Κτίζοντας τὸν νέο δρόμο τοῦ Μεταξιοῦ καὶ τὴν Νέα Εὐρασία…
(Τὸ ἄρθρο παρακάτω, στὰ ἀγγλικά, εἶναι μεγάλο γιὰ νὰ τὸ μεταφράσω παιδιά… Δυστυχῶς!!!)
Ἡ μία περίπτωσις εἶναι νὰ εἶναι ὅντως ἀντικρουόμενα τὰ συμφέροντα μεταξὺ Η.Π.Α. – συμμάχων τους καὶ Ῥωσσίας – Κίνας – «συμμάχων» τους ἐπίσης!!!
Ἄν ὄντως ἰσχύῃ κάτι τέτοιο, τότε βάσει τῶν παρακάτω στοιχείων μιλᾶμε γιὰ παιχνίδια τρισεκατομμυρίων δολαρίων, ποὺ οἱ Η.Π.Α. δὲν πρόκειται νὰ τὸ ἀφήσουν ἔτσι…
Ἔχουμε στὸ τσεπάκι μας ἕναν Γ΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, ποὺ μετὰ βεβαίως ἴσως δὲν θὰ ὑπάρχη καὶ κάτι νὰ μοιράσουν, ἀφοῦ δὲν θὰ ὑπάρχουμε στὸ μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό…
Ἄν τὸν γλυτώσουμε τὸν Μεγάλο Πόλεμο σίγουρα θὰ ὑπάρχουν τοπικὲς ἐντάσεις ἀνάλογες, ἤ καὶ μεγαλύτερες, ἀπὸ αὐτὲς τῆς Συρίας.
Ἡ ἄλλη περίπτωσις εἶναι νὰ εἶναι κανονισμένο ἀπὸ πρίν, κι ἀφοῦ ὁλοκληρωθῇ καὶ ἑνοποιηθῇ ἡ Εὐρασία, νὰ προχωρήσουμε σὲ κάτι τέτοιο:
Ἀφοῦ πρῶτα θὰ ἔχη προηγηθεῖ αὐτό:
Κτίζοντας τὸν Νέο δρόμο τοῦ Μεταξιοῦ καὶ τὴν Νέα Εὐρασία
Building the New Silk Road and New Eurasia: Part 1 – China and the SouthTranslated 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 ArthurIn 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” channelThe 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 alliesAs 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.
Building the New Silk Road and New Eurasia: Part 2 – Russia and the North
“Will the Northern Sea Route become a ‘Silk Road’”?In the first part of this series dedicated to the trade routes between East Asia and Europe, the Southern sea route through which the vast majority of cargo between two hubs of the global economy flows was discussed. It was also shown how the leadership of China is trying to bring this strategically important sea route under its control.In this second part, we will discuss one of the “alternatives” to this. It is unlikely that the northern sea route (NSR) will compete with the southern artery, but the development of the Far Northern region is inevitable for Russia. It is necessary from the point of view of state security, and therefore making it affordable for the country’s budget is very important.SecurityThe melting of Arctic ice, a trend which has been followed for decades, as well as the development of technology (such as rocket science, for example) has resulted in the fact that the northern coast of the Russian Federation has become a convenient springboard for the deployment of Russian submarines. It is precisely here that patrols are settling into their designated places. It is here that they will be hunted by American nuclear submarines in order to protect their country from nuclear retaliation in the case of “rash” decisions.Secondly, it is more likely that an attack on American strategic forces will be carried out via the north pole. As a minimum, there are at least two components (ICBMS’s and strategic bombers).This region has been made very important even though mastering its defensive line has been difficult. Now, with the development of American submarines in the arctic seas (this is already a fact), the task of protecting the interests of the state has risen to a new level.This article does not aim to examine in detail the threats to Russian security from the north. It’s simply necessary to understand that the development of infrastructural projects in the far north is not just a whim of some expectedly wealthy country, but a vital necessity for Russia. The task of any sane leadership is taking care of this necessity in a self-sustaining and income-generating way. Therefore, one should not be surprised by the efforts of the leadership of the Russian Federation in restoring the former power of the icebreaker fleet and projects that are currently developing in polar waters, as this is a matter of survival.The defense of a state must be powerful, but economical.The northern sea route – a historyThe commercial exploitation of the NSR began in the times of the USSR. It was the Soviet government which gave the Arctic great importance and began comprehensively studying it for the immediate purpose of overcoming the economic devastation of the national economy. 