cultural adversary to the West and its historical achievements. Led by Iran, the Middle East responded to the Western rhetoric by initiating the largely politico-cultural project of “dialogue among civilizations.” The main objective was to invite the cynical yet redoubtable champions of the Western civilization and Christian traditions for exchanging views and cultural debates with their Middle Eastern and Islamist counterparts. Of course, many enthusiastic advocates of major Eastern religions and “Asian values” were also invited to be active partners of such civilizational dialogues which often largely involved many Middle Eastern experts and activists as well as their peers from the West.48 In a nutshell, the concept of “Asian values” resonated with the Middle East in the same way that many in East Asia had empathy for the theme of “dialogue among civilizations.” The Western rhetoric of universal values and “clash of civilizations” had obviously given both East Asian and Middle

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Eastern regions a persuasive rationale to feel sympathetic toward each other, convincing them to as much as possible give prominence to their cultural commonalities and shared values. In the end, the Middle East generally did not intend to get up on its soapbox in favor of the “Asian values” argument, nor did many among infuential leaders in East Asia participate actively in favor of the “dialogue among civilizations” scheme. But the whole episode turned out to be very conducive to various rounds of ongoing cultural exchanges and civilizational consultations involving the two sides.49 Besides that, such bilateral and multilateral undertakings turned out to be very benefcial to East Asia’s increasingly growing cultural popularity and soft power stratagem throughout the Middle East region.

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WORKING ON THE SINEWS OF SOFT POWER Historically, East Asia suffered from image defcit not only in the Middle East, but in some other parts of the world as well. In contemporary history, when the East Asian states arrived in the Middle East, they were essentially far behind their Western counterparts in terms of having an illustrious reputation or making a perfunctory positive impression on the local population. Part of such a rather poor image of the East Asians had to do with their racial grouping which had put them ineluctably on a par with the primitive and savage Mongol conquerors who had ridden roughshod over the region only a couple of centuries ago. Various horrible memories of those days still had a role to play on the national psyche and personal subconscious of many people across the region which had turned out to be one of the biggest victims of the Mongol invasions.50 Even today some nationalist and conservative forces within the media and academic circles in certain Middle Eastern countries occasionally tar with the same brush the occupying and bloodthirsty forces of Genghis Khan and the modern ravenous and wolfsh packs of the East Asian corporations, juxtaposing the long-term repercussions of the Mongol brutality and destruction against various vile and dreadful economic and cultural ramifcations spawned by an unwarranted infux of goods and brands fooded into the region from East Asia. The overall standing and profle of East Asia in the Middle East, and certainly in many other parts of the world, however, started to improve gradually in lockstep with the region’s modern spectacular accomplishments in all economic, fnancial, and technological areas. It was somehow similar to the situation of certain East Asian products and brands which initially experienced a really tough time in competing against some other advanced and well-known goods and marques supplied to the region from the West. The more the East Asian states developed, therefore, the larger they found opportunities to advance their

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crucial interests throughout the Middle East. As the Western countries had already proved it in the Middle East and other places, it seemed that growing technologically developed and fnancially resourceful had actually become a precondition for gaining a better status and prestige in the region.51 That is no coincidence why the Japanese emerged rather victorious and dependable in the Middle East frst long before the “Asian Tigers” and later China managed to eclipse a great deal of their reputation and popularity there.52 Although the East Asian countries noticed over time a relatively dramatic improvement in their general profle in the Middle East following their own breathtaking achievements at home, they still wanted to look more popular and appealing among the average community in the region. In fact, they wished that their name and popularity could advance in conjunction with their astonishingly mushrooming material interests in different areas in the Middle East. Enjoying a more positive image could in essence make it easier for the East Asian stakeholders to promote their expanding commercial interests in the region in short-term, while that higher approving rate had equally a great potential in assisting them to secure those sedimented interests in long haul. It all boiled down to what is often called “soft power” which East Asia itself had just learned it from the West.53 After several decades of courting mostly material gains in the Middle East, the time had arrived for almost all East Asian governments to take a leaf out of the Western book of soft power and capitalize signifcantly, albeit belatedly, in this area of largely invisible power and heft. In international relations parlance, soft power is by and large the ability to capture hearts and minds without using military force or pecuniary resources. For being primarily cultural and intangible, soft power has a lot to do with the alluring capacity of a country’s ideas and institutions even when those invisible thoughts and organizations are themselves the genesis of creating hard power and material possessions of that particular nation. Such immaterial heft and magnetism would in turn facilitate the ground for a speedy success of a whole array of politico-diplomatic agendas as well as economic and technological schemes pursued by various top representatives of that nation.54 In that sense, few countries are really fortunate enough to normally wield disproportionate soft power infuence over other sovereign territories. As far as the Middle East is concerned, however, the East Asian states have in more recent decades strived to often take advantage of their own material capabilities (in particular cold, hard cash) in order to either create or enhance their soft power in the region, though it is really hard to characterize this peculiar approach a sort of “smart power” which is itself an amalgamation of hard power plus soft power.55 Creating a more number of Confucian Institutes throughout the Middle East is, for instance, a recent initiative of the Chinese government which

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underscores the value of fnancial power in promoting soft power by Beijing in the region. In spite of a rising tide of scathing criticism in some Western countries attacking the inception of those Confucian Institutes as “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up,”56 however, this Chinese move should not be really interpreted much different than various similar policies and measures previously exploited by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to gain more infuence among scholars and other literati classes of the powerful and infuential Western countries, the United States in particular.57 Over the past decades, moreover, the Japanese and South Korean governments have also attempted to fnancially support the establishment of several major educational and research programs across the Middle East to promote their own cultures and languages with the ultimate goal of acquiring more soft power in the region. Compared to the cloistered and often widely scrutinized environment of the academic world, the entertainment industry turned out to be a far rewarding domain to foster soft power in the Middle East. In this largely cultural sphere, the existence of certain offcial policies or the availability of various forms of fnancial assistance given by government or corporate stakeholders happened to be instrumental in achieving the end results as well. A combination of both could certainly go a long way, and that is why the rather amateurish and parochial Koreans managed to comfortably outstrip their professional Japanese and culturally rich Chinese rivals in terms of mesmerizing with their Hallyu (Korean wave) products a rather large crowd of population from the Middle East as well as from some other parts of the world.58 As counterintuitive as it seemed at frst, for example, a number of popular Korean historical dramas dubbed and broadcast in Iran during the presidency of Ahmadinejad acquired astonishingly viewing rates larger than what those Hallyu works had already secured in the ROK. Their walloping success had certainly a big impact in terms of bringing about instantaneous soft power for South Korea as well as promoting the marketability and sale of its omnipresent products and brands in the Persian Gulf country.59 A last but not least area to build swift and pervasive soft power tuned out to be tourism. As a very powerful engine to integrate the world and an important yardstick to size up a nation’s internationalization in recent decades,60 tourism had obviously a lot of potentials to create trust and good feelings between East Asia and the Middle East. At a critical period when many Middle Eastern citizens were encountering enormous bureaucratic and psychological pressures to travel to the West for pleasure or just for business and study, moreover, the East Asian states had clearly found a unique chance to uplift their image and reputation in the region by smoothing the way for a growing number of Middle Eastern travelers and well-heeled health tourists. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan all facilitated and expedited their visa issuance for

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most of Middle Eastern countries, while China additionally encouraged its increasingly growing large crowd of traveling citizens to include the Middle East in their itinerary while visiting abroad for leisure and recreation.61 Besides contributing to the desired soft power objectives, the policy also played a part in expanding the number of Middle Eastern nationals who were increasingly opting for an East Asian destination for their temporary sojourn or long-term residence.

