December 18, 2017 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos – Translated from Mision Verdad.
CARACAS, Venezuela – China: a belt, a route
China has proposed to reactivate the Silk Road, an ancient trade route that once developed between China and the West during the Roman Empire and through which oriental silk first arrived in Europe. Through this double trade and logistics corridor for the physical distribution of energy resources and raw materials, President Xi Jinping seeks to reopen channels between China and Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
The Belt and Road Initiative (ICR) was launched in 2013 and will cover land routes (the Belt) and maritime routes (the Route) to become less dependent on the US market for its exports and improve commercial relations in the region, mainly through investments in infrastructure that seek to strengthen the Chinese economic leadership. It will provide up to 8 trillion dollars for infrastructure in 68 countries with a total population of 4.4 billion inhabitants (65% of the world population and a third of the world’s GDP), and a 30% share of the world economy. It is seven times bigger than the US Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.
The Belt covers six economic corridors: the New Eurasian Continental Bridge, the China-Mongolia-Russia corridor, the China-Central Asia-West Asia corridor, the China-Indochina Peninsula corridor, the China-Pakistan corridor and the Bangladesh-China corridor. It will also expand by sea to Latin America.
Beyond eliminating excess products, with the ICR, the Chinese government tries to migrate factory surpluses through industrial relocation to the peripheral countries along the different corridors of the Initiative. With the manufacture of high-end industrial products, they would be able to commercialize high-speed railways, power generators and telecommunications equipment.
Russia in a geostrategic rearrangement
For its part, Russia maintains a foreign policy that has been considered by various analysts as “intelligent” and has allowed it to overcome a crisis caused by the economic slowdown, the sanctions of the West and the collapse of oil prices. Its strategy is led by the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union together with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, which aims to constitute, in addition to a single common market with free movement of goods, services, capital and people, a space with a migration policy , educational and even informative.
After the annexation of Crimea, the war in the east of Ukraine and its involvement in Syria, the Kremlin pursues multiple objectives of internal stability and international presence that have gone through to stabilize its relationship with Turkey, which also allowed to consolidate its influence in the triumph against terrorist groups in Syria.
Russia reoriented its geopolitical alliances after the US designed and helped overthrow the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich and installed an ultra-rightist regime with the aim of expanding the siege. To this end, Washington and its agencies spent $5 billion to finance “programs for the dissemination of values and political training” in Ukraine, sparked a revolution of color with the takeover of Plaza Maidan and the entire process of tensions already known that led to the sanctions that, together with Europe, imposed on Moscow.
One of the objectives of its conception of foreign policy, issued in November 2016, is to strengthen Russia’s position as a predominant country in the modern world and regain its influence on the stability and security of the global democratic system. Among other specific directions are:
* Fight against the political and economic pressure of the US and its allies, which lead to global destabilization.
* Continue joint work with the European Union (EU), which continues to be an important political and economic partner for Russia.
* Continue with the objective of stabilizing the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.
* Oppose attempts to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs to achieve unconstitutional changes of power.
* Use new technologies to strengthen the position of Russian media abroad and increase the country’s IT security.
* Consider the project for the construction of a US anti-aircraft defense system as a threat to national security, which gives Russia the right to take the necessary response measures.
* To consider intolerable any attempt of pressure of the USA and to react with force to any hostile action.
* Build mutually beneficial relationships with the US.
* Strengthen Russia’s ties with Latin America and the Caribbean.
Due to Western sanctions, which have reduced the access of Russian companies to Western technology, investment and credit and the fall in the price of oil, there has been a process of economic integration and political alignment that would make the EU counterpart, with an economic space that will go from St. Petersburg to Shanghai.
The China-Russia block wins spaces with multipolar vision
Both nations share more and more the elements of a multipolar world view, privileging the importance of maintaining strong nation-states that enjoy full freedom of action at the international level.
They share criticism of Western governments and denounce what they consider a biased Western media coverage. They also denounce the foreign funding of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the use of mobilization techniques in social networks to promote instability. In 2011-2012, Putin blamed the US-sponsored NGOs for street protests in Moscow; in 2014 Beijing saw a foreign hand behind the protest movement in Hong Kong.
Recently, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has threatened China with expelling him from the international system of the US dollar if he does not support the new sanctions against North Korea, before which analyst Paul Craig Roberts has reflected that “the US Government, Bankrupt state, whose state debt exceeds 20 billion dollars, which is forced to print money to buy their own debt securities, threatens the second largest economy in the world, whose purchasing power is higher than the US economy “, this from the anticipated scenario in which a huge amount of economic transactions would come out of the dollar system and would reduce its volume and importance.
Russia and China buy more and more gold to support their economies and face the artificial value of the dollar while the countries of the Asian axis begin to trade in their own currencies, including oil, a strong blow to the petrodollar.
