There is a lot of talk in non-Western media about the BRI Polar Route stretching from Shandong in China around to the Northern tip of Norway and then linking with a train connection – under construction – that goes into Finland and then South towards Germany and Central Europe before linking through to Serbia and Greece. The rail part will provide a North South Link to the high speed rail lines from China to Europe and the Middle East and into Africa. Of course this much needed infrastructure opens up Scandinavia as well as the Polar Route, key parts of Central Europe and links into the Middle East and through to Africa. These linkages which increase trade and tourist connections increase earnings for us in the West.
Above it is the Polar route which also enables the huge Russian gas finds to be converted into LNG and be transported by rail and pipes to Europe. But the main destinations are Japan, both Koreas, and China. This is a critical part of fighting pollution and replacing coal. It is also a key build of development through both Koreas and links Russian and Chinese commercial interests. It also is a competitor for USA LNG and Oil.
I am indebted as always to Henry Tillman for his research which is second to none. But let us see the growing interdependence in Asia which bodes well for managing competing claims and building consensus development. Some ask me do I think that this is serious. And can it all happen if the USA continues to try to spoil BRI and get others to join the spoilers club. The USA has some legitimate concerns around debt and managing rules. But its main concern is the rise of China which is based on shared commercial interests, and not a concept of political systems. In fact the main driving force of USA global development was acquiring ocean areas, particularly in the Pacific, but not limited to that, and the drive through Bretton Woods to be the dominant world reserve currency and trading nation.
This American strategy since 1945 has brought benefits to Europe and the “West”. We have enjoyed a rising standard of living throughout this period and have had to play along with geopolitical and military moves that underline that strategy. Eventually, the changing world caught up with the USA when it tried to invade and change Iraq. Tony Blair found that supporting the USA had limits, and Europe averted supporting that policy.
So we shall see what develops on the world stage as the USA and China try to manage this changing world. The USA seems committed to maintaining world leadership or domination – whichever term you feel is appropriate – and China seeks to lead a new global philosophy and at the same or as part of that philosophy tries to build BRI, or it is trying to build a new empire. Whichever you prefer.
I am a half full person and feel that the USA aim is not realistic, and nor is war a way they can achieve it. I also feel that China’s leaders have renounced imperial aims as impractical, short term, and not morally compatible with China’s history. So I do feel that for all shouting and hurling of claims of mistrust and deception, stealing and evil intentions, that they will find a compatible outcome. In fact I think that is what is being negotiated now , but it may take a long while, although this first part is a challenge now the Democrats have said they also need to be satisfied. Rather like Brexit, where the EU is not sure if it is negotiating with the British Conservative Party, or the UK, so China is now not sure if it is negotiating with President Trump or the USA.
A deal that could have been done is now more complicated by this.
Anyway the world will not have to choose between socialist and capitalist economies in my opinion. Neither major power can determine the outcome of the world any more. So we will all probably be left to get on with our historical ways.
Can we take seriously the Chinese Polar Route? Are they really committed to the Polar Route. The Russians are invested in it, as are the Koreans – both – and the Japanese. Finland as well and seems Italy is soon to join and maybe Germany soon.
This story kind of suggests the Chinese are and we are headed towards a new destination for summer holidays!
hope it is getting warmer where you are