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PERKS OF MASS MIGRATION: CULTURAL CHAOS MEETS CULTURAL CONFIDENCE All societies, Western and Eastern or developed and underdeveloped, have had their own share of turbulent history, experiencing periods of upheaval and tumult rendered upon them by war, internecine strife, natural disaster, economic hardship, and so on. The thriving East Asian countries are themselves a perfect example of how any nation may go from rags to riches, and from clogs to clogs, within only a few generations. It was not long time ago when a throng of Japanese people had to leave their backward and poverty-stricken country permanently before tens of thousands of their descents (Nikkei or ethnic Japanese) from Latin America alone decided by the early 1990s to move to Japan as their cloud-cuckoo-land to work and live.62 Koreans underwent a similar situation only a few decades before the ROK surfaced as a rather paradise for many Southeast Asian mail brides and manual workers regardless of the fact that presently tens of thousands of Korean women and men are serving the Japanese entertainment and sex industries alone.63 China has its own unique narratives to share as well. In the heydays of the Cultural Revolution and the ensuing mayhem and famine in the 1960s, for instance, many Chinese nationals were seeking refuge in North Korea without having a clue that by the 1990s the turn of the tide would come forcing a large number of starving North Koreans to run to a rising China for their very survival. Moreover, the greater China is increasingly becoming a dreamland for zillions of ethnic Chinese Diasporas whose miserable and despondent ancestors had once very little option but to leave their fatherland permanently for an imagined new life somewhere in the Americas, Oceania, Southeast Asia, and so on.64 In comparison to East Asia, the trajectory of historical ups and downs in the Middle East is far more dramatic and evocative. In contemporary history, however, it is really striking to realize that the formative decades of industrialization and economic development in East Asia coincided rather dubiously with the Middle East’s chapter of accidents. Of course, the fancy and swanky cities like Dubai were propped up or occasional windfalls from crude exports made it possible for many oil-producing nations in the region

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to appear rather modern and cosmopolitan by bringing in almost all types of advanced and luxurious foreign products and services especially for their compliant and cooperative elites, but such a myopic picture would hardly reveal what the region as a whole went through. After all, persistent military conficts, politico-ideological infghtings, psychological warfare, austerity economic and fnancial measures instructed externally and imposed internally, redundancy and joblessness, and generally national rudderlessness turned out to by and large wreak havoc upon the very self-esteem and cultural conviction of the Middle Eastern top-fight youths and mature talents, persuading a rather large number of them to opt for migration as a coveted option before them.65 As a corollary to that, the West which was itself not irreproachable at all with regard to various Middle Eastern dilemmas and travails became a prime destination for an uninterrupted fow of brain drain and capital fight from the region. Over time, this adverse phenomenon depleted the Middle East from a large sum of its human talents and fnancial resources, though a lion’s share of the region’s natural reserves had also been squandered for long through exporting minerals, oil and gas in particular. Besides exploiting the Middle Eastern migrants for its insatiable yet immediate needs for creativity and ambitious experts in various areas, moreover, the West found an abundant and ftting source of human capital to utilize for its mega projects of societal diversifcation and cultural enrichment.66 But as many Western countries have already approached the point of no return regarding various negative ramifcations brought about by their rather self-seeking and shortsighted migration policies, East Asia is increasingly emerging as a next major target for racial and cultural diversifcation by taking advantage of teeming foreign migrants, including Middle Eastern ones.67 As a case in point, during the recent civil war in Yemen a signifcant number of Yemeni refugees were found out of the blue in South Korea’s southern island of Jeju. It was not really clear how all those rather poor and inexperienced asylum seekers from Yemen had traveled a long journey of ocean to end up in Jeju. The news which sparked a frisson of anger in South Korea leading to massive demonstrations in several major cities against accepting those political refugees, however, hardly appeared on the headlines of many Western and Middle Eastern countries. After pretending to the contrary for some time, the Korean government eventually prevailed over the matter by bestowing upon a good number of those Yemeni asylum seekers a refugee status enabling them to gradually leave the island toward other Korean cities on the mainland. The whole episode also forewarned that in any future confict and tragedy in the Middle East, its susceptible and devastated citizens may easily fall prey to a growing number of national diversifcation schemes across the East Asian region.68

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In fact, both Japan and South Korea have carved out in recent years several major national projects to bring in a rather big number of foreigners. The ultimate and unstated objective is to diversify their homogeneous societies, but both governments often keep justifying their revised immigration policies primarily in terms of lower birthrates, aging population, and new requirements to supply additional workforces in different economic areas.69 For experiencing almost all of those fendish social problems and industrial prerequisites, the government in China will also follow suit sooner or later. In a foreseeable future, however, the issue will remain very sensitive in those East Asian countries, forcing their respective governments to usually walk on eggshells concerning any bold measure to suddenly bring in a rather large number of foreigners such as Middle Eastern citizens whose racial and cultural backgrounds differ signifcantly from their peers in East Asia. Regardless of any potential impact of those mega plans, the population of Middle Eastern citizens residing in East Asia has been gradually increasing one year after another over the past several decades. Whether going to East Asia initially for study or work, a growing number of those Mideast nationals have actually opted for staying in the region on a long-term basis. More importantly, an enhanced image of East Asia in the Middle East as well as various educational and economic incentives provided by the East Asian governments have all played a role in encouraging more Middle Eastern youngsters to think of an East Asian destination for their future ambitious plans. If sustained and buttressed by all concerned stakeholders, such a primarily cultural development would inevitably contribute, one way or the other, to East Asia’s cumulative soft power and its expanding cultural clout in the Middle East. On top of that, strategic asset in the realm of culture would make it possible for the East Asian states to push forward or at least vouchsafe their hardly gained advantageous position in the Middle East in other political, military, economic, and technological areas.70

NOTES 1. Ivan Tselichtchev and Philippe Debroux, Asia’s Turning Point: An Introduction to Asia’s Dynamic Economies at the Dawn of the New Century (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2009). 2. Charles J. Ball, Chinese and Sumerian (London: Oxford University Press, 1913); David N. Keightley, ed., The Origins of Chinese Civilization (Berkley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1983); and Sharron Gu, A Cultural History of the Chinese Language (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2012), pp. 37–38.

