"If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed." - President James Buchanan to President Abraham Lincoln.
Diplomacy is a fascinating art. Some are good at it, but with bad results. Some are bad at it, with horrible results. Some are good at it with positive results. There are lies, deceit, false promises, hopes, dreams, desperation... different end games, riddles inside enigmas... and then there is oil.
China stepping into the Middle East as the 21st century unfolds will be an interesting chance to see the art of diplomacy through an entire arc of history. The decline of the West and the rise of China and the East as the possible leaders of the world's economic and political life... one never knows what the result will be or who will be sitting at the table.
The Iran situation is case in point. China is sliding a chair up to the table... what do they want? Such a loaded question... Let's take a look at the cards spread out in front of them...
From pretty far down into the article by Thomas J. Buonomo on Informed Comment:
"...While China does not currently view Iran’s expanding nuclear program as a threat substantial enough to warrant truly constricting sanctions, U.S. diplomats should impress upon them that interests diverge and loyalties shift. While a weak and isolated Iran might remain friendly toward China in the short term out of necessity, a nuclear-armed Iran might adopt a more independent, hegemonic foreign policy in the region, presenting potential energy security complications for China, whose dependence on the Middle East will only increase as its economy continues to expand.
If the United States and European Union could convince China that its interests are actually aligned on Iran, the threat of a more thoroughly constricting sanctions regime might induce Iran to acquiesce on its nuclear program in exchange for generous technological and financial support for renewable energy..."