1920-1930 was the “epoch” of the polar heroes. The Great Patriotic War became the first test of the “aptitude” of the northern fleet.During the years of war, dozens of transport vehicles sustained the livelihoods in the coastal areas. Also, in the summer of 1942, 3 warships (the leader of destroyers, “Baku,” and two class 7 destroyers) were directed there from the Pacific ocean in one of the caravans.Real work only began after the war with the emergence of a new icebreaker fleet, including nuclear ones. The first atomic icebreaker “Lenin” was put into operation in 1960. The first “Artika” serial nuclear-powered icebreakers became part of the fleet in the mid 1970’s, which dramatically increased the tonnage of cargo passing through the NSR. By the end of the 1980’s, the volume of traffic running through the NSR reached 6.7 million tons.And this was only the internal “traffic” of the USSR. Until 1991, the passage of foreign vessels through the NSR wasn’t a reality.But with the collapse of the USSR, the Northern sea route was quickly abandoned. Nuclear-powered icebreakers carried tourists and ships providing pilotage to vessels were written off or put aside for better times.Cargo turnover fell to 1.4-1.6 million tons per year. There was nearly a decade of stagnation and decline, until the program for prioritizing the development of the NSR and the creation of international transport hubs was announced.Putin said: “We see the future of the northern sea route as an international transport artery capable of competing with traditional maritime lines in terms of services, security, and quality.”In 2010, only 110 thousand tons transited through the NSR. In 2012, transit traffic through the NSR reached 800 thousand tons. In 2013, it jumped to 1.36 million tons. In 2014, there was less than 300 thousand tons (this was affected by the general unloading of cargo traffic in the world and important economic changes which will be discussed below).This is a drop in the ocean. For example, nearly one billion tons (963 million in 2014) in freight traffic flows through the Suez canal.The overcall carriage of cargo through the NSR can be seen in this graph:As we see, now the main freight traffic through the NSR is composed of loads for residents and construction sites in the Far North. The transit flow is not constant, and there are quite objective reasons for this.Domestic Russian transportThe NSR was created as a domestic Soviet transport artery for the delivery of loads primarily for the needs of the region itself. Norilsk Nicket and the gas riches of Yamala all became possible thanks to work on the NSR. Only the further development of the region, the extraction of new natural resources, and the provision of acceptable living conditions to the population can guarantee a stable, working Northern sea route.All of this makes its revival inevitable in the coming years. It is most likely that after 5 years the turnover of the NSR could break records (compared to the times of the USSR) and 7 million tons will rapidly move forward through it. The construction of two gas liquefaction plants itself will send 15 million tons of liquefied gas in both directions (East and West). At the same time, it will increase flows supplying new plants, the people working on them, etc. Thus, in the foreseeable future (10-15 years), even without taking into account hypothetical development projects in the Far North and the increase in transit from South-East Asia, the cargo traffic of the NSR is expected to grow massively and become self-sustaining.Transit – problems and the paths to solutionsSo why in 2014 did transit through the NSR plummet?The Northern sea route is the shortest route between major Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ports and ports in Northern Europe (Hamburg and Rotterdam). From Yokohama, Japan and Busan, South Korea, it is up to 4000-5000 miles.If we add to this consideration the cost of transit through the Suez canal ($5 per ton), then the economic effect of passing vessels through the NSR is obvious, but there are a few “buts.”Piloting vessels through the NSR costs a tariff of $20-30 per ton. Is that a lot or a little? As calculations show, it can take up to half of the expenses of the shipowner for the voyage. When oil prices were high (around $100 a barrel), a profit could be made. With plummeting oil prices, and thereby less spending, the interest of foreign ship owners in using the NSR drastically fell. Saving 10-15 days attracted few then.There are many other problems which are smaller for foreigners (unequipped ports and the legal aspects of passing ships through), but economics have always been central. As long as the NSR is economically advantageous, then it will be in demand. If it is unprofitable, then no extra bread will attract a foreigner there.In general, ports in the north are a weak point of the entire project and require a separate description.ConclusionThe main conclusion rests in that the NSR will never be able to become a substitute for the southern route, but with a reduction in tariffs for pilotage or a rise in oil prices (at least to the level of $70-80 per barrel), it will be able to take upon itself a sufficient volume of cargo (up to 30 million tons) and ensure the profitability of the entire project. In fact, this is precisely what is required. This will give the Russian Far North an impulse in development, provide defense capability, and make shipping costs affordable, which would have the most favorable impact on the economy of whole country.