Sunday, July 29, 2018

China expands African investment to South American influence

Quote of the Day: "There has been an abdication” of leadership by the United States … “It surrendered that role not because it lost it, but because it doesn’t wish to take it on.” - Diego Guelar, Argentina’s ambassador to China.

After seeing first hand China’s billions of dollars investment in African infrastructure, Scriber lays awake at night pondering the future of America. Here’s what I wrote after one of our trips to Africa.

From SkyIslandScriber, Feb 9, 2017. China is building electric trains connecting East African countries and state-of-the-art international airports to boost African tourism. “… the biggest star of the day was China, which designed the system, supplied the trains and imported hundreds of engineers for the six years it took to plan and build the 466-mile line. And the $4 billion cost? Chinese banks provided nearly all the financing.” … Western banks declined to help finance the nation’s glaring infrastructure needs. Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, said " …“We approached the U.S., and they didn’t have the vision,” he said. “They are not thinking ahead 30 years. They only have a vision of Africa from the past, as a continent of war and famine. The Chinese have vision.”

Now the NY Times reports on China’s growing influence in Latin America. From a Space Station in Argentina, China Expands Its Reach in Latin America. Our correspondent went to the deserts of Patagonia to examine how China secured its new base, a symbol of its growing clout in the region.

China’s military built it, but the implications are broader.

… China has been discreetly carrying out a far-reaching plan of its own across Latin America. It has vastly expanded trade, bailed out governments, built enormous infrastructure projects, strengthened military ties and locked up tremendous amounts of resources, hitching the fate of several countries in the region to its own.

… during the height of the [2008] financial crisis. Latching onto China’s voracious appetite for the region’s oil, iron, soybeans and copper ended up shielding Latin America from the worst of the global economic damage.

China has issued tens of billions of dollars in commodities-backed loans across the Americas, giving it claim over a large share of the region’s oil — including nearly 90 percent of Ecuador’s reserves — for years.

"China is positioning itself in a world that is safe for the rise of China,” [said R. Evan Ellis, a professor of Latin American studies at the United States Army War College]. “If you’re talking about the 2049 world, from the perspective of Latin America, China will have unquestionably surpassed the United States on absolute power and size. Frankly, if it was a matter of sustained conflict, you reach a point where you can’t deny the possibility of Chinese forces operating from bases in the region.”

In Argentina, the mayor of Bajada del Agrio, the closest town to the [Chinese space] station said "The United States is the one that should be most concerned, he said. The base, he said, is an “eye looking toward that country.”

Here is a quote from another SkyIslandScriber post, Donald Trump, as a strategic opportunity for China, diminishes America’s role as world leader: “America will never be great again.”

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