Russia and China to Build a Huge New Port south of Vladivostock
You've done a better job than I could of showing how China and its allies will overcome US hegemony by 'sewing' the world together with pipelines, high speed rail and ports/trade.
China has openly called for the world to 'de-americanize'. I see this as succeeding.
Thnx for your comment, metatron.
I agree with much of what you say, but I would like to express thoughts that vary a little.
I'm not sure that China wants to replace the USA as world hegemon. A world order in which China became the strongest nation on earth, is I think likely to be quite different to the current system.
The western powers, for all their bleating about the aggression of other nations, were formed during an era of European expansion. The USA was imbued with that same expansionist attitude.* (And, so of course were many of the previous dynasties that formed contemporary China). But within Asia now, and in China, there is an expressed and genuine desire for a harmonious world.
In my lifetime, I've seen the western world (and, in particular the Anglo world) fight desperately to hang on to their position of dominance.
In WW2, in Asia, the Japanese demonstrated to all Asia, that the West was not invincible. And, as soon as the WW2 ended and the western powers (the French, Dutch, and the English), attempted to resume their dominance in Asia, the varied colonies rose up against Western dominance. We saw, the Malaysian emergency, which the English won by putting barbed wire around every village, thus turning them into mini-concentration camps, the Indonesian war against the Dutch, marked by extreme Dutch brutality, which the Indonesians won.
And in S.E Asia another war against the colonialist French that turned into the Vietnam war, when it was clear than that the French could not win, the USA entered the war, and in a very interesting fashion the different goals of the elites who control in the west found themselves out of harmony with their own citizens.
In India, Gandhi proposed a different course, and still won independence. In Myanmar, Aung San (father of Aung San Suu Kyi) formed the Communist Party of Burma and eventually won independence for that country, but was assassinated by an opposition group with English connections.
(And, don't forget the North African war against France, or while we think of Africa, other rebellions against European rule - all opposed by the Europeans with police state repression)
I suggest that the collective memory of the colonialist era has resulted in a strong desire to find another way to co-exist, a way not rooted in western thought. Whether that will happen or not, is not yet clear. But it is, I suggest it is the common goal.
Another thought. I do not think that the USA will suddenly collapse into chaos and disappear. The USA is not in its current hegemonic position just because of luck (though luck played a role). It has outstanding technological research, and a technically capable work force. Even though it is now financially dependent on credit, the very fact that they can assume so much debt is evidence of the USA's position in the world. Of course, that could change overnight, if the USA ever defaulted on repayments. What would happen then, is beyond my capacity to intelligently imagine.
I've written enough.
It is not my goal in posting information on China to "prove" that China is better than the USA (or, vice versa) it is simply to chart the progress of one of the most significant eras ever in world history, and just by chance we are living (me, just) in the moment that this is occurring. Never before in history have so many people moved from the ancient 'peasant' style life, to the middle class lifestyle that is a mark of modernity.
When we were witnesses we ignored this and focussed on the difficult things that mark contemporary life. But manifestly, this is a great time to be alive for increasing numbers of humans, including some 700 million Chinese, most of whom (or, their parents) formerly lived in poverty. OK, there are still 700 million to move to a middle class existence, but, even for those people, their lives are significantly better than in the past.
If anyone does not believe me - go look foryourself.
* I just read (in Indian writer, Pankaj Mishra's excellent, "From the Ruins of Empire - The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia." of the then POTUS, Theodore Roosevelt giving a speech in San Francisco:
" ... Before I came to the Pacific slope, I was an expansionist, and after having been here I fail to understand how any man ... can be anything but an expansionist."
Thank you fts , I appreciate your posts , they are so informative and well balanced about a country /nation /society that is going to be a major influence in world affairs before too long .
Very interesting times ahead .
I thought I'd post this news item about a Chinese built railway in Turkey, as it provides an interesting contrast to what's happening in Syria, right next door to Turkey.
South of Turkey, we see the west interfering in the internal affairs of other nations and peoples, assisting in blasting things to bits.
On the other hand, within Turkey, we can see a maligned China constructively assisting a country to progress. Which, do you think, is the better way?
The United States, according to former US State Department employee, Peter Van Buren,* in a commentary on the current mess in Iraq, published in Asia Times ( read it at: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-240914.html ) noted the cost of the Iraq war
The staggering costs of all this -
US$25 billion to train the Iraqi Army,
$60 billion for the reconstruction-that-wasn't,
$2 trillion for the overall war,
See that- the American tax-payers provided $60 billion to "re-construct" Iraq. Does anyone see a 'reconstructed' Iraq?
So where did the money go? No-one seems to know that. Strange, isn't it?
Van Buren does comment on what was done to 're-construct' Iraq. It seems he played a small role. Here's what he said, in the above cited commentary:
After 22 years as a diplomat with the Department of State, I spent 12 long months in Iraq in 2009-2010 as part of the American occupation. My role was to lead two teams in "reconstructing" the nation. In practice, that meant paying for schools that would never be completed, setting up pastry shops on streets without water or electricity, and conducting endless propaganda events on Washington-generated themes of the week ("small business," "women's empowerment," "democracy building.")
