Another canal

Ludwig von Gress


Or another red herring? The trouble is that with China even her red herrings are not what they appear to be. The chinese are the inventors of “brainwashing” and the masters of mind manipulation, though today their mastery, given the low intellectual level and Marxist leanings of the Western media, is largely superfluous.

A few months ago an item appeared in the Financial Times, to the effect that the Communist China is planning to build a 220 km railway link in Columbia, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for the purpose of trade. One look at the map will show that the 220 km straight line would get a wagon from one side of Columbia to the other, at the extreme north-west, Medelin corner, but that there are no ports of any significance. These therefore would have to be built also. There would not seem to be any benefit to Columbians, as the workforce would be, as is the Chinese practice, imported from China. So would the necessary security force, in other words the People’s Liberation Army, possibly in slightly different, tropical uniforms.

In theory Columbia could be receiving royalties, but those would be either on the usual never-never basis, or paid in reject Che Guevara T-shirts and melamine-ridden milk powder. China does not believe in the chimera of a level playing field, especially not where it could slow down her colonial ambitions. Already during the construction, China would acquire invaluable strategic assets, giving her an ability to choke North America – South America land transport; and later two ports within relatively short steaming distance from United States mainland, both east and west.

Another good news, for China only, is that Daniel Ortega and his socialist Sandinistas’ government approved a plan for China to build a canal to link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans via Nicaragua. When completed in twelve years time it will directly compete with the, more or less US controlled, Panama Canal.

The idea of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama goes back to 1543 and to Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, who thought that his navy’s speedier voyages between Spain and Peru would provide military poke in the eye of Portugal. Much later, in 1793 a certain Alessandro Malaspina drew plans for its constructions. The French tried to dig between 1881 and 1890, when they gave up, after loosing 22,000 workers to malaria, and $287 million. Next, in 1903, came the United States – see Nothing New Under the Sun of 28th June. First ships came through in 1914.

In September 1977 one of the most hopeless American presidents, Jimmy Carter signed an agreement, which, on 31st December 1999 gave control of the Canal to the Panamanian Government. TheTorrijos-CarterTreaty (Omar Torrijos Herrera being the self-promoted Commander of the Guardia Nacional, perhaps better known as “Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution” and “Supreme Chief of Government”. Should you guess Leftist, you would not be wrong) luckily retained some US military presence in The Canal Zone. It was left to George H W Bush in December 1989 to send in the Marines and wrestle the control back. At the time the Panamanian rulers were increasingly under the influence of Cuba, China and Libya, but the official pretext for the invasion was to get rid of the drug lord President Noriega. Noriega and the Chinese lost. By the way – it was called the Operation Just Cause.

Even with Obama helpless or conniving, the Chinese politburo obviously decided that another attempt to control Panama Canal should be postponed, and that in the meantime they could have one of their own. Obama might not be there for ever, and a future possibility of a real American president cannot be ruled out.

The Chinese Canal is to take twelve years to complete, involves digging out 300 km long watercourse and is expected to cost $40 billion. China got a modest 100-year-lease. The Nicaraguan Congress was given only a few days to think it over, for an appearance sake; since the Ortega’s gang enthusiastically voted for it. One can almost guarantee that the totally corrupt environmental movement will not even peep about the likelihood of the contamination of the two enormous freshwater lakes, Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua, which are to be a significant part of the waterway. Neither they will mention the inconvenient fact that China obviously does not believe the computer predictions that in the foreseeable future the anthropogenic global warming will lead to the melting of Arctic ice and opening of the North-West Passage.

I suspect that the economic considerations are secondary. China cannot expect that North America would be consuming their toys, clothing and other rubbish for ever; and, in any case, the USA is running out of credit. The talk about the new canal allowing the transit of vessels of up to 250,000 tonnes (double of Panamax) is all very nice and “visionary”, but undoubtedly based on some “hockey stick” computer modelling. Forty billion is a lot of money even in today’s world’s casino economy and the Chinese may not have it. For comparison – the proposed doubling (paralleling) of sea-locks in Panama is to cost mere $5 billion. The doubling of Panama Canal capacity would make the financial return on the Chinese investment somewhat doubtful.

The tactical and strategic value of the proposed Nicaraguan canal is entirely a different kettle of won-ton. Tactically it is a poke to the eye of America, which definitely does not need another one at this stage. Under Obama it is unlikely to deal with the potential military threat in a decisive and effective manner.

Strategically it brings the People’s Liberation Army and its missiles within 1,600 km of United States, and PLA Navy to the doorsteps. Coincidentally, it will to some extent sideline the Russian Navy ports in Venezuela. China protects its mines, infrastructure and perceived interests in the disorganised and militarily ineffective Sub-Saharan Africa with its by now well trained colonial troops, so one shudders what it will do in the volatile and literate Central America.

Additionally, the Canal will provide another choke-point, north of Panama, between the Americas. And with Chinese boots on the ground, all the socialist dictators in South America will feel more secure. Win-win for the Marxists everywhere, perhaps even those in the White House.

About Ludwig von Gress

Born in communist Europe, interested in defence matters on a macro scale, with a cavalry “devil may care spirit” from his grandfather and cautious effectiveness of asymmetric warfare approach from his guerilla father. He sometimes despairs that he may be the only one taking the defence of Australia seriously.
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2 Responses to Another canal

  1. Tim Howard says:

    40 billion is a piddling amount of money. If it goes ahead, it will cost 80 billion at least.

  2. Dao Ling says:

    China needs her military in Americas in order to protects her commercial and political interests.

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