Latin America on the horizon
Analysts say that the very existence of the BRICS association (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa) favors the autonomy of Latin American States in the international arena and broadens their ability to maneuver in foreign policy. It is a group that occupies 29% of the world’s mainland (without counting Antarctica), 43% of the world’s population and about 27% of world GDP in terms of purchasing power parity.
During the summit held last September, the bloc has agreed to create the New Development Bank, which plans to give loans for 4 billion dollars in 2018 while offering loans to private sector projects in the medium term. It has also agreed to create a bond fund in national currencies to “help ensure the stability of investments in the Brics countries, stimulate the development of national and regional bond markets of the Brics countries, including the increase in the participation of foreign private capital and the improvement of the financial stability of the Brics countries”.
Many analysts say that if China manages to redesign the world trade map, it will create opportunities for Latin American exports to find new markets in Asia. There is also talk of a Trans-Pacific fiber optic cable to unite the two regions, while China is interested in financing tunnels, roads and railways that will help bring products from the countries of the Atlantic coast of Latin America to China and vice versa.
China’s trade and investment with Latin America grew exponentially since 2000, exports from Latin America to China increased from 5 billion dollars in 2000 to 120 billion dollars in 2012, imports also increased from China generating a total trade balance of around 230 billion dollars a year. For several of the main Latin American economies, such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru, China has replaced the US as the main trading partner, but not for investments. Critical challenge to the economic hegemony that the US has enjoyed in the region since the decline of the British empire as a result of the Second World War.
Russia’s strategic collaboration with Brazil, particularly in the framework of the Brics, as well as cooperation with Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and other states in Latin America and the Caribbean, seeks answers to new challenges and threats. The incorporation of Russian companies in the dynamic sectors of industry, energy, communications and transport in the countries of the region has been accompanied by the consolidation of ties through the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac).
The relationship with Russia’s Latin American partners (particularly Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador) took a new step after the escalation of sanctions in 2014, which restricted the importation of food products from the EU, the US, Canada, Australia and Norway Russia replaced them with supplies from Latin America and set in motion the task of making its economy more competitive and diversified by lending greater support to the development of its agricultural economy.
The estimated trade of Russia with Latin America and the Caribbean was 24 billion dollars in 2013 while China continues to displace other foreign competitors through mergers and acquisitions that have reached 102.2 billion dollars invested by the Development Bank of China (CBD) ) and the Export and Import Bank of China (Chexim) between 2005 and 2013.
It should be noted that none of the countries of the so-called Pacific Alliance, the Latin American trade bloc that currently includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, decided at the time to break relations with China even though that bloc was emerging as a close partner of the US and Glen. Its members (except Colombia) were among the countries that sought to establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), annulled by Trump last January.
As it has few positions in the Pacific due to the geographical containment barrier that Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and other places controlled by the US mean, the Chinese logic of expansion is towards the South Pacific.
The deterrence in Venezuela
Venezuela is the first Latin American destination for Chinese investments. Since 2001, almost 800 cooperation projects have been developed that have allowed the development of strategic areas such as energy, oil, education, health, technology, trade, agro-industry, agriculture, infrastructure, industry, culture and sports. By 2013, bilateral trade had increased 13 thousand 714 times, going from 1.4 million dollars in 1974 to 19 thousand 200 million dollars.
Russia has major investments in the Orinoco Oil Belt through the Rosneft company that were consolidated and will be increased after the meeting between Presidents Maduro and Putin in Moscow at the beginning of October. It would also increase agricultural cooperation through the start-up of advanced technology food processing plants.
Military cooperation involves more than 11 billion dollars in different systems of missiles, defense, land to land, land to air, artillery systems, air defense, rifles, helicopters, combat aircraft and logistics equipment. The commercial exchange between both countries reached its peak in 2013, when it reached 2 thousand 450 million dollars.
In May 2013 a confidentiality agreement allowed Rosneft to obtain geological data on the oil blocks in the Venezuelan sea for possible future exploration, with a clear intention to protect Chinese commercial interests and ensure Russian access to future oil fields and gas in Venezuela.
China and Russia dissuade the US interest in intervening more decisively in Venezuelan politics because the alliances established by the Caribbean country are vital to its geostrategic objectives. The statements from Moscow and Beijing have been clear in every aggression carried out by the US in recent years. Both governments have appealed to the sovereign resolution of conflicts and non-interference, because the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration represent a direct attack on the alliances that it maintains with the South American country. Hence, his support for the electoral process to settle the conflicts in Venezuela, under the authority of the Venezuelan State and its electoral institution, the attacked CNE.
Part of the global dispute takes place in the local territory, which allows Venezuela to play a decisive role in the reconfigurations of geopolitical dynamics in favor of the multipolar as a search for a global political balance that allows it to exercise its right to exist in a sovereign way.
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