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3. Martina Deuchler, Confucian Gentlemen and Barbarian Envoys: The Opening of Korea, 1875–1885 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1977), p. 1. 4. Alessandro Bausani, The Persians from the Earliest Days to the Twentieth Century (London: Elek Books, 1971), p. 108. 5. Rashid ad-Din’s book, Jami at-tawarikh or Collections of History, deserves to be dubbed the “frst world history” because it includes the history of the Mongols, Chinese, Indians, and Europeans (the Franks). Herbert Frank, China under Mongol Rule (Aldershot, Hampshire: Variorum, 1994), pp. 69–70. 6. Samuel N. C. Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China: A Historical Survey (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985); and Richard R. Losch, The Many Faces of Faith: A Guide to World Religions and Christian Traditions (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), pp. 17–19. 7. Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 78–79. 8. Frank, China under Mongol Rule, p. 54. 9. For more details, see Frances Wood, Did Marco Polo Go to China? (London: Martin Secker and Warburg, 1995). 10. E. L. Jones, Growth Recurring: Economic Change in World History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988), pp. 111–112. 11. Andrew Hammond, Popular Culture in the Arab World: Arts, Politics, and the Media (Cairo and New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2007). 12. Richard F. Calichman, Takeuchi Yoshimi: Displacing the West (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004), p. 160. 13. After signing the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, a report by the American Commodore Matthew Perry described the people of Japan somehow mercilessly: “The Japanese are, undoubtedly, like the Chinese, a very imitative, adaptive, and compliant people and in these characteristics may be discovered a promise of the comparative easy introduction of foreign customs and habits, if not of the nobler principles and better life of a higher civilization.” Cited from: William Beasley, The Meiji Restoration (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 96. In the same way, in the mid-nineteenth century the frst British Minister to the country depicted the entire Japanese archipelago as “a cluster of islands on the furthest edge of the horizon, inhabited by a race grotesque and savage.” Cited from: W. J. Macpherson, The Economic Development of Japan 1868–1941 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 1. Astonishingly, as late as 1904, the Tsarist Russian Minister in Washington was singling out the Japanese people as “little yellow monkeys.” For more details, see Endymion Wilkinson, Misunderstanding: Europe versus Japan (Tokyo: Chuokoron-Sha, Inc., 1981), p. 47. 14. Of course, when the Japanese managed to put their own house in order following a few decades of breakneck modernization and economic development under the so-called Meiji restoration, they came to treat many of their Eastern counterparts with the same ruthless manner. That is why in their view in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for instance, shit was the biggest product of Korea, Seoul was the “shit capital” of the world, and the Koreans were so backward that they could hardly

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distinguish miso (a fermented paste used to make Japanese soup) from kuso (shit). For more details, see Peter Duus, The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895–1910 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995), p. 403. 15. Paul S. Reinsch, Intellectual and Political Currents in the Far East (Boston and New York: Houghton Miffin Company, 9011), pp. 294–295; Owen Lattimore, Solution in Asia (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1945), p. 49; and Jack Goody, The East in the West (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 16. Penelope Francks, The Japanese Consumer: An Alternative Economic History of Modern Japan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 74. 17. In the view of some stalwart supporters of the classical cultural mores and intellectual attributes of the West, what was going on was in effect a “cultural suicide” because the Western countries were virtually heading down a path to cultural and intellectual irrelevance. Douglas Murray, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2018). 18. Colin Campbell, Easternization of the West: A Thematic Account of Cultural Change in the Modern Era (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2007). 19. Aaron H. Skabelund, Empire of Dogs: Canines, Japan, and the Making of the Modern Imperial World (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2011). 20. Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within (New York: Broadway Books, 2006). 21. Stephen Sheehi, Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign against Muslims (Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press, Inc., 2011). 22. Mark Levine, Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil (London: Oneworld Publications, 2005); and Kupchan, No One’s World, p. 120. 23. Calichman, Takeuchi Yoshimi, p. 144. 24. Graham, Iran, pp. 58, 199. 25. Jeffrey A. Engel, ed., The China Diary of George H.W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), p. 202. 26. Arthur Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe: The Khazar Empire and Its Heritage (London: Hutchinson, 1976). 27. Anson H. Laytner and Jordan Paper, eds., The Chinese Jews of Kaifeng: A Millennium of Adaptation and Endurance (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017). 28. Midler, Poorly Made in China, pp. 30–31. 29. Shalom S. Wald, China and the Jewish People: Old Civilizations in a New Era (Jerusalem: The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, 2004), pp. 11, 50. 30. Goodman and Miyazawa, Jews in the Japanese Mind, pp. 3, 8. 31. Meron Medzini, Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Japan and the Jews during the Holocaust Era (Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2019). 32. Additionally, some observers have compared the two people differently by, for instance, drawing an analogy between the Mitsui family in Japan and Jewish Rothschild family in Europe. For more details, see Ben-Ami Shillony, Jews & the Japanese: The Successful Outsiders (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1991), pp. 66, 75, 91. 33. Stanley Sandler, The Korean War: An Encyclopedia (New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995), p. 324.

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34. Park, Kunggawa hydngmydngiwa na. 35. Dan Breznitz, Innovation and the State: Political Choice and Strategies for Growth in Israel, Taiwan, and Ireland (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 59, 81. 36. Kaoru Sugihara and J. A. Allan, eds., Japan in the Contemporary Middle East (London: Routledge, 1993). 37. Azad, East Asian Politico-Economic Ties with the Middle East, pp. 15, 136. 38. James H. Grayson, Korea: A Religious History (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), p. 196. 39. Katakura and Katakura, Japan and the Middle East, p. vi. 40. Azad, Iran and China, p. 87. 41. Wald, China and the Jewish People, p. 52. 42. United Nations Educational, Scientifc and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Dialogue among Civilizations: The Round Table on the Eve of the United Nations Millennium Summit (Paris: UNESCO, 2001). 43. Sheldon W. Simon, “Regional Security Structures in Asia: The Question of Relevance,” in Sheldon W. Simon, ed., East Asian Security in the Post-Cold War Era (New York: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 1993), pp. 11–27. 44. Graham Field, Economic Growth and Political Change in Asia (London: MacMillan Press LTD, 1995), p. 155. 45. Daniel A. Bell, Beyond Liberal Democracy: Political Thinking for an East Asian Context (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006). 46. Stephen McCarthy, The Political Theory of Tyranny in Singapore and Burma: Aristotle and the Rhetoric of Benevolent Despotism (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 78, 85. 47. Garry Rodan, “Political Accountability and Human Rights in Singapore,” in Thomas W. D. Davis and Brian Galligan, eds., Human Rights in Asia (Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2011), pp. 70–90. 48. Fred Dallmayr, Dialogue among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 71–83. 49. Azad, Iran and China, pp. 33–34. 50. In some views, the barbaric and sadistic conquest of the Mongol hordes in the thirteenth century eventually upended in a more effective way the international balance of power from the Middle East to Europe in the late Middle Ages. Edward Luce, The Retreat of Western Liberalism (London: Little, Brown Book Group, 2017), p. 25. 51. Nathan and Scobell, China’s Search for Security, p. 321. 52. Azad, Looking East, pp. 45, 64, 121. 53. Ford, China Looks at the West. 54. Nathan and Scobell, China’s Search for Security, p. 318. 55. David Shambaugh, “China’s Soft Power Push: The Search for Respect,” Foreign Affairs 94, no. 4 (July/August 2015): 99–107. 56. Rachelle Peterson, Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education (Princeton, NJ: National Association of Scholars, 2017), p. 9.

