High Speed Silk Road Routes to All of Asia and Europe
Xi Jinping, 63, the president of China and general secretary of the Communist Party, wants to revive the myth and build a New Silk Road, in large parts along the old trade route. It would mark the return of a legend. For some time now, many of his speeches have included references to “yi dai yi lu,” or “a belt, a road.” It is a gigantic project, and China envisions about 60 countries being involved, or about half of humanity.
China wants to expand trade along the route and develop infrastructure. Beijing has earmarked $40 billion (36 billion euros) for the project, to be invested in building new roads, and in railroads, pipelines and ports from Lithuanian to the Horn of Africa, Sri Lanka to Israel, and Pakistan to Iran. Two railroad lines lead to Germany, one from Zhengzhou to Hamburg and the other from Chongqing to Duisburg.
Follow the route of the new silk road from Xinjiang to Belarus
While Struggling to Show a Triumphal Image to the World, Foundations Crack and Crumble
What worries Chinese leaders most is not the border conflicts they have created in the South China Sea and India but rather past mistakes that threaten to destroy China from within. This includes a growing worker shortage and an unsustainable mountain of bad debt. __ Die Fast or Die Slow
Debt, Demography, Decay
China’s mountain of debt calls into question most of the grand plans of expansion and conquest that China’s leaders have announced to a restless and largely impoverished public. A rapid shrinking of China’s workforce and exponential aging of the overall population raises the question of “who will do the work and fund future pensions?” And the premature decay and collapse of Chinese construction across the nation forces honest observers to wonder how long any of it will last.
As for China’s vaunted new military, China can not even design and build a reliable military turbine engine. The dragon’s desperate dependence upon cyber-espionage and technology theft reveals some the many deep cracks underlying China’s grand goals.
Understanding the massive China bubble will give one a clear advantage in understanding China’s trajectory. Understanding the depth of corruption in China will add considerably more perspective.
[Chinese] market plunges are early manifestations of a historic slowdown in the Chinese economy, one that is bringing the country’s soaring growth rates down to earth after three decades of expansion. But the current slowdown pales in comparison with a looming societal crisis: In the years ahead, as China’s Baby Boomers reach retirement age, the country will transition from having a relatively youthful population, and an abundant workforce, to a population with far fewer people in their productive prime.
… With the number of working-age Chinese men already declining—China’s working-age population shrank by 4.87 million people last year—labor is in short supply. As wages go up, maintaining the world’s largest standing army is becoming prohibitively expensive. Nor is the situation likely to improve: After wages, rising pension costs are the second-biggest cause of increased military spending. __ Atlantic – China in Twilight
China rose to economic power on a foundation of large-scale technology transfer and massive foreign investment. The foreign investment is in rapid retreat, and most of the technology transfer to China these days comes from outright theft, piracy, and espionage — rather than through voluntary contracts, as in the 1980s and 1990s.
China’s growing mountain of debt built upon debt, its market volatility, its forests of rapidly crumbling ghost cities, all reveal an expanding system of capital misallocation and deep corruption which cannot be reformed — at least not by the current mindset of Chinese leadership.
China is in Decline, But so is Russia
Russians Today Shorter and Weaker than Their Parents
Russians coming to adulthood now are approximately two centimeters shorter and much weaker than those who did so as recently as the 1970s and 1980s, the result not of genetic degradation but rather of a wide variety of environmental factors, according to researchers at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences…
… Not only are Russians coming of age today shorter than their parents, the Center says; but their bodies have smaller muscle masses – and that has economic consequences. Today, “approximately 30 percent” of young Russians will be unable to perform jobs that require physical exertion. __ http://www.mk.ru/social/the-first-of-september/2016/08/30/rost-rossiyskikh-detey-s-nachala-veka-sokratilsya-na-2-santimetra.html via WindowonEurasia
Russia is facing many of the same economic and demographic problems as China, except much worse. The quality of Russian sperm is in rapid decline, and so apparently is the physical quality of Russian male bodies. No wonder most of the Olympic medals won by “Russia” in the recent Rio Olympics were won by non-ethnic Russians.
Declining China and Russia Compete for Primacy over all of Asia
But only one of the nations-in-decay can dominate most of the Asian landmass. Both have worked hard to project images of unstoppable power and energy. But a deep, open-eyed, and open-minded look at both the dragon and the bear will reveal that as bad as its problems are, China has more staying power than its neighbor to the north and northwest.
The new Silk Road will not be as grand, expansive, and all-empowering as Chinese propagandists attempt to portray. But it will facilitate the economic encirclement of Russia which China is seeking. And as rapidly as the forces of decay are working on China’s visceral foundations, they are eating away at Russia’s even more rapidly.
China will take full advantage of Russia’s growing weaknesses, while it is still able to do so. Since China has become the go-to supplier for most of Russia’s electronic and other high tech military needs, China will be able to control any response by Russia’s military to Chinese provocations. Assuming Russia can still man a meaningful military when China makes its move.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.
Try to build a relatively safe and effective base of operations in a good location. Geopolitical shifts are certain, many of them quite significant.
No despotic government will stand by and watch the type of decay described above, without attempting to pre-empt the inevitable fallout. Putin is a fountain of bad decisions, and his supply is nowhere near exhausted. Xi is only marginally more savvy, but that margin is likely to provide a meaningful difference in outcome.
The time is coming when Dangerous Children will be needed far out of proportion to their actual supply. Do what you can.
Desperate Putin: Independent Levada Centre now listed as “Foreign Agent” by Kremlin It is getting much harder to glean reliable information from the suddenly darker empire.
If world affairs were a card game, Putin would have a hand that at its very best contained, let’s say, three eights. __ Russia Not a Superpopwer
It’s not that Putin is that good at poker. It’s that he’s playing against complete idiots.