Prime Minister Netanyahu’s official Twitter feed tends to have the feel of unspontaneous sound-bites rather than subtle public diplomacy. But last night, on the occasion of Monday’s Chinese New Year (it is now the Year of the Dragon—of the Water Dragon, specifically), the feed got up close and personal with tentative ally China, who, as things heat up with Iran, Israel would like to have on board with regard to international sanctions and embargo efforts. Here are last night’s tweets in chronological order:
OK, OK, we get it!
Meanwhile, David Sanger had a valuable article over the weekend reporting that China has finally decided to understand what Israeli central banker Stanley Fischer told it almost two years ago: that Iran’s raising of the temperature would, for a number of reasons, increase economic instability and tamper with world energy markets—two things China loathes. “For years,” Sanger notes,
China resisted sanctions on Iran, since it buys so much Iranian oil. Now it sees that escalating sanctions are inevitable, so it is busy hedging its bets, looking for alternative sources (with help from the Obama administration) while delaying a crisis. “They are a little late to the game,” one of Mr. Obama’s aides said. “We have been telling them this was coming for two years now. But they are only now believing it.”
Fellow veto-wielding Security Council member Russia, by contrast, benefits from a crisis that raises energy prices: After all, it is the world’s largest producer of crude and a net energy exporter by a wide margin. To convince it to go along, Israel may need to get going on the Soviet-born Foreign Minister Lieberman’s meager feed.