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57. Christopher Lingle, The Rise and Decline of the Asian Century: False Starts on the Path to the Global Millennium (Hong Kong: Asia 2000 Limited, 1997), p. 222. 58. Patrick Smith, Somebody Else’s Century: East and West in a Post-Western World (New York: Pantheon Books, 2010), p. 74. 59. Azad, Koreans in Iran, pp. 115–117. 60. Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990), p. 31. 61. Joshua Kurlantzick, Charm Offensive: How China’s Soft Power is Transforming the World (New York: Yale University Press, 2007). 62. Nigel Harris, The New Untouchable: Immigration and the New World Worker (London and New York: I. B. Tauris Publishers, 1995), p. 52. 63. Azad, Quo Vadis Korea, pp. 137–139. 64. David Zweig and Chen Changgui, China’s Brain Drain to the United States: Views of Overseas Chinese Students and Scholars in the 1990s (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 1995). 65. David M. Reimers, Other Immigrants: The Global Origins of the American People (New York: New York University Press, 2005), pp. 207–231; and Dawn Chatty, Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). 66. John Tomlinson, Globalization and Culture (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1999); and Tyler Cowen, Creative Destruction: How Globalization Is Changing the World’s Cultures (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002), pp. 6, 41. 67. Ricardo Duchesne, Canada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity, and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians (London: Black House Publishing, 2017). 68. The potential danger for the Middle East is actually not without precedent. In the early 1990s, for instance, many among the large number of the Iranians who had gone to Japan for work after the end of the Iran–Iraq War found themselves in the clutches of the Japanese mafa, Yakuza, which deployed them deceitfully and ruthlessly as its front men and foot soldiers to engage in various criminal activities such as selling narcotic drugs. Duncan McCargo, Contemporary Japan (New York: ST. Martin’s Press, 1999), p. 72; and Harris, p. 1. 69. Richard Florida, The Flight of the Creative Class (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), p. 251. 70. Azad, Looking East, pp. 4, 25, 137–138.

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Index

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9/11 incident, 41, 52, 57, 89 Abu Dhabi, 113 academia, 6, 89, 94, 128, 130–31, 134–36, 139 accessory, 18 accomplice, 17 accusation, 46, 53, 56, 58, 137 acquisition, 53, 55, 71–73, 102–3, 106, 116, 133 administration, 54, 85–87, 89, 91, 108, 119 adversary, 15, 27, 30, 39, 58, 85, 138 advisor, 1, 105 affiction, 31, 47, 78, 80, 82 Afghanistan, 34n23, 109 agency, 4. See also international system agent, 16, 43, 93, 111, 128 aging population, 144 agriculture, 65–66, 81–82, 92 Ahura Mazda, 115 aircraft carrier, 42–43 airport, 114 Akkaida, 131 al-Asad, 53–54 Alfonso, Juan Pablo Pérez, 98n68 allegation, 54 allegiance, 31, 119

alliance, 5, 14, 21, 23, 40–41, 48, 74. See also ally ally, 14–15, 27–29, 40, 50–51, 56, 105, 133 al-Qaeda, 34n23 ambassador, 95n21 America. See United States The Analects of Confucius, 127 Anglo–American, 34n24 Anglo-Persian Oil Company, 73 Anglo-Saxon economy, 117 annexation, 133 antagonism, 14, 22–24, 47, 133, 138 anthropologist, 131 anti-Semitism, 133. See also Jew; Jewish book boom; Jewish lobby anti-terror law, 57 Arabian Peninsula, 11n2 Arab–Israeli confict, 20, 22, 24, 40, 45 Arab Spring, 47, 53, 82 archenemy, 77 archrival, 23, 25, 30 Aristotle, 138 arms: deals, 14, 44, 47–50, 52, 111, 116; embargo, 27, 51, 116; export of, 9, 43, 51, 61n43; North Korea, 32, 49, 54; purchase of, 5, 43, 51, 61n40, 86; United States, 34n23, 43; WMDs, 52–55, 86 169

170

Index

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arm-twisting, 63n73, 87, 116 artisan, 126 The Art of War, 127 ascendancy, 3, 10, 39, 82, 86, 108, 126 Asian developmental model, 10, 67, 71, 91–94, 109, 130 Asian fnancial crisis, 90, 117 Asian Tigers, 56, 67, 84, 91–93, 103, 112, 137 Asian values, 136–39 assembly work, 109 assimilation, 102 assistance, 14, 29–30, 54, 105–7, 110, 113, 141 asylum seeker, 143 asymmetry, 118 atrocity, 17 Aum Shinrikyo, 132 Auschwitz, 133 austerity, 110, 117, 143 Austria, 48 authoritarianism, 14, 18, 20, 82, 93, 136–37 authority, 14, 26, 137–38 autocracy, 138 automobile, 87, 108, 114 autonomy, 19 axis of evil, 130 Ba’ath Party: Iraq, 23, 37n63, 52; Syria, 53 Babylonia, 131 badge of honor, 70 Baghdad, 23, 28, 48, 52, 68, 89, 107 balance of power, 25–26, 147n50 ballistic missile, 52–53, 111. See also arms bargain price, 79 battlefeld, 130–31 battleship, 42 Beijing, 31, 48, 51, 54, 58, 114–16, 119–20. See also China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), 114, 120. See also Silk Road benefciary, 9, 71, 81, 102–3, 107

Berlin–Baghdad railway, 39 big-power diplomacy (daguo waijiao), 54 black market, 50, 55, 109 Black Sea, 113 blitzkrieg, 74 blockbuster, 91 bloodshed, 20, 40 blueprint, 92 bogeyman, 86 bonanza, 82, 108 bordello, 43 boundary, 13. See also territory boycott, 75, 109 brain drain, 16, 86, 143 brand, 6, 44, 82–84, 87–88, 92–94, 107–12, 139–41 Brazil, 78 BRICS, 26 Britain, 13–14, 16, 23, 31, 40, 48–53, 84 British India Offce, 13 British Minister, 145n13 Buddhism, 137 budget defcit, 63n80 burden sharing, 56 bureaucracy, 51, 68, 81, 105, 126, 135, 141 bureaucrat, 126 Bush, George W., 89 Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, 113 Cairo, 29 candidate, 34n23, 130 capital fight, 16, 86, 143 capitalism, 30, 99n100, 112, 137 catching up with the West, 83, 90 center of gravity, 9 Central Asia, 89, 126 central bank, 88, 91 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 33n12, 40 CEO, 42–44 chaebol, 87 Changan, 108

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Index

checkbook diplomacy, 57 chemical weapon, 53–54. See also unconventional weapon Chiang, Kai-shek, 62n67 Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), 90 China, 13, 19, 31–32, 77, 84, 91–93, 103; arms, 48–49, 51, 61n43; Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), 114, 120; BRICS, 26; Confucian Institute, 141; immigration, 144; Iran, 54, 85–88, 108–9, 111–12, 116, 126–27; Israel, 29, 51, 116, 131–32; oil, 73, 78, 96n33, 96n35; princeling, 69–70; tourism, 142; Turkey, 28; United States, 30, 36n48, 58, 63n80, 90, 129–30 Chinese Dream, 109 chopsticks, 127 Christianity, 138 cigarette, 109 citizen, 17–18, 25, 55, 77–78, 80–82, 93, 107–10 civilization, 47, 66, 101–4, 115, 126, 129–31, 138–39 civil war, 5, 9, 44; Lebanon, 46–47; Syria, 47; Yemen, 143 Clash of Civilizations, 128–31, 138 clean hands, 16–18. See also sullied record Clinton, Bill, 54 Clinton, Hilary, 34n23 clout, 7–8, 90, 107, 144 coalition, 21. See also alliance; ally cohesion, 21, 89 Cold War, 24–25, 30, 36n48, 42, 52, 56, 129–30 collaboration, 14, 18, 23, 114 collusion, 15, 81 colonialism, 5, 9, 13–14, 18, 106 colonization, 18, 34n24 commander, 127 commerce. See trade communism, 15, 26, 32, 48–49, 62n67, 67, 128–29 comparative advantage, 79, 101–3

