Weekend Roundup: As Mideast War Levels Ancient Cities, Asia Invests in the Future

While the Middle East is consumed by an orgy of destruction that has devastated ancient cities like Aleppo and Tikrit, Asia, led by China, is building out the infrastructure of the future. While past wounds drive the tribal and religious rivalries in the Middle East, in Asia the contest — and the cooperation — is about shaping the future.

The most recent scuffle in the contest over the future has been the slew of American allies — Great Britain, Italy, France, Australia and others — who have defied U.S. admonitions not to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which it sees as a rival to the World Bank and IMF system. In the “cooperation” column, Zbigniew Brzezinski observes in a WorldPost interview that China signed on as a guarantor of the Lausanne agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. This, along with the fact it has also joined with the U.S. to curb North Korean nuclear proliferation and fight climate change, shows China is stepping up to the plate as a responsible global power.

Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes from Beirut that the U.S. has been “immobilized” in the Sunni-Shia proxy wars and must settle for “an equilibrium of antagonisms.”

Writing from Berlin, Joschka Fischer ponders whether the U.S. Persian pivot means a shift away from the Saudis as a partner. Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass lays out five reasons “not to assume” the Iran accord will succeed. European statesman Carl Bildt explains why Europe fully supports Obama’s leadership on Iran. World editors Eline Gordts and Charlotte Alfred survey Israeli experts on the Iran deal and report on the comments of a —> Read More