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Trade & Investment

Harvard’s cry wolf: ‘The worrisome Saudi-China deal’

Saudi Arabia is the second major source of crude oil to China 2016-8 (chart from Hellenic Shipping News)

The Petrodollar is said to be under threat. The ‘Harvard Political Review’ published an article on Dec 18, saying that “China has taken steps to negotiate a potential economic deal that could harm United States’ economic, social, and political supremacy. The deal regards increased Chinese influence over oil and the petrodollar …”

“…Recent conversations between Saudi Arabia and China have dealt with lifting the dollar off oil and replacing it with China’ national currency, the yuan. This motion directly threatens the petrodollar influence on the world and could
lift the roof off steady inflation in the United States, create unsupported national deficits, and stir economic turmoil in the United States …”

Deal on trading in crude oil is not the only collaborative zone between Saudi and China (China accounted for more than 15 percent of Saudi’s crude oil sales in 2018). On Dec 7, for example, China launched two Saudi Arabian Earth observation satellites by its Long March 2D rocket.

Down to earth, another example is that, according to Gulf Business’ Dec 13 report, a Saudi firm “has signed a deal to ship thousands of tonnes of shrimp to China … Bloomberg reports that export of the frozen crustacean have totaled more than 6,000 tonnes since last week … The kingdom’s shrimp exports to China, the world’s largest consumer of the sea creature, are expected to exceed 30,000 tonnes by the end of the year …”

Furthermore, what is diplomatically important is that Saudi and China have jointly found a common enemy — Canada. Canada’s Global News said on Dec 14 that “First …Trump attacked Canada on trade. Then Saudi Arabia punished it for speaking up for human rights. Now China has the country in its cross-hairs …” While the Jamal Khashoggi issue was being stir fried by Washington, Reuters reported from the G20 forum in Argentina on Dec 1 that “… China firmly supports Riyadh in its drive for economic diversification and social reform, President Xi Jinping told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman …”

Therefore, it is not a surprise to this: “Pompeo warns Senate not to push Saudi Arabia into China’s arms …” as reported by Washington Examiner on Dec 24.

At least two points to note. Firstly, the closer Saudi-China ties indicate the on-going formation of a multi-polar world. Do not overlook the reality that Saudi is also improving its relation with Russia. It is why President Trump’s pragmatic wisdom is so outstanding. He has recognized this trend, and understands that it will be too costly for the U.S. to maintain its unipolar global supremacy status. Therefore, his goal is to make America great, not just ‘again’ but also in a longer horizon under the shadow of multi-polarity.

Secondly, whatever the items are (petrodollar or oil or shrimp or anything else), all Saudi-China deals will improve these two nations’ relation but no deal whatsoever can let China be influential in the Middle East. Occasionally, Beijing may act as mediator, or act to balance out some dynamics. However, the Middle East belongs to the regional powers in the Middle East. The Middle East was, is, and will continue to be a civilization fundamentally different from the West and also from East Asia. The nations there will work out a way of their own to live their life peacefully.

What Saudi is doing, including the downplay of the petrodollar, is merely an attempt to bring the overriding power back to the Middle East. Neither the U.S. nor China nor Russia can reign this region. If there is anything Harvard has to worry about, it is multi-polarity, not China.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).


5 thoughts on “Harvard’s cry wolf: ‘The worrisome Saudi-China deal’

  1. There are “no comments yet” because Hui the communist fears competing ideas and any comment that may expose the weaknesses in his arguments.


    Posted by John Frymire | December 26, 2018, 10:23 pm
    • Sorry for the late reply because of the two public holidays in Hong Kong. Different and opposing ideas are always welcome. Grateful if you could kindly expose my arguments’ weaknesses. As what Nietzsche proposes, a man needs agon to assist his over-coming. Thank you.


      Posted by keith K C Hui | December 27, 2018, 11:06 pm
  2. Mr. Hui – you last statemen is intriguing “Harvard has to worry about multi-polar world. What is Harvard in this respect? A political magazine, Government, country, magazine? What is wrong with multipolar world? Do you have objection or dislike for China being one of the poles of the multipolar world?


    Posted by Jinraj Joshipura | December 27, 2018, 10:36 am
    • If you have read Harvard Political Review’s article in full, or just my quote, it suggests a worrisome development that “could harm United States’ economic, social, and political supremacy …”

      Supremacy implies overwhelming domination, uni-polar control and single-party mastery. Petrodollar is merely one item of many many issues here and there, if you take a macro view. Therefore, if Harvard as an influential and far-sight institution has to worry, its worry should be the multi-polar world and how the United States should deal with it. Saying that something is threatening US supremacy is, to certain extent, blind to the already apparent formation of multi-polarity.

      Some answer to your questions:
      Harvard Political Review is one of the leading opinion makers and, like many other think tanks, they generate impacts on policy making.
      To most peoples, there is nothing wrong with multi-polar world. However, to those who always want to maintain ‘supremacy’, it is terribly wrong. Are you one of them?
      I have no objection to see China as one of the significant players in the coming multi-polar world. It is something inevitable. Yet, we must realize that China has many peers which means China is not a superpower.


      Posted by keith K C Hui | December 27, 2018, 11:03 pm


  1. Pingback: Can the US Dollar Go Off the Oil Standard? /  The-Ave.US - January 17, 2019

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