171

compass, 115 competition, 22, 24, 48, 55. See also rivalry competitor, 26, 66, 88, 114, 120 comprehensive national security, 72 compressed modernity, 93. See also modernization comrade, 111 concept, 1, 4, 25, 27, 72, 127, 136–38 confdentiality, 68 Confucian capitalism, 137 Confucian democracy, 137 Confucian Institute, 140–41 Confucianism, 127, 129, 137–38 Confucius, 127, 132 conglomerate, 114. See also chaebol conqueror, 126, 139 conservatism, 33n12, 52, 58, 87, 92, 139 consortium, 113–14 conspiracy theory, 117, 132 constitution, 48, 51, 57, 63n73, 120n5 construction, 31, 112–13, 123n43 consumerism, 82–83, 87, 98n77, 110– 11, 114 containment, 23–24, 39, 74 continent, 73, 89, 125, 128 contractor, 112–13 conventional weapon, 9, 50–52, 54–55, 57, 111. See also arms; unconventional weapon corruption, 16, 18, 20, 29, 68, 80, 86 coup, 39–40, 69 cradle, 104, 130 crime, 17 criticism, 34n24, 57–58, 133, 141 Cuba, 85 culprit, 31, 41, 47, 117 cultural chaos, 142–44 cultural confdence, 142–44 Cultural Revolution, 142 cultural suicide, 146n17 curiosity, 115 currency, 88–90, 109, 132 Curzon, Lord, 74

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172

Index

Damascus, 53–54 dark horse, 71 defense minister, 57 democracy, 14–15, 20, 25, 80–81, 93, 120n5, 137–38 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). See North Korea democratization, 25, 137 Democrat Party, 34n23, 58 dependency, 39, 67, 71, 74, 76–79, 82, 91 design, 24, 39, 104, 106, 110, 132 despotism, 128. See also authoritarianism devil’s excrement, 98n68 dialogue among civilizations, 138–39 diaspora, 130, 142 Diet (Japanese parliament), 34n24, 57 dilemma, 69, 143 diplomacy, 51, 74, 76. See also bigpower diplomacy (daguo waijiao); checkbook diplomacy; public diplomacy; resource diplomacy diplomat, 75, 117 Director General, 62n66 discourse, 27, 129 discovery, 39, 47, 65, 73–74, 96n36, 102, 115 disunity, 45 diversifcation, 28, 50, 143–44 divide and rule, 17, 21 division of labor, 7, 9, 19, 65–67 doctrine, 40, 42, 137–38 dollar, 63, 88–91; See also currency; petrodollar double-edged sword, 118 double standard, 106 drone, 51, 111. See also arms dual containment, 23. See also containment dual nationality, 55 dual-use technology, 54–55 Dubai, 81, 142 dumping ground, 110 Dutch disease, 80

dystopia, 91 earthquake, 132 Eastern Europe, 89, 105 Easternization, 129 Eastern Turkestan, 131 economic aid, 62n67 Economic Planning Agency (Japan), 97n48 economic security, 46, 72 educator, 106 Egypt, 22, 29, 40, 48–52, 65, 93, 131 Eisenhower doctrine, 40 electronic device, 87, 108 elite, 6, 17, 65, 74, 91–93, 137, 143 embargo, 27, 51, 72, 96n31, 106–9, 116. See also sanctions embassy, 86 empire, 13, 39, 45, 65, 126–27, 129, 132 endoxa (reputable opinions), 138 enemy, 30, 41, 55, 77, 130 energy. See oil energy security, 2, 72–73 engagement, 4–5, 7–9, 40–41, 49–52, 85 engine, 109, 141 entertainment, 66, 141–42 entrepôt, 81 entrepreneur, 44, 69, 105, 107, 112, 115–16 envoy, 94, 119 Erdogan, 28 ethnic confict, 46 euro, 89–91 Europe, 14, 16, 40, 43, 47, 67, 89 executive, 96n45 expatriate, 43 extraction, 73 extremism, 16, 86 fake, 111 false-fag operation, 42 famine, 142 Far East, 13, 125, 129

Index

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fghter jet, 52 fnance, 29–31, 44, 48, 51, 88–93, 117, 139–43 fyswatter, 16, 39 foot binding, 127 footprint, 50, 115 foot soldier, 148n68 foreigner, 144 foreign policy, 2–4, 20–21, 25–27, 41, 66, 74–76, 85–86 formula, 19–20, 23–25, 28, 31, 52, 66, 105–6 fracking, 76 France, 13–14, 16, 39–40, 48–53, 61n40, 89, 108 free rider, 57–58 free riding, 56–58 free-riding oil gulper, 56 free riding opportunism, 57 frugality, 110, 129 furniture, 87 Gaddaf, Muammar, 53–54 gateways of civilization, 92 general (military), 42–44, 62n67, 77, 124n62, 127 Genghis Khan, 139 geography, 39, 81, 124n62, 125 geopolitics, 39, 66 Germany, 14, 23, 39, 48, 63n73, 74, 115 globalization, 21, 71, 135 glory, 104 GNPism, 83 Godzilla, 91 governance, 26, 81 graveyard, 19 gravy train, 5 great power, 19, 25–26, 39, 48–50, 67, 85–88, 93 Great Wall, 127 greenback, 88–91 green light, 17, 108 green tea, 127 grievance, 22, 45 guerrilla, 30, 45

173

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), 23, 27–28 Gulf war, 41, 46, 56, 63n73 gunpowder, 47, 115 Haig, Alexander, 45 Halifax, Lord, 95n21 Hallyu (Korean wave), 141 hands-off policy, 20 happenstance, 3 happiness, 31, 118 harmony, 5, 115, 137 Hawaii, 74 heaven, 46, 113 heaven-sent national fortune, 113 hegemony: dollar, 88–91; United States, 14, 25–26, 41, 58, 85–86, 106; West, 3, 16, 23, 50 Heian, 121n16 hell, 46 heritage, 136 Hinduism, 137 Hiroshima, 115, 133 historian, 13, 126–27 history, 7–9, 25–26, 85–87, 121n16, 125–28, 133–42, 145n5 Hollywood, 91 homogeneity, 131, 144 Hong Kong, 11n2, 55–56 hostility, 5, 14, 20, 44–46, 73 household, 111 House of Saud, 28. See also Saudi Arabia human rights, 16, 20, 25, 137–38 Hussein, Saddam, 23, 27–28, 40–41, 46, 50, 53, 107 Hyundai, 87 idiom, 30 idiosyncrasy, 8 Ikeda, 71 image defcit, 139 imitation, 121n6, 126 immigrant, 129, 143. See also migration

