December 8, 2015 -
yurasumy, PolitRussia -
Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski
“The great ‘Silk Road’ of the 21st century. Part 1”
The twentieth century was a century in which economic strength was concentrated in two parts of the world: the US and Europe. Accordingly, the control of these two major economic regions and the routs between them automatically resulted in the geopolitical strength of the “controlling” organization.
The US, building up its armed forces and fleet in the first half of the century and winning a global status for its currency, became the only superpower of the world. In the middle of the century, its opponent, the USSR, with titanic efforts managed to reach a “draw” with the US, but it was defeated by the end of the 1980’s.
As has already been noted, the basis of America’s geopolitical power was its control over its territory where at one moment (1950) more than half of world production or 31% of the world’s GDP was concentrated, as well as its control over the territory of Western Europe, which by the late 1960’s had a sufficiently large interior and dynamically developing market. By the early 1970’s, the economic share of Western Europe in the world economy rose to 25%, and by the end of the 1980’s it reached 31%.
At the same time, the share of the US at the beginning of the 1980’s fell to 23%. Overall, however, they "engaged" 54% of the entire world economy. It was this which put the US leadership in world rankings and made their positions unshakeable.
In the early 2000’s, this resulted in a dramatic imbalance in the global economy. New trade routes, through which the majority of the world’s trade flow, acquired new importance. The rapid growth of Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, the countries of the Indo-Chinese peninsula and, of course, China meant that a huge portion of production was transferred from the US and Europe to them, and this led to the shifting of main trade routes to the Indian ocean.
The GDP of the region’s countries (together with India, Pakistan, and the Gulf countries) amount to more than 50% of global GDP, and this is continuing to grow. While the proportion of the European market remains quite high (15-17%), the recovery of the Russian economy has created a region which unites more than 70% of the world’s GDP. Moreover, this area is to a large extent closed to itself.
Control over the main trade artery of the region has become vital for emerging countries, primarily China, and the US’s global leadership is trying not to miss it.
At first, everything was simple. The US Navy was huge and could dominate any place in the world. It was supported by a network of land bases where air forces and ground forces could be accommodated, and there was a list of allied countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and other monarchies of the region. In fact, it was quite easy for the US to control the trade routes of the region. But in the 2000’s, the US started ringing a bell and by the 2010’s the alarm was sounded. The US is rapidly losing ground. Meanwhile, its geopolitical opponents are rapidly occupying these same positions.
Pakistan and Pakistani Port Arthur
In 2001, China and Pakistan reached an agreement over constructing a huge complex that includes a port, airport, railroad, and highway. Technically, it is a trading port, but in the contract there are no restrictions on the deployment of the Chinese navy. Almost no one doubts that sooner or later they will find it to be a reliable anchorage spot.
In 2007, the port was opened and in 2011 Pakistan quarreled with the US and finally invited their Chinese “partners” to build a military base there.
The place was chosen very successfully. For trade?...
At the very entrance to the Persian Gulf, the rear and flanks are well protected by allied territories (Iran, Pakistan). In the case of such a necessity, it will be very difficult for the US to kick out the tenacious Chinese, who seem to have come to this region to stay.
A Chinese-Pakistani alliance has not yet been fully formed, but there is so much common ground that in reality we can speak of a gradual squeezing out of the USA and a lesson in “liberating” the area by the US’ geopolitical opponents.
The “Thai” channel
The idea of this channel hung in the air for a long time. First of all, navigating in this area of the Strait of Malacca is so intense that it is time to introduce a new “traffic controller”
Secondly, problems with piracy in recent years have greatly affected the cost of delivery, which is mainly the justification of any costs of constructing a canal.
Thirdly, the time of cargo delivery will be reduced. And, most importantly, the channel will be built by China accompanied by a deployment of a large naval base and garrison. So far nothing has been said of this, and the project is referred to as being more of a “Pakistani" one. But China is becoming a country which builds infrastructure and enterprises and promises military assistance in a case of danger.
As of today, the agreement on construction has already been approved and it is only a matter of time until 25 billion dollars is all that will separate China from a new geopolitical triumph. Beijing, in one fell swoop, is taking the main commercial artery out of the zone of US influence (Indonesia and Singapore are informally involved, as they are officially allies of the USA). Trade will now pass through Indo-China and further through the channel to the Indian ocean, thereby avoiding a very narrow and dangerous place. And, most importantly, this is uncontrollable.
Together with a base at Gwadar, the “Thai” channel will change the balance of power in the region and put the power of the US in it into question. Thailand has long been a loyal ally of the US, and if it falls under a new overlord, then this will be a huge geopolitical defeat for Washington comparable to defeat in the Vietnam War.
Djibouti - China’s first military base in Africa (and the world)
Literally just the other day a report surfaced that China is preparing to build what is for now just a place for refueling its ships. But experts believe that the emergence of a Chinese naval base there is only a matter of time.
This was reported by the American general David Rodriguez who heads the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).
According to him, China has signed a contract with the government of Djibouti covering a period of 10 years. According to the agreement, a logistical base for the People’s Liberation Army of China will be deployed on the territory of Djibouti. China itself has not confirmed the fact of this agreement, but it has declared that such negotiations are underway.
Djibouti is a small country in Africa which is located in a position very convenient for controlling the see trade route in the “Horn of Africa” region and the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait. Thus, after the last serious military rapprochement between Russia and Egypt, China will be able to close one exit from the Red Sea, and Russia the other.
The US shouldn’t have thrown out its loyal allies
As we see, China is ready to saddle a trade route vital for it and kick out the United Sates. To this end, it is ready to make any alliances, even with its former enemies (such as India). The prospects for the US in the case of a successful realization of all these projects do not look to optimistic.
In this article, we have considered only one of the “Silk Roads” between China and Europe. But it is not the only one. There are two more mega projects which could ensure a new geopolitical matrix of Eurasia in which there is no room for the USA.
Continued in Part 2
Continued in Part 2