Over the past number of years, Washington has come to regard strategic competition with China through a rather narrow lens of trade, national security, and diplomacy, while paying much less attention to Beijing’s ambitions to increase its influence across the Eurasian basin, from Pakistan to Kazakhstan and Iran.
Daniel Markey, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a South Asia expert who previously worked at the Council on Foreign Relations and the US Department of State, is the author of the new book “China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia.”
In this conversation with Robert Amsterdam about his book, Markey explains that China has become more and more aggressive in its campaign for influence in this part of the world, while Washington has yet to adapt to the new reality.
Markey pays specific attention to how the Chinese are received in these countries – and it is not always with open arms.
“The Chinese are not loved in Iran by the public, and increasingly, they are seen in even more skeptical terms as the Iranian regime has cozied up to the Chinese state,” Markey says. “Technology, surveillance, political repression – these are all things the Chinese are very capable of doing and sell to Iran,” which creates a “cleavage” between Iranian elites and the public in terms of how they regard China.