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174

Index

imperialism, 16, 48; Japan, 34n24, 72, 74, 132 Imperial Japan, 34n24, 72, 74, 132 impression, 18, 42, 73, 93, 130, 132, 139 India, 13, 78, 91, 126 individualism, 137 industrialist, 104, 107, 112, 115 industrialization, 66–67, 71, 92, 112, 142; Asian Tigers, 56, 137; BRICS, 26; China, 93; East Asia, 19, 43–44, 55, 67–71, 93–94, 103, 109–10; Japan, 67, 71–72, 83; Middle East, 104–5; South Korea, 31, 77, 124n62; Taiwan, 62n67 inferior quality, 83. See also quality injustice, 32n4 innovation, 25, 47, 101–3, 115, 117 instigator, 31 institution, 5, 22, 43, 80, 93, 105–6, 134–36 integration, 21–25, 47, 82, 89 intellectual property, 106 interdependence, 21 interference, 20, 41 intermediary, 55, 88 internationalization, 90, 135, 141 international law, 17–18, 20, 26, 136, 138. See also sovereignty International Monetary Fund (IMF), 117 international system, 4, 24–26, 118 Internet, 85 interpretation, 20, 136, 138 interstate confict, 9, 44–47 intervention, 40–41, 45, 47 invasion, 17, 40–41, 46, 58, 89, 127, 139 investment, 28, 51, 76, 81–82, 103, 107, 113 investor, 44, 105 Iran, 20–21, 40, 77, 114–16, 126–27, 138–41, 148n68; arms, 48–50, 53, 61n40, 61n43; dual containment, 23–24; looking-East, 27, 84–85, 120; missile program, 53–55, 111;

modernization, 65, 92–93, 105, 111; nuclear deal, 87, 108, 119; nuclear program, 22, 24, 54, 113; oil, 66, 75–79, 87, 91, 96n36, 96n45, 97n50; rivalry with Arabs, 22–23, 45, 129; sanctions, 16, 55, 81, 85–88, 107–9; war with Iraq, 17, 23, 40–41, 45–46, 49–52, 55, 111 Iranian plateau, 127 Iran–Iraq War, 40–41, 45–52, 55, 61n40, 111, 115, 148n68 Iraq, 17, 28, 37n63, 47, 53, 77, 148n68; dual containment, 23; Gulf crisis, 32n4, 46, 56; oil discovery, 65; sanctions, 16, 27, 68, 85, 107, 109; war of 2003, 17, 23–24, 26, 41, 46, 57–58, 89; war with Iran, 40–41, 45– 46, 48–52, 55, 61n40, 111, 115–16 Islam, 137; Islamic bloc, 33n16; Islamic Japan, 92–93; Islamic North Korea, 93; Islamic right, 33n16; Islamic State (IS or ISIS), 34n23, 41, 47, 130; Islamic world, 134; Islamism, 22, 28, 92, 138 island, 137, 143, 145n13 Israel, 10, 50, 75; China, 29, 51, 116, 131–32; confict with Arabs, 20–22, 24, 36n48, 40, 45–46, 49, 54; North Korea, 133; South Korea, 124n62, 133; Taiwan, 133; technological cooperation, 116–17 Italy, 127 IT startup, 116 Japan, 19–20, 30, 34n24, 48–52, 69, 77, 148n68; construction business, 112– 13; cultural interaction, 134, 140–42, 145nn13–14; Egypt, 29; immigration, 144; industrialization, 71–72, 83–84, 102–3, 105, 120n5, 121nn16–17; Iran, 55, 75, 91–93, 96n45, 97n48, 107–9, 114–15; Iraq, 28, 57; Israel, 116–17, 132–33, 146n32; oil, 73–75, 91, 95n28, 96n31, 96n39; second largest economy, 99n100; technology

Index

transfer, 119–20; United States, 15– 16, 31, 33n12, 56–58, 63n80, 67, 90 Japan Defense Agency (JDA), 62n66 Japanese archipelago, 145n13 Japan of the Middle East, 91–93 Jeju, 143 Jew, 29, 45, 51, 116–17, 124n62, 131–33 Jewish book boom, 117 Jewish lobby, 132 Jiang, Zemin, 54 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), 108. See also nuclear deal; withdrawal Justice and Development Party (AKP), 28. See also Turkey

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Kennan, George, 74 Kennedy, John F., 56 Khotan, 131 Kia, 87 kingdom, 28, 45, 50, 82, 126 King Midas, 97n50 Kipling, Rudyard, 128 Kobe, 132 Koizumi, Junichiro, 57 Korean Peninsula, 1, 52, 117, 126, 133 Korean War, 133 Kuomintang (KMT), 137 Kurd, 46 Kuwait, 17, 41, 56, 77, 94n2, 95n21, 107 laboratory, 106 language, 21, 30, 125–26, 136, 141 Latin America, 67, 85, 142 leader, 16, 27, 32, 44, 71, 74–75, 89–90 leadership, 29, 57, 138 leaner stages of growth, 83, 98n77 Lee, Kuan Yew, 137 Lee, Myung-bak, 87, 113 leftism, 15, 30, 33n16 legacy, 13, 73, 113 legislature, 57, 70 leisure, 142 Levant, 11n2, 39

175

LG, 87 liaison, 50–55 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), 33n12 liberalism, 15, 30, 57–58, 87, 93, 117, 136–37 liberalization, 90 liberation, 5, 36n48 license, 49 lifeblood, 5 lifestyle, 66, 74, 110 lionization, 23 loan, 117 logistical support, 46, 57 London, 33n16 looking-East, 27–29, 50, 87, 94 loophole, 107 lost decade, 117 Louisiana, 67 low birthrate, 144 luck, 3, 24 luxury, 110, 143 Macao, 11n2 Made in China, 84 Made in Japan, 83 Mahan, Alfred Taylor, 13 mail bride, 142 mainland, 62n67, 143 majors, 71–73, 76. See also oil malaise, 16, 18, 80, 82 mammonism, 129 Manchuria, 132 Manicheanism, 92, 127 mantle, 129 Mao, 30, 36n48, 62n67, 84, 91; Maoism, 96n33, 128–29 marketing, 44 marketing agent, 93 marque, 108, 139. See also brand marriage, 126 Marshall Plan, 104 martial law, 137 Marx, Carl, 128 masculinity, 92 Mazda, 115

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176

Index

media, 42–43, 53, 58, 89, 94, 128–30, 139 mediation, 20, 45 Meiji restoration, 83, 102, 105, 109, 121n16, 145n14 mercantilism, 57 merchant, 49 meritocracy, 80 Mesopotamia, 131 MI6, 40 Michita, Sakata, 62n66 Middle Ages, 127, 147n50 middle power, 5, 57 migration, 125–26, 142–44 military base, 112 military campaign, 17, 23, 57 military equipment. See arms military offcer, 42 minesweeper, 56, 63n73 Ministry of Defense, 57 Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), 72 minority, 45–46, 80 miracle, 71, 105, 133 misery, 31, 47 miso, 145n14 missile program, 53–55 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, 113 Mitsui, 146n32 mobile, 87, 108 modernity, 92–93 modernization, 43, 67, 71, 83, 103; Iran, 81, 104; Japan, 10, 84, 104–5, 110, 112, 145n14; of military, 48, 51, 115; South Korea, 10, 77, 104–5, 110, 112, 133; West, 92, 128. See also industrialization Mongol, 126, 139, 147n50 monopoly, 15, 48, 69, 74 Moon, Jae-in, 87 Morocco, 11n2 Moscow, 36n48, 130 Moses, 132 mosque, 96n45 motto, 83, 105, 121n16 muddied waters, 29–32, 111

