In June MEI published my colleague and MEJ Book Review Editor John Calabrese's Policy Brief, "The Consolidation of Gulf-Asia Relations: US Tuned in or Out of Touch?", which I plugged previously. This is, if not John's primary scholarly focus, certainly one of them. He knows it as well as anybody, I think.
This week, China launched its first Arabic-language television news service, which, since already on Monday Marc Lynch posted a good summary on the subject, I didn't note specifically, figuring if you're reading me, you've been reading Marc Lynch a lot longer. And Lynch alluded to a lot of other issues relating to this, including the whole Uighur/Central Asian issue, in passing.
Then, synchronicity and coincidence being what they are, an old acquaintance from a long time back — who, since he hasn't authorized me to quote him, I will simply call "Larry," since that's his name — and who spent a career in international banking mostly in Bahrain and Hong Kong, and thus might be considered informed on the subject, sent me a message saying:
I hope the appearance of John's article on the website is a harbinger of the Institute focusing on this issue - perhaps with a speech (maybe at the annual conference) and maybe with a focus in the Journal.Okay, I'm starting to feel like there's an emerging theme. Over at the Blog Jihadica there's a post on a new issue of the "Islamic Turkistan Journal" on events in Chinese Turkistan. (Excuse me, Xinjiang.)
Then I got a submission for the Middle East Journal on the subject of Kuwait's relations with the Far East. Confidentiality means I can't identify the author.
Then, yesterday, my wife sends me a link to this article, "The Rise of a New Silk Road," dealing with China and the Middle East.
Okay, Okay, I get it. China and the Middle East is a major issue. As it happens, China and the Middle East are intertwined in my own life as well: my daughter is Chinese; and as you've already figured out I've spent a little time around the Middle East.
So I've done the post. Whatever higher power is loading me down with input on East Asia and the Middle East, here it is.
UPDATE: Don't miss comment #1 below, which is extended, anecdotal, and far more informed on the subject than I am.