What does the future hold for ‘the west’ on a 100 year or more timescale? If there is infrastructure to be built in places like Europe and Australia then why hasnt these countries bothered with it?
Will manufacturing jobs ever return with robotics & automation? Is debt to somewhere like China the future? Is the future bright ?
The history of China is the history of it’s Emperors. The present CP Emperor is outward looking, hence the building projects and overseas trade. The Emperors after Zheng He’s voyages weren’t as outward looking and destroyed the exploration fleets and became very insular. There are also internal divisions in China that could cause it to slow down too.
I highly recommend “Why the West Rules, for Now” by the archeaologist Ian Morris who takes a long view evidence based approach towards human development in the west and east. As Tulip mentioned China’s internal divisions were as much a problem for its development as intrusions from outside.
One practice that sticks out is how when a new dynasty came to power it would disassemble the entire palace building complex of the conquered empire and move it to the new seat of the conquerer! The mandate of heaven had deserted the usurped so therefore the capital of power must move too.
Now that mandate sees China reach out into the world again.
I’m guessing it’s killing two birds with one stone.
First it expands global prosperity and trade which will definitely benefit China in terms of markets for its goods and services.
Second it expands China’s political reach especially in Asia where it feels it is the rightful dominant power.
Overall I don’t think it’s a bad thing for most of the countries who usually could do with better trains, roads, bridges and ports and they don’t tend to have the financing or construction wherewithal to make these a reality.
I’m not sure how much it benefits China compared to spending their money internally but it may work out all the same as they generate returns for their own companies, employment for their own people and spend foreign currency on it. China has wasted billions of dollars and many projects previously so even if half of it is ‘productive’ they will probably count it as a success. Hey it beats bombing countries to smithereens or putting it all into military investments!
It is true that at the moment China see itself on a rising grand arc (literally called China Rising 中國崛起). As long as the economy is okay they can spurge on these kinds of initiatives.
I agree, it appears to be a good strategy. It’s building alliances and markets that are not under the control of the west. The thing is, once it’s built it has to be maintained so that’ll soak up the excess that is being produced by China now.
China’s approach is three-fold: first, build economic alliances to underpin diplomatic/political alliances, and entrench their position in their ‘sphere of influence’. Second, use these links to ensure a ready supply of the raw materials (and food) that China needs. Third, (as others have pointed out) use external investment as a way to soak up excess production and insufficient domestic demand.
China’s advantage - apart from its size and economic muscle - is its ability to act without much in the way of domestic restraint. Its leadership also takes a very long view. Its weakness is however inherent in that same strength; a lack of checks and balances, corruption, a weak rule of law etc.
The test will come when some local faction, opposed to the sitting government, decides to ‘interfere’ in the railway.
Will they have China to answer to ?
In fairness, the USA has shot it’s way to influence, whereas China is taking a trade-based approach.
Only time will tell which one is more effective, but I think we all know which approach is preferred.
The thing is, if the railways are the means by which wealth is brought into the Country, do you want to endanger your future spoils of war by destroying it. After you win, you still owe the Chinese for it’s construction cost. If you renege, the Chinese upsticks and persuade the other parts of the rail network to up tariffs to repay the Chinese.
Whose sphere of Influence is east Africa? The Sahara and Central African regions are mostly French. Djibouti is French too. The French can be quite mendacious when it comes to Africa. Any threat to the Chinese plan will come from the West.
Djibouti is very small, and In addition to the French, the US has it’s only full time military base in Africa there. Other countries with military bases in Djibouti include, Spain, Italy, Saudi, Japan, and China. Go figya!
Don’t know if any of it involves anything more than chasing pirates…
Good source of revenue for Djibouti…
The now familiar ‘suffering peoples’ has been exported to Burma and the Rohingya people.
As this link and map illustrate, the desperation of the West to prevent a ‘Western’ Chinese port on the Eastern Indian ocean (thus avoiding the Malacca Straits and a huge sea journey) is key to the misery of the Rohingya.
Access to the ports of the Rakhine state in Burma/Myanmar allows the Chinese a much, much quicker and more secure route to export and import over land.
How long until Myanmar has ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and needs a bit of the oul’ ‘humanitarian intervention’ to set em strait… er, sorry… straight…
So you’re saying the west are going to use the Rohingya to start a war with the Myanmar government to stop China from getting a port there? What advantage would this give them over having a port in Pakistan?
The chinese don’t understand the soft in ‘soft power’. You keep good relations, not reposses bits of another country; in times of stress you use the “yeah, but you still owe me 10 billion for the port; not looking for it, just saying like if you need to vote, or I need to park an aircraft carrier”.
The west had been under the impression that if it could get Aun Sang Su Ki installed in power it would then have a puppet with which to oppose China by proxy. Hence the Nobel Prize and fawning by Hillary Clinton, Bono et al. When it became apparent that she was not going to play ball and allow western interests unfettered access to to Burmese mineral deposits and the rest of it they then turned their attention to fermenting unrest via Rohingyan Islamists in Rakhine state before Bob Geldof and the like began labeling her as a war criminal etc.
As an aside the whole region around Bangkadesh to include Rakhine State and parts of India, notably Assam, are ethnic conflicts and even potential genocides waiting to happen (obviously has already happened to an extent in Myanmar) as ever increasing numbers of illegal migrants from Bangladesh (i.e. Muslims) encroach on surrounding areas. Currently the Indian Givernemnt is threatening to deport significant numbers of the estimated 4 million Muslims in Assam if they cannot prove that they are citizens despite most (probably) of them having been born in India. An opposition Indian politician in parliament this week even predicted civil war if the plan goes ahead…probably hyperbole but given what happened in Myanmar last year the situation is tense.
There was a TV report earlier this evening that referenced this article…interesting, innovative stuff on the part of the Chinese…as the woman said, while the Yanks have spent the past decade and a half focussed on blowing up a guy in a cave, the Chinese have been at the likes of this…