Mujahedeen, 34n23 multilateralism, 20, 25–26, 126, 139 multipolarity, 24–27 Munich, 36n48 munitions. See arms Muslim, 22, 34n24 national income, 72, 77 nationalism, 14, 62n67, 75, 96n36, 137, 139 nationalization, 96n36 national security, 43, 51, 68, 72, 79 natural gas, 69, 74, 76. See also oil Nazi, 132. See also Third Reich Near East, 13 neoliberalism, 117. See also liberalism neologism, 13 neophyte, 2, 112, 119 neutrality, 25, 31, 48–49 newcomer, 3, 15, 30, 115 nexus, 1–2, 114 night club, 43 Nikkei (ethnic Japanese), 142 non-oil economy, 82, 87, 91 normal country, 57 normalcy, 5, 9, 25 normalization, 51, 55–58, 116 North Africa, 11n2, 29, 54, 125 North America, 102, 131. See also United States North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 28, 53 North Korea, 31–32, 85, 93, 116, 128, 142; arms, 48–49, 52–54, 111; Egypt, 29; Iraq, 37n63; Israel, 133; Syria, 54 nuclear deal, 87, 108. See also withdrawal nuclear energy, 53–54, 74, 113. See also nuclear program nuclear power plant, 113 nuclear program: Iran, 22, 24, 53–55, 86–87, 113, 108, 119; Libya, 53; North Korea, 52; Turkey, 113; United Arab Emirates (UAE), 113

Index

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number one, 29, 71, 84 Obama, Barack, 28, 34n23, 58 occupation, 5, 17, 40–41, 53, 125, 133, 139 ocean, 57, 70, 143 Oceania, 142 off-hands policy, 51, 73 oil: consumption, 56, 67, 76–79, 95n19, 95n21, 95n28; dependency, 58, 66, 71, 74, 96n39; discovery of, 39, 65–66, 94n2, 96n36; embargo, 72, 74, 96n31; incomes, 46, 48, 83, 87–91, 104; industry, 9, 28, 76, 80–82, 96n36; majors, 71–73, 76; price, 72, 78–79, 94, 104; supply of, 5–6, 23, 28, 55–56, 67, 75, 87–88; transportation, 68–73 oil curse, 80 oil factor, 65–66 oil for food program, 68 oil king, 69 oil minister, 98n68 oil shock, 10, 40, 48, 71–78, 82–83, 88, 104; China, 96n33; Japan, 72–73, 75, 96n45, 97n48, 112, 134 Oklahoma, 67 one-upmanship, 83 Operation Desert Storm, 56 oppression, 29, 34n24 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), 23, 28, 46, 74–75, 89 Orient, 129. See also Far East oriental despotism, 128 orientalist, 115 Ottoman Empire, 13, 65 over-reaching, 58 Pahlavi monarchy, 23, 91–92, 105 Palestine, 21–22, 36n48, 46, 116. See also Arab–Israeli confict Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), 36n48 panacea, 79–82, 102

177

pan-Arabism, 22 paranoia, 33n13 Park, Chung-hee, 77, 124n62, 133 Park, Geun-hye, 87 parliament, 34n24, 57, 95n26 parvenu, 70 passing the buck, 19 passive bystander, 56 patriarchy, 92 pawn, 18 penalty box, 23, 107 perk, 2–3, 142 Perl Harbor, 72, 74 Perry, Commodore Matthew, 145n13 Persian Gulf, 22–23, 39–42, 56–58, 71, 79, 82–83, 113. See also Iran petrodollar, 10, 28, 31, 82–83, 88–89 petroleum. See oil PhD dissertation, 1, 10n1 philosophy, 128 pilot, 49 piracy, 106 plot, 33n13, 39–40 policymaker, 16, 67, 74, 85, 92, 94, 117 Policy Planning (State Department), 74 political Islam, 129 Polo, Marco, 127 polygamy, 134 Portugal, 14 poverty, 16, 142 powerhouse, 70–71, 111 pragmatism, 21, 30, 110, 115, 129 precondition, 98n77, 104, 117, 140 presidency, 28, 54, 56, 141 president, 34n23, 58, 87, 113 prime minister, 71 princeling, 69–70 printing press, 115 private sector, 16, 86, 88, 94, 109, 117, 134 privatization, 81 privilege, 2–4, 66–69, 80, 89–90, 125, 132 procurement, 43, 48–49 propaganda, 141

178

Index

prototype, 110 province, 46 proxy, 16, 46 Prussia, 120n5 public diplomacy, 10. See also soft power publicity, 42, 92, 127, 130 public opinion, 26, 128, 130 public sector, 16, 94, 105, 109, 111, 117, 134 punctuality, 129 Pyongyang, 49, 52, 54, 77, 111, 133

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Qatar, 81 quality, 6, 56, 83, 101, 108, 110–11 quota, 105 race, 22, 119, 125–28, 131, 139, 143– 44, 145n13 railway, 39, 114 Rashid ad-Din, 126, 145n5 Reagan, Ronald, 34n23 reality, 7, 17, 25, 42, 89, 108, 134 reciprocity, 78 reconstruction, 28, 67 recreation, 142 refnery, 73 reform, 14, 57, 65, 79–82, 84 reform and opening-up (gaige kaifang), 84 refuge, 142 refugee, 143 regulation, 107, 110–11, 136 relativism, 129 reliance, 9, 26, 28, 67, 81, 102 religion, 22, 92, 127, 129, 132, 137–38 renewables, 74, 76 rentier state, 80–81; rent-seeking, 80, 86 replication, 102, 109 report, 42, 54, 68, 72, 75, 96n45, 145n13 repository, 136 representative, 18, 93–94, 136, 140 Republican Party, 34n23 Republic of China. See Taiwan

Republic of Korea (ROK). See South Korea reputation, 7, 19, 26, 41, 55, 83, 139–41 research grant, 135 resistance, 36n48 resource curse, 80 resource diplomacy, 76 resource nationalism, 75 responsibility, 56–57, 70 restriction, 81, 86, 91, 107–8. See also sanctions reverse engineering, 109 rhetoric, 17, 21–22, 75, 85, 137–38 rise of the rest, 26 rivalry, 14, 50, 76, 79, 105; Arab– Iranian, 22–23; great powers, 39, 47; intra-Arab, 21; South Korea–Japan, 119; superpowers, 24, 30, 36n48 Rogers, William, 36n48 Rogers Initiative, 36n48 rogue, 86 Roh, Moo-hyun, 57 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 95n21 Rostow, Walt, 83 Rothschild, 146n32 rumor, 53, 68 Russia, 35n45, 50, 69–70, 85, 89, 129–30, 145n13; Iran, 113; Iraq, 68; Syria, 53 Sakaiya, Taichi, 97n48 sample, 109, 112 Samsung, 87 sanctions, 39, 91, 114, 118; Iran, 16–17, 23, 27, 55, 81, 85–88, 107–9; Iraq, 23, 27, 68, 107 Sassanid dynasty, 127 satellite, 85, 105 Saudi Arabia, 21, 23, 77; arms, 50; economic reform, 82; oil, 65, 75, 94n2, 95n21; Taiwan, 31, 119; United States, 28, 40 scapegoat, 2 scholar, 2, 17, 43, 115, 126, 135, 141 scholarship, 135

