Geopolitics of sea crossings ... between Turkey's dream of a new canal and China's route through the Arctic
Madrid - “Al-Quds Al-Arabi”: The interruption of navigation traffic for a few days in the Suez Canal corridor during the past two weeks caused great panic in economic circles in the world due to fear of losses that may be suffered by multinational companies and some countries, including Egypt.
The incident came to highlight the extent of the importance of water crossings, whether those completed by people, such as the Suez and Panama canals, or that they are considering building, such as the Istanbul Canal or Nicaragua, and then the importance of natural crossings such as Malaga, the Strait of Gibraltar and mainly the strategic Strait of Hormuz for energy in addition to the search for alternatives, most notably China's bet on the line. Russian navy north towards Europe and Latin America.
During the last weekend of last March, the world followed how the delinquency of a giant ship "Evergreen" caused the freezing of navigation in the Suez Canal, and the bill for losses per week amounted to more than eight billion dollars in losses for international companies and 13 million dollars per day for the Egyptian economy, that is. Transit fee only. And if globalization depends on new mechanisms such as the Internet that facilitate financial operations and the exchange of information, then on the other side it means the need for speedy transportation of goods from one region to another, and here comes the role of shipping and the importance of natural sea crossings or straits or those that people have achieved such as the Panama Canal. And the Suez Canal.
Despite the high volume of air freight in the world, its role remains limited due to the high cost and the difficulty of shipping many materials such as cars and household machines
Despite the increase in the volume of air freight in the world, its role remains limited due to the high cost and the difficulty of shipping many materials such as cars and household machines. Betting is being considered again on the railway connection, and here is the huge project of the China-Europe train, which began to operate and transport goods within two weeks instead of a month and a half or two months by sea, but remains limited in effectiveness in turn due to the increasing demand for goods.
Countries continue to develop global trade by sea, and this is done through two levels, the first is purely military and the second is civil-commercial. Relation to the first level or factor, freedom of trade requires maritime security in the face of pirates, and states guard their territorial waters, while major countries, especially the United States, are responsible for protecting the seas globally. This escort means securing the interests of the United States, as it is the first commercial power in the world and is currently competing with China. This is one of the reasons that explain the presence of American bases in the world. China is now building a huge maritime fleet in the seas of the world to ensure its commercial activity from piracy and future threats to countries, especially as it will become the first global commercial power.
The second level remains the search for a maritime alternative to the current crossings, whether as a matter of security precaution, i.e. the fear of closing a crossing as a result of wars or mistakes as occurred in the Suez Canal or as a result of a natural disaster, or from the search for speed in maritime shipping to raise the export and import of what It has a link with economic growth.
In this regard, there are two projects being crystallized, the first is taking shape and supervised by China, and the second is supervised by Turkey.
China: From the Nicaragua Canal to the North Line
China began to creep towards the center of the world's first economic power and approached the removal of the United States from this position, after its success in building the largest middle class in history and many countries of the world were associated with it economically, and for this it bears the title of "the laboratory of the world." China realizes the importance of shipping to its economy and its future. In light of this, it is working on strengthening its presence at the international crossings. Its primary concern at the present time remains to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, through which 80% of China's oil needs and 30% of its oil needs pass through. .
China’s primary concern at the present time remains ensuring freedom of navigation in the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, through which 80% of China's oil needs pass.
As part of its alternative projects, China studied between 2013 and 2017 the possibility of digging the Nicaragua Canal to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and converting the canal into an alternative to the Panama Canal. Works stopped and the project was abandoned, and there are two interpretations, the first because of earthquakes in the region, and the second is what is rumored about Washington informing Beijing that it will not allow it to build a canal on the outskirts of its borders and will work to colonize Nicaragua. If China had succeeded in constructing the canal, especially after Russia showed its material and logistical support for the project, it would have been a real turning point in world history because it inaugurates the Chinese era not in the Asian continent but in the heart of the American continent.
During the year 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed on several occasions that his country wanted to establish and strengthen a new sea route for global navigation, taking advantage of the melting ice in the Arctic due to the current climate changes. The line will allow sailing from Southeast Asia, passing through Japan, China, Russia, then Finland and Norway, and heading towards the European Union, the United States, and even Latin America.
Climate studies show how ice melt has worsened in recent years in a way that has not happened during the whole of the past century. The retreat of ice will allow longer periods of time during the year for sailing, in addition to Russia's development of icebreakers that work around the clock to ensure the sea line throughout the year. And if it is possible to sail from China to northern Europe between June and October of each year, during the last year the time period has become between May 2020 to February 2021, where there is a stop for only two months thanks to the sweepers and melting snow. Russia’s aspirations meet with China on the northern route, which is why Beijing is contributing to the financing of nuclear-powered icebreakers. On the one hand, Russia will take advantage of
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