The central strategic transformation achieved by the the Sino-Iranian is straightforward: the opening of a second potential front against the US military. Now both the Straits of Hormuz and the South China Sea are opened up as potential theaters. The global ramifications are complex and variable.
The biggest loser of the deal is the Republic of India.
For years, the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran had seemingly identified and treated India as a fellow participant in the anti-colonial movement. Given the cultivation of violent anti-Muslim prejudice by the ruling Modi administration, this line has shifted: the Republic of India is identified as a puppet regime of the US empire. Modi finds himself surrounded on all sides: Chinese naval bases in Gwadar, Dijbouti, Iran, Mynamar, and Sri Lanka.
Surrounded on all sides, and weak within. The COVID-19 crisis indicates the weaknesses of right-wing populism worldwide: Trump’s America, Modi’s India, and Bolsonaro’s Brazil lead the world in COVID-19 infections and state incapacity. Talk of the liberation of the Sikh, Tamil, Telegu, Bengali peoples grows louder and louder.
The big winner here is the prospect of Eurasian integration. The high-speed train link connecting Shanghai to Copenhagen by way of Tehran is closer to reality now than before.
The alliance may perhaps also strengthen links between Qatar, Turkey, and Iran, forming a rival bloc to the US imperialist-identified Gulf States. From this point forward, the possibilities grow more and more complex. The alliance greatly reduces the standing of the United States, therein benefitting the Russian Federation, but also brings China closer to the borders of Russia, opening the possibility for future intricacies.
On Europe, the alliance will likely continue EU realignment away from the Atlantic alliance towards neutrality policies. Hong Kong’s capacity to provoke European moralistic outrage appears diminished, especially as the world wakes up to the reality of unpaid reparations from major EU partners, and (especially) the recently divorced “United Kingdom’s” opium syndicate.
The effects on the United States will be multivariate. The US faces, at the moment, two intertwined crises: a racialized public health crisis and, on the other hand, a national awakening about the reality of racialization, indeed, genocide by the United States. Invariably, this awakening takes an anti-imperial character. Will the American public wake up and see Joe Biden as a war criminal? The Muslim World already has a vivid consciousness of the human cost of US imperialism. Of the three major candidates for the presidential election, Trump and Biden have committed, fully, to imperialist international relations. Kanye West’s international relations are, as of the time of writing, undetermined. If West would heed the Bible and turn Swords to Ploughshares; if West would heed American political history and give the guaranteed forty acres and a mule; if West would negotiate a new stable world order and therein bring the NBA to the PRC: in this timeline, the Sino-Iranian Alliance will be seen as an early indication of a great transformation in human affairs.
So far, we have been looking at the project primarily from the level of individual national interests. The real novelty of the alliance, though, comes in the suggested new grand alliance between China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey. This alliance will draw much of Central Asia into its orbit. In the field of geopolitics, Eurasia is sometimes called “the world island” and the central part of this world island is the “great pivot” upon which history turns. In many possible timelines, the Sino-Iranian alliance marks a turn of this “pivot” point.
On a very large level of abstraction, the alliance indicates at least two “metatrends”. The first is the emergence of a multipolar world order, with many different rival centres of powers in different regions negotiating with each other without central imperial coordination. The second is what Bhattacharya has described as the “third wave of revolutions.” Multiple oppressed nationalities will likely take the weakening position of the Modi regime as an opportunity for uprising. The resulting process will bring multiple new People’s Republics into existence, catalyzing one of the grandest narratives of the human species: the evolution into socialism.
This article was first published in oneworld.press and has been republished with permission.