BY FRED REED
In big-chunk terms, in the world today we see a contest between the Chinese economy and the American military, between Chinese dynamism and American coercion. Sure, China has a military and the US has an economy. Yet the emphasis, and spirit are as described.
The United States gives priority to the military over civilian economy, with military spending increasing at the expense of internal infrastructure and social needs. By contrast, China focuses on infrastructure within and trade without. I wonder whether Americans are aware of the extent of this. And its likely consequences.
To read the Asian-based press—Asia Times, Nikkei Asia, the South China Morning Post, the Global Times, and various tech sites—is to see a constant stream of infrastructure projects in China and advancing trade outside. As perhaps many know China promotes the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive program to connect all of Eurasia, as well as Africa and Latin America in a huge trade zone connected by rail, highways, fiber optics, maritime links, and commercial treaties. If completed it will dwarf the United States.
China, a rising technological center, leads the world in civil engineering, manufacturing, Five G, trade, and clearly intends to maintain the lead. All power ultimately rests on economic power. Below a few news stories more or less randomly chosen from around the web. Can you think of American equivalents?
China Mandalay Rail Line
“New international railway route from Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality to Mandalay, southern Myanmar, has officially started operation, with the first freight train departing from Chongqing on Monday, which will arrive in Mandalay about 20 days earlier than what it takes on traditional routes.”The port will also further connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative and increase Chinese influence in Myanmar. Key word: Trade.
America leads in phenomenally expensive aircraft carriers with serious developmental problems and no particular purpose. Google “Ford class carriers.”
“China’s high-speed rail network hit the 40,000-kilometer mark by the end of 2021, reaching out to 93 percent of domestic cities with a population of over 500,000, An Lusheng, deputy head of National Railway Administration, said on Friday. This comes as the country ramps up a push to build itself into a transportation power.”
Fast, pervasive transportation greatly facilitates almost everything. Beijing has said it will have 30,000 miles in a few years. key words: manufacturing, trade, connectivity.
“The first China-Russia highway bridge, which stretches from Heihe, a border city in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk spanning the Heilongjiang River, opened to traffic on Friday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported. It will open a new international highway that will boost the connectivity between cities in China and Russia.“ A few days ago. Here we have more of China’s program to tie all of Eurasia into one interconnected web. Note that it says the “first” bridge. Key words: Trade, connectivity.
China plans new high-volume space-launch facility
“The new Ningbo spaceport, the nation’s fifth such facility, will give a crucial lift to Beijing’s new space programs as its rivalry with the United States reaches space. The spaceport is said to be tailor-made for Chinese commercial aerospace manufacturers and service providers to one day wrest business and foreign orders from US rivals.”
Typical China. Planning five years in advance. If this follows the country’s pattern, construction will begin and continue without interruption until completed. Keyword: Commercial.
America leads world in overpriced fighter aircraft with history of unending engineering problems. Google “F-35.”
“Cargo carried via New Land-Sea Corridor in western China grows 38% in Jan-May”
“With the RCEP coming into effect, the corridor has played a bigger role in boosting trade between China and ASEAN. On April 8, four trains left Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, carrying aluminum products, agricultural equipment, industrial equipment, chemicals and food to Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia
The RCEP, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is a vast commercial agreement among whose members are all of ASEAN, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and China.”
Key word: Trade.
Multi-functional modular seabed trencher developed by a Chinese firm has recently completed 100 kilometers of pipelines construction in “Bangladesh’s first marine pipeline project, setting two world records in directional drilling and deep trenching.”
My knowledge of pipeline trenching would be zero even after three cups of coffee and a hearty breakfast. I note, though that it is in Bangladesh: More connection of China and everywhere else. It also sounds like good engineering. Key words: Trade, connectivity.
“The CKU Railways will create significant trade opportunities for Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan while linking China directly to the Middle East via Rail, with spin off benefits throughout the region.”
China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan will be tied more into the Central Asian ecosystem. Construction begins next year. Key words: Trade, connectivity.
America is unchallenged in funny-looking Batplane intercontinental nuclear bomber costing, says Aviation Week, $640 million a copy as America prepares to fill intense world demand for nuclear war. Google “B-21.”
The China-Laos Railway: Yunnan to Vientiane by Bullet Train
Written by Coco Yang Updated Feb. 11, 2022
On December 3rd 2021, the 1,035-km (643-mile) China-Laos Railway was fully opened making possible a bullet train journey of only 10 hours from Kunming to Vientiane, capital of Laos. Key word: Trade.
China-Europe freight train trips top 50,000, yearly growth of 55% from 2016 to 2021
“The value of goods transported by the cargo service skyrocketed to $74.9 billion in 2021, up from $8 billion dollars in 2016, and its share in total trade between China and Europe has increased from 1.5 to 8 percent, according to the release China State Railway Group sent to the Global Times.” America will probably try to block this traffic because it goes through Russia. Again, coercion over competition. Key word: Trade, connectivity.
Proposed US military budget: $857 billion. Keywords: Profits, stupidity.
China Hosts over Sixty Percent of World’s Five G Base Stations
“China had set up a total of nearly 1.43 million 5G base stations as of the end of 2021….”
And many more this year. As can be found by browsing tech sites, China leads in Five G patents, installed base, technology, and manufacturing capacity. Keywords: Trade, manufacturing.
Many millions of Americans can’t read, a hundred thousand a year die of opioid overdoses, the economy is a trainwreck, and despair grows, but the Pentagon has Space Command to give America “Total Spectrum Dominance,” which presumably will pay our mortgages.
China’s digital yuan extends usage into finance scenarios
“SHANGHAI, June 17 (Reuters) – China’s digital yuan can now be used to buy wealth management products, pay for insurance policies, and extend bank loans, as the central bank further expands e-CNY’s application beyond retail shopping, though still only in pilot schemes.”
China is the world’s leading major country in digital currency. Beijing is low-key about it but implications for global finance worry the US. Keywords: Money, connectivity.
US leads world in pricey, unnecessary but glamorous and profitable nuclear-missile submarines. Google “Columbia class submarines.”
China moves toward STEM leadership
Worth reading. “American” prowess in technology increasingly rests on East Asian and Indian scientists and engineers as the US destroys its schools to further inclusiveness. Keywords: Abject, stupidity.
“Value of China-Vietnam Cross-border Freight Trains More Than Triples in Q1”
US has both largest military budget and largest number of citizens living on sidewalks.
China leader in supercomputers: “As of June 2021, 188 of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers were located in China, a figure which is a third more than that of its nearest competitor, the United States, which accounted for an additional 122 supercomputers. Together, the two nations account for around 60 percent of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.”
This needs to be read with caution. How the two stack up in aggregate computing power, whatever that means, I don’t know. The US just announced the first exascale computer at Oak Ridge. The Sunway Oceanlight from China is on many websites said to be exascale, but isn’t quite. The important point is that it is entirely of Chinese design from architecture to chips, using silicon of Chinese design and manufacture. It is remarkable that China can manage this in the face of American attempts to strangle the country technologically.
China Launches World’s Largest container Ship
A gorgeous monster. Check photo. China also has seven of the world’s largest cargo ports. Keyword: Trade
Trade deficit with China. Boring but worth a glance.
“During 2021, the United States exported $151,065,200,000 in products to China, but then imported $506,366,900,000 in products from China, resulting in $657,432,100,000 in total trade between the two countries–and a $355,301,700,000 deficit for the United States.”
Keyword: Can you guess?
Read Fred’s Books! Or else. We know where you sleep.
FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”
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