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Index

scientist, 104–6 second fddle, 26, 58 second Japan, 92 Secretary of States, 36n48, 45–46 securitization, 43 Self-Defense Forces (SDFs), 57 self-suffciency, 54, 76 Semite, 22, 131, 133 Seoul, 52, 119, 145n14 separation of politics from economics, 20 setting sun, 117 seven sisters, 72. See also majors sex industry, 142 Shah of Iran, 75, 97n50. See also Pahlavi monarchy Shanghai, 58 sheikhdom, 17, 46, 54, 56 shopkeeper, 93 siege mentality, 33n13 Silk Road, 120, 126 Singapore, 56, 137. See also Asian Tigers sinologist, 131 Sinop, 113 Sinopec, 73 Six-Day War, 40 skill, 103, 112, 116, 135 smart power, 140. See also soft power social media, 17. See also media soft power, 10, 139–42, 144 soldier, 43, 148n68 Soseki, Natsume, 121n17 Southeast Asia, 132, 137, 142 South Korea, 19–20, 31, 56, 69, 77, 84, 144; arms trade, 49–50, 52; Asian values, 137; construction business, 112–13; Egypt, 29; Iran, 87, 91, 108–9, 114, 119, 141; Iraq, 28, 52, 57; Israel, 116, 133; United States, 15, 57–58, 63n80, 123n43, 141; Vietnam War, 123n43; Yemeni refugees, 143 sovereignty, 18, 20, 26, 56, 136, 138. See also international law

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Soviet Union, 24, 30, 36n48, 40, 48–49, 105, 129–30 speculation, 53, 68, 132 spokesperson, 75 Ssangyang, 87 state coffers, 78, 104 statism, 14–15 stereotype, 128 stockpile, 53, 77 stooge, 18 sub-contractor, 112 subpar quality, 6, 110. See also quality sub-Saharan Africa, 89 subway, 132 Suez War, 40 Sugawara, 121n16 sullied record, 16–18. See also clean hands Sumer, 126 superpower, 24, 30, 36n48, 90, 117 supremacy, 3, 25, 39, 51, 90 surveillance, 51, 55, 113 survival, 14, 28–29, 45, 70, 82, 134, 142 susceptibility, 2–3, 43, 72, 77 suzerainty, 13 swing of the pendulum, 128 Sykes-Picot Treaty, 13, 32n3 sympathy, 31, 137 Syria, 41, 46–47, 49, 52–54 Taipei, 31, 49, 51, 62n67, 87, 119, 133 Taiwan, 31, 51–52, 56, 77, 84, 109, 141; Asian values, 137; construction industry, 112; Iran–Iraq War, 49–51; Iran sanctions, 55; Israel, 116, 133; technology transfer, 119; United States, 62n67 talent, 6, 30, 86, 102, 126, 143 Tani, Masayuki, 34n24 tanker war, 56 Taoism, 137 Tarim valley, 131 tax inducement, 105 teammate, 31 technician, 49, 106

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Index

technology, 4, 6, 10, 44, 101–3, 105; export of, 6, 10, 67, 102, 105, 119; import of, 6, 88, 102, 104, 106, 109– 10, 120n5; know-how, 10, 101–2, 104, 109, 112–13; military, 110–11, 116–20; missile, 54; nuclear, 52; transfer of, 102–3, 106, 115; United States, 49, 110 Tehran, 22–23, 48–49, 53–55, 86–87, 91–92, 96n45, 119. See also Iran territory, 7, 126 terrorism, 57, 86, 130. See also war on terror testing ground, 111 Texas, 67 theory, 80, 83, 131 thesis, 80, 128–29, 138 thinker, 104–5, 127 Third Reich, 115 Tiananmen incident, 51, 116 toilet paper, 75 Tokyo, 57, 72, 87, 132 touchstone, 4 tourism, 81, 141 tourist, 43, 141 Toyo Cork Kogyo Company, 115 trade, 7, 49, 55, 65, 77–78, 81, 84–85; defcit, 111; Japan, 120n5; oil, 68– 69, 73, 75, 88–89, 91; partner, 87; South Korea, 69 tradition, 92, 128, 131, 134, 138 tragedy, 47, 133, 143 trajectory, 8, 29, 48, 71, 76, 91–94, 127 transparency, 68, 80–81, 111 traveler, 108, 141 treatment, 77, 81, 106–7, 110, 128–31, 145n14 Treaty of Kanagawa, 145n13 tribe, 45, 125, 131 Trump, Donald, 34n23, 87, 91, 108, 119 Tsarist Russian Minister, 145n13 Turkey, 11n2, 28–29, 45–46, 50, 77, 109, 113 tycoon, 69, 112

Tzu, Sun, 127 unconventional weapon, 9, 52–55. See also arms; conventional weapon underdog, 2, 45, 50 unemployment, 16 unilateralism, 23, 25–26, 87 unipolarity, 25 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 52, 54, 81–82, 88, 109, 113 United Nations, 20 United States: burden sharing, 56, 58; China, 30, 48, 54, 58, 84, 90, 141; dollar, 88–89, 95n19; Europe, 16, 43–44, 70, 89; Gulf crisis, 41, 56; Iran, 16, 55, 86, 88; Iraq War, 26, 37n63, 41, 46, 58, 68; Israel, 29, 40, 51, 116, 133; Japan, 15–16, 30, 56–57, 74, 90, 99n100, 117; Jewish lobby, 132; Middle East, 14, 17, 23–26, 40, 42, 48; new world order, 136; oil, 65, 67, 70–71, 75–76, 89; sanctions, 85–86, 107, 114; Saudi Arabia, 28, 40; South Korea, 15, 31, 49, 57, 108, 113; Soviet Union, 36n48, 111; Taiwan, 62n67, 133; technology, 49, 110 unity, 21–22; among Arabs, 22; Asian values, 137; lack of, 9, 45 university, 135–36 Venezuela, 67, 98n68 veto power, 74 Vietnam, 112, 123n43 Vietnam War, 123n43 visa, 141 wakon kansai, (Japanese spirit, Chinese knowledge), 121n16 wakon yōsai (Japanese spirit, Western knowledge), 105 warmonger, 44 war on terror, 41–42, 57, 130. See also terrorism

Index

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war zone, 43, 57 Washington, 33n16, 36n48, 40, 56, 85, 91, 108. See also United States weapons. See arms weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), 52–55, 89. See also arms; conventional weapon; unconventional weapon Weber, Max, 128 West Asia, 13, 125 Western Europe, 16, 40, 56, 67, 69, 102, 110. See also Europe whiskey bottle, 109 white man, 133 windfall, 78, 104, 142 window of opportunity, 85–88 withdrawal, 23, 39, 87, 108

World War I, 39, 65, 74 World War II, 14–16, 24, 40, 43, 67, 71–75, 132–33 Xi, Jinping, 109 Yakuza (Japanese mafa), 148n68 Yellow Emperor, 131 yellow race, 126, 131. See also race Yemen, 47, 143 yen, 90, 117, 132 yin and yang, 127 Yom Kippur War, 40, 49 yuan (RMB), 90–91 Yudan (oil interruption), 97n48 Zoroastrianism, 127

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About the Author

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Shirzad Azad has a doctorate in International Relations. He studied and taught in the East Asian countries of Japan, South Korea (ROK), and China for roughly one decade (2005–2015). This is his seventh scholarly book in English. Previous titles include Iran and China: A New Approach to Their Bilateral Relations (2017, 2020), Koreans in the Persian Gulf: Policies and International Relations (2015, 2019), and several other academic studies with a special focus on East Asia–Middle East relations.

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