Guess who’s going to Shanghai?

This is a clear illustration of Sec. Rice’s comments about how energy has warped foreign policy:

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will not be just toasting the leaders of the [Shanghai Cooperative Organization's] six members – China, Russia and four Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – as an observer to the summit to be held in Shanghai. The Iranian leader, whose country defies the free world by developing nuclear weapons and tops the list of nations supporting terrorism, will also be pushing for full membership in the SCO.

It’s “passing strange” for the SCO – which highlights the “fight on terrorism” as one of its three prime objectives (the other two being separatism and extremism) – to have invited Mr. Ahmadinejad and considered membership for Iran, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said recently at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual Asian-Pacific conference which took place in Singapore in early June and was organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Not at all, according to the SCO’s secretary-general, Zhang Deguang. “We would not have invited them if we believed they sponsored terror,” he responded to an inquiry about Iran’s participation. Mr. Zhang hoped that other nations, once improving their ties with Iran, would have better opinions of that country. As for the pressing issue of nuclear non-proliferation, all he could say was, “We do not yet have legal documents on the issue.” How reassuring to those who view the SCO increasingly as an attempt by China and Russia to undermine America’s influence in their backyard and beyond.

“By letting Iran enter the SCO, Russia and China would clearly demonstrate that they side with Iran and its nuclear program and would embark on a collision course with the West,” a Moscow-based think tanker said, according to Radio Free Europe.

Iran is China’s third largest oil supplier, amounting to 13% of China’s total crude imports. For Washington to expect that Beijing, which relies on rapid economic development to maintain its rule, would exert pressure on Tehran to halt its nuclear ambitions is more than wishful thinking. I hope Secretary of State Rice proves me wrong in her decision to negotiate with the mullahs. But I’m afraid that the country the Bush administration has so desperately tried to turn into a “responsible stakeholder” would once again prove disappointing. As Ms. Rice’s deputy, Robert Zoellick, admitted to a House International Relations Committee hearing last month, when he confronted the Chinese about their dealings with Iran, he was told, “Look, we got our own interests there, we got energy security concerns.”

“An extended SCO would control a large part of the world’s oil and gas reserves and nuclear arsenal. It would essentially be an OPEC with bombs,” a professor at the University of Cambridge’s East Asia Institute, David Hall, told the Washington Times, referring to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

(emphasis added)
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: This article by Dr. Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation on the subject is excellent: Bear and Dragon summit.

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