The re-construction of Iraq patently failed - instead this is what the American tax-payers got:
... almost 4,500 Americans dead and more than 32,000 wounded, and an Iraqi death toll of more than 190,000 (though some estimates go as high as a million) - can now be measured against the results. The nine-year attempt to create an American client state in Iraq failed, tragically and completely. The proof of that is on today's front pages.
The new war on terror finds its roots in the failure of the west to understand the Islamic condition, and the stupidity of Bush and Blair.
According to the crudest possible calculation, we spent blood and got no oil. Instead, America's war of terror resulted in the dissolution of a Middle Eastern post-Cold War stasis that, curiously enough, had been held together by Iraq's previous autocratic ruler Saddam Hussein. We released a hornet's nest of Islamic fervor, sectarianism, fundamentalism, and pan-nationalism. Islamic terror groups grew stronger and more diffuse by the year. That horrible lightning over the Middle East that's left American foreign policy in such an ugly glare will last into our grandchildren's days. There should have been so many futures. Now, there will be so few as the dead accumulate in the ruins of our hubris. That is all that we won.
$60 billion and no results. If you owned a business and the management did that to you, what would you do? Yet, new faces, out of the same old mould trot out the same old slogans.
But if you want change? And I feel confident that American tax-payers do want change, that they may not begrudge that sort of money, if they got results. If you do want change, if you do want results, just cross the border and see another way. (in the next post)
* Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during the Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.
A Chinese built fast train running on a new rail link built by a Chinese construction company
China Railway connecting new Silk Road in Turkey
China Railway Construction has finished the second stage of the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed rail project in Turkey, which is also the first high-speed railway line in the country.It entered service on July 25, 2014.
This success marked the start of China Railway Construction going global, presentingChina’s advanced equipment, high technology, sound designs and construction abilities.
Recently, a People's Daily reporter took a trip on this railway. After buying a ticket for 30 Turkish liras (equivalent to $13.7), he had the opportunity to take a closer look at theproject. The livery is a similar white to China’s Harmony Express, and the design is streamlined at the front. There were in total, 6 carriages with 10 rows of seats in each. Adjustable seats were available in each row. The carriages were full when the train left the station.
A young Turkish man spoke to our reporter:
"I was so excited to try this new train. I usedto take planes to work before. It was a real waste of time and money . This new railway is so convenient, comfortable and cost-effective. Many of my friends like it too."
As a result of this project, more and more Turks will have deeper understanding of andmore positive feelings towards China.
Ersin, the general director of Turkey's ministry of foreign affairs in the Middle East and Asia Pacific affairs department, told our reporter: "We Turks support cooperation among the countries along the Silk Road, and we lookforward to the development of transportation, logistics, investment and commerce. Turkeyis making a positive effort to achieve cooperation and substantial progress in multiplefields. "
People’s Daily, author: Liu Rui
National Rail Links.
Which nation has the biggest network?
In first position, is the USA with 224,792 km of track. The average population per km of track (an important factor in the viability of a network) is 1379.
China is now in in No 2 position, with 103,144 km of track and with an average population per km of 13227, which tells us something about the likely viability of the network.
Russia is third, and has approx 128,000 km total, counting all service lines, but Russian government statistics state the network has 87,157 km of track. The key statistic of population per km is 1117.
But its in National attitudes to Rail services that we find the greatest differences.
For the USA, a 2005 report advocating the electrification of the American rail system, called the American network, "dilapidated." ( http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202005/SuperiorRail.pdf )
In contrast, the Chinese government has set a goal of 150,000 km of track by 2020 and 200,000 by 2030. A minimun of 20% is stipulated to be high speed rail, providing a high speed (above 200 km/hr) network of 20,000 km.
Starting from 2007, China now has over 11,000 km of high speed track with scheduled services, the largest high speed network in the world.
Setting up a high speed network, means that all track must be built specifically for high speed operation. Normal track cannot be used to operate trains at high speed.
Here's an image of a section of new high speed track being fitted with overhead wiring, it gives an idea of what is required.
Some material above taken from this China Daily article: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-07/22/content_17880272.htm
Another area where Chinese skills in transport are being used for a positive benefit to the general population, is the Iranian city of Tehran.
You would never know from the general information disseminated by the tame-cat western press, but Tehran is one of west Asia's largest cities with a central population of over 8 million and a wider population of 14 million., covering some 600 sq/km. Tehran is a modern city, in a country with a long history, that fought the eastern Roman empire to the point where both were exhausted, and in Iran's case then fell an easy victim to militant Islam.
Its a beautiful country, in this image you catch a glimpse, not just of the modernity of Tehran, but of the beautiful geographical setting in which the city is located.
You can imagine that a city of that size and complexity is going to have transport problems. Where could they find assistance to build the kind of modern public transport system that a modern city requires to function?
For many years Iran has been sanctioned (shunned) by the west at the USA's behest. Why?
For the answer, we have to go back to the early 1950's and the then Prime Minister, a Dr Mossadegh. Mossadegh was Prime Minister in an elected government and a nationalist who loved his country. He was not an extremist. For years Iranians had chafed at the failure of the British controlled Anglo-Persian Oil Company to properly develop the oil industry. So in 1953, the National Parliament in a near total consensus, voted to nationalise the oil Industry.
