China and Russia vs. United States (II)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Although Washington’s movements in Eurasia are nothing new, the scenario with China moving to become the leading world economy is. And this is threatening to overturn the maritime geopolitics that has shaped global power for the last 400 years. Instead of focusing on building an offshore fleet like the British did or a global aerospace navy like the Americans, China is stepping into the Eurasian ‘World Island’ in an attempt to completely restructure the geopolitical bases of the new global power, using a subtle strategy that has so far managed to elude the upper echelons of power in Washington.
After several decades of quiet preparation, China has begun to show its strategy to take over global power very cautiously. Its two-stage plan is designed to build a transcontinental structure to incorporate the ‘World Island’ from within, while mobilizing military forces to skilfully cut and gradually break through the US’s containment fence.
The initial step has been the impressive project to create the economic infrastructure of the continent, establishing an elaborate and expensive network of high-speed rail lines to transport large volumes of merchandise as well as oil and gas pipelines across the broad territorial expanse of Eurasia. For the first time in history, transcontinental transportation of critical cargo such as oil, minerals and manufactured products will be possible on a massive scale and will be able to integrate this vast territory into an economic zone extending over 10,000 kilometers, from Shanghai to Madrid. In this way, Beijing hopes to transfer the neurological brain of geopolitical power from the maritime periphery to the very heart of the continent.
Transcontinental railways are now altering the terms of land power. However, this geopolitical logic has gone unnoticed in Washington. In fact, over the past decade, China has made the world’s largest investment in infrastructure: close to 1 trillion dollars so far.
Between 2007 and 2014, China put in almost 15,000 kilometers of new high-speed rail lines that are more than the lines in the rest of the world combined. Its system currently transports 2.5 million passengers a day, at an average speed of 380 kilometers per hour. By 2030 there will be more than 25,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines costing 300 billion dollars that will connect the main cities in China.
At the same time, the Chinese Government began to collaborate with neighboring States on a huge project to integrate the national network into a transcontinental network. Since 2008, the Germans and the Russians have joined with the Chinese to build the ‘Eurasian Land Bridge’ with two east-west routes, the old Trans-Siberian to the north and a southern route along the Old Silk Road through Kazakhstan. Containers of high value-added manufactured products, computers and auto parts will travel 10,782 kilometers along the fastest southern route, from Leipzig, Germany to Chongqing, China in just 20 days, almost half of the time it takes by ship.
In 2013, the German railway company, Deutsche Bahn AG, began to create a third route between Hamburg and Zhengzhou that has reduced travel time to 15 days, while the Kazakh Rail route opened up a Chongqing – Duesberg connection with similar travel times. In October 2014, China announced plans to build the world’s longest high-speed rail line at a cost of 230 billion dollars. And in just two days trains will traverse the 6,920 kilometers between Being and Moscow.
China is also building two branches in a south-westerly and southerly direction to the maritime border of the Eurasian World Island. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an agreement with Pakistan to invest 40 billion dollars in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with highways, connections, railroads, oil and gas pipelines that will amount to 3,248 kilometers from Kashgar in Xinjiang to western China. When they complete their rail lines through Laos and all of Southeast Asia there will be a high-speed line to travel from Kunming to Singapore in just 10 hours.
To capitalize the regional growth plans for this amazing project, in 2014 Beijing created the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and it will partner with 14 countries throughout Eurasia and include old US allies, such as Germany, Great Britain, Australia and South Korea that have signed as founding partners of that bank. And finally, Beijing has just unveiled a strategy to neutralize the military forces that Washington has deployed along the perimeter of the new Eurasian continent.
Addendum: There is no doubt that the confrontation of China and Russia with the United States is right now the most important global geopolitical event, and that its duration and eventual winner will determine the future of the new world of the 21st century, although recent decades have already been seeing the decline of the West and the rise of the ancestral social ethics of China.