Iran-Saudi Arabia "snow melting," Chinese victory or US defeat?

By brokering the restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, China created a real "storm" in the Middle East. China usually refrains from a mediating role in its foreign policy doctrine, but both the region and the countries were exceptional in this regard.

Supporters of Moscow and Beijing were quick to announce the US defeat and China's regional victory. The Kremlin even talked about the importance of their favorite "region without external players" talks, seemingly forgetting that external influence is not only the US and China should do the same. I would like to be considered in principle. We think it is exaggerated to talk about the US "defeat" and China's victory in the Middle East.

As a result of this deal, China presents itself as a reliable "agent" of the players in the region, and the US faces a situational alliance agreement with "authoritarian" countries. Especially against the backdrop of tense economic and political relations between China and the United States, this move by China gives the impression of a gambit.

But the USA is also in an advantageous position. First, the reconciliation of vital regional players with the help of China makes the Middle East more predictable. It makes Iran less isolated, more understandable, less prone to reckless "alliance" with Russia in the first place, and, most importantly, more predictable. Makes the oil market. Roughly one-fifth of China's oil consumption passes through the Strait of Hormuz from the Persian Gulf. And, of course, China has reconciled with its rivals, primarily in its interests. But in the totality of the interests of the US, they are no less victorious because this deal also promotes the security interests of the US. In the long term, these interests may equal the Chinese ones.

First, restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran will help strengthen the ceasefire in Yemen.

Second, whether the deal's benefits will translate into a long-term victory for the Iranian authorities remains to be seen. It should be remembered that Iran has not given up its ambitions to become a nuclear state; this will not change with this agreement, and at the same time, the level of mistrust between Saudi Arabia and Iran remains high. And if the deal breaks up, it is more likely that Iran will be blamed, and perhaps even China will be the first to blame.

Thirdly, we should remember the more stable and safer oil market of the Middle East. The common regulation of military and political risks for the East's two most critical oil-producing countries is also a loss for Russia. Russia is losing its status as an exclusive supplier to China when it is already in China's "pocket" economically.

In summary, the US-China rivalry is not the USA-USSR rivalry, when it was the same globally and in all regions. The US needs more resources to compete globally. Instead, the United States must selectively contain China. This China-brokered deal is one of those times when Washington doesn't need to expend energy trying to rein in Beijing. Chinese diplomacy can at least partially complement US national interests, and the Iran-Saudi Arabia deal can be one of those examples. With this, China also "takes on a new burden," sharing the "heavy mission" of guaranteeing stability and security in the Middle East with the US.