This upset the British who were very dependent on Iranian oil at that time. The British M16 secret service and the CIA conspired with a retired Iranian General to lead a coup against the elected government.
This wikepedia entry gives more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat#U.S._role
Popular dissatisfaction with the ensuing governments eventually led to a popular revolution and the current government controlled by Islamic Iman, something in my opinion, that could have been avoided, if the legitimate rights of the Mossadegh government had been respected by the UK and the USA. The political landscape of west Asia would be far different now if Mossadegh had not been removed by the Anglo-American inspired coup.
But western meddling did not stop at that point. After the Islamic revolution, the USA worked with their then man in Iraq, Saddam Hussein (True) as their proxy to fight a six year war with Iran.
Do you begin to see why the west is detested in western Asia, and why it is such a mess, today?
All of which, has not much to do with the transport needs of Tehran, except that it explains that one of the few places that the Iranian government could turn (because of western shunning -i.e. sanctions) with the technical expertise and experience, was China.
In 1985, the Iranian Parliament approved the construction of Tehran Metro which was formally begun a year later. In March 1995, China's CITIC Group signed a contract with Tehran Urban and Suburban Railway to construct line one and line two of the Tehran Metro. In 2001, the first metro constructed by Chinese companies was completed. A factory was established in Tehran to construct some carriages, with the rest being supplied by a Chinese factory in Changchun.
Today, there are five operational subway lines, with a total length of about 150 kilometers and around 110 underground stations. And the number of platforms underground is nearly 110.
Let's catch a subway train in Tehran:
1. Walk through the underground shopping centre to ther station:
2. Buy a ticket at the automatic dispensers:
3. Wait for the train:
5. Off to our destination:
The life of the man-in-the-street in Tehran, is not much different to our own lives.
In the Chinese newspapers today, an announcement that as part of a Ten billion dollar linked to the huge energy deal of last May, China will build a 400 km/hour rail link between Moscow and Kazan, a city on the Volga (approx, 770 km distance) reducing travel time from 13 hours to less than 4.
It is planned that this will be the first stage of an eventual high speed link between Moscow and Beijing, and perhaps further into south Korea.
Premier Li Keqiang talks to the media at a joint news conference with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry
Medvedev in Moscow on Monday. [Rao Aimin / Xinhua]
High-speed rail part of deals worth $10b(China Daily) 07:11, October 14, 2014
China will take a decisive stake in the next stage of Russia's transportation development,with Chinese companies building the country's first high-speed rail line. The agreementformed part of joint deals worth $10 billion being signed on Monday.
Chinese firms and their Russian partners will hold talks on design, financing, supplyingfacilities and construction of a 770-km high-speed line connecting Moscow and Kazan, animportant metropolis on the Volga River.
This was one of 39 agreements being signed after Premier Li Keqiang and Russian PrimeMinister Dmitry Medvedev met for the 19th Regular Prime Ministers' Meetings.
Under the Russian plan, the line will form the initial section of a railway stretching toBeijing, with completion scheduled for 2018 in time for the World Cup soccer finals inRussia. Kazan is one of the host cities.
Trains on the line will reach speeds of up to 400 km/h, shortening the traveling timebetween the two cities from 13 hours to three and a half, according
to the Moscow Timesnewspaper.
Under other agreements being signed on Monday, the State Grid Corp of China will help to upgrade Russia's electricity network.
Details of the support measures, technical terms and legal protection were also settledregarding a $400 billion cooperation project to transport natural
gas from Russia to China.
A currency swap agreement was signed, allowing businesspeople to make direct settlementin the renminbi and rouble to prevent losses from an easing of the US dollar.
Margarete Klein, a researcher on Eastern Europe and Eurasia at the German Institute forInternational and Security Affairs, a think tank in Berlin, said Moscow is willing to workhard to achieve breakthroughs in large cooperation projects with Beijing.
This is because it wants to demonstrate that Russia is not isolated and, against thebackdrop of EU sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.
Yang Hao, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University who researches rail transportationmanagement, said China has advanced technology and valuable experience in railwayconstruction and operations. Beijing is willing to export these, while Moscow wants to improve rail services and upgrade infrastructure.
Yang said the two countries have a track record of rail cooperation dating to the 1950s,when China introduced technology, engineers and manuals from the former Soviet Union to build its own rail network. However, cooperation was sidelined in the 1960s as relations chilled. "Now is the time to reinvigorate this cooperation, as both governments wish,"Yang said.
But such cooperation must first overcome a disparity in track gauges between the two countries, Yang said.
"It will not be easy for Chinese companies to design or build Russian rail lines, becausethey will have to adapt to wide tracks and must make many changes to trains andequipment," Yang said.
Gauri Khandekar, a researcher at Agora Asia-Europe, a knowledge hub on EU-Asiarelations in the Brussels office of FRIDE, a European think tank, said more high-techproducts will be exported by China, which has made significant technological advances.
Khandekar cited high-speed trains as an "impressive example".