China to build railway to Pakistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by bullet_catcher, Jul 7, 2010.

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  1. It's part of a plan to spread the jam a bit more evenly. The coastal regions have got rich gloriously while the hinterland worked its arrse off to keep them fed and watered.

    Now that development's really taken off there, they're focussing the efforts on the interior so that investors and foreign manufacturers already in China will find it cheaper and easier to relocate within the country than start from scratch elsewhere. As the theory goes, all they need to do is create the same levels of education and infrastructure as before and market forces will do the rest.
  2. Ah, now I understand, thank you. Methinks we could do with that formula here.
  3. I'd generally agree, but with the proviso that we go into it with our eyes open. When you have a core of smart, educated and fairly enlightened technocrats running things then a benevolent despotry works pretty well. It's certainly far more efficient and responsive than a traditional democracy could ever be. The downside is that there's no check against abuse short of public disorder that doesn't rely on the goodwill of the rulers and their associates.

    It's the same arguments for and against any elitist system, I guess.
  4. Trans-sane

    Trans-sane LE Book Reviewer

    I'm pulling the quote out of the deepest recesses of my conscious mind but I believe Winston Churchill described deomcrasy as "The worst form of government appart from those other forms of government that have been tried from time to time".

    Frankly China scares me with the speed at which it has become so damn powerful. Just as well that violent expansionism has been so noteably linked to China by its absence for the last several centuries. Even when China WAS last outwardly looking (that I know of...) in the early 1400s under Zhu Di (I think. Zeng He was his Admiral in chief), they were primarily cultural and economic rather than as conquistadors.
  5. China is a nation that thinks strategically, they build railways not to improve the economies of their neighbours and border provinces, they build them to move troops and materiel. Thats why they've built a very expensive railway to unstable Tibet, using thinly disguised troops to do so. Militant islamism is growing amongst Chinas huge moslem population, they will do something about that. They will root it out and where are the roots.

    Feudal imperial and National Socialist Germany also planned infrastructure around military strategy. The German rail network expanded fast before WW1 and the German road network before WW2.

    Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
  6. The Yongle Emperor wasn't really that interested in external affairs except in the sense of fighting off the Mongols. One of He's biggest gripes, according to the memoirs that survived, was that when he got back from his final voyage nobody remembered who he was! It wasn't that important to the Emperor or his officials what he'd done.

    If it puts your mind at rest, China's only just coming back to where it stood in the world economy at the beginning of the 20th Century and it's still a fraction of where it was at the beginning of the 19th. The OECD has an interesting chart which explains a lot about why so many people were so keen to get a foothold in China trade in the first place.

    It isn't really a fast rise, more a long-delayed recovery. It's not really surprising that they're bouncing back when you remember that the basic component of a nation's wealth is its people.
  7. I honestly don't know where to begin, you're wrong on so many levels. Just plain wrong.

    The Qinghai-Tibet railroad is about moving raw materials out of Tibet and finished good in. It's no more about military purpose than the West Highland line was. The security forces can reinforce the kinds of troops needed by air far more quickly than by rail and heavy armour has limited use in that terrain.

    They didn't 'thinly disguise' PLA involvement in the construction any more than America tries to hide the US Army Corp of Engineers on the Mississippi. It routinely gets involved in large scale construction because it has a lot of concentrated engineering expertise. They're proud of it and advertise their involvement.

    Militant Islam is a pretty minor factor in China and a drop in the ocean compared to inter-ethnic strife. Not even Uighur separatists subscribe to anything like Wahabbism and are more than happy to ethnically cleanse their co-religionists like the Hui. The Muslim population may be huge in absolute numbers, as is pretty much everything in China, but it's less than 2% of the total population.

    Infrastructure planning in China is planned around economic and social development, unlike Germany. The Germans had easily-accessible neighbours in pretty much every direction; China has mountains, desert and ocean in three directions including the one Pakistan is in. Railways can't fly tanks over mountains and roads are of limited use in shifting sands.

    "It's the economy, stupid".
  8. udipur

    udipur LE Book Reviewer

    Besides, why go to war and lose lots of your own folk, which will financially throttle both sides, when you can just beat the buggers economically?

    China plays a far longer game than the rest of the developed countries and we are paying the price.
  9. You're talking out of your back bottom, economics runs from economy and economy comes from scale, China and Pakistan both have good deep water harbours. Raw materials and finished products move cheapest by sea in bulk carriers, no need to build bridges, no need to tunnel, no need to build on all that tricksie permafrost, low overheads.

    The Tibet railway was about colonial settlement of Han Chinese in the region, to make China's claim concrete. The regions unpopularity with loyal chinese lies in its remoteness. No one likes being out on a limb surrounded by rabid Buddhist pacifists. How many train loads of rancid Yak butter and squeaky prayer wheels do you think Beijing really needs?

    Pray tell me now what raw materials do the Pakistanis have which are so important to the empire of the middle and what finished products does China wish to sell in the ever so opulent cash rich markets of Pakistan?

    2% of chinese profess openly to be moslem, in an agressively atheist society that's quite a lot. I wonder how many moslems prefer the quiet life at present. Since the chinese moslems live mainly in the north and west, in sparsely occupied territory by chinese standards, how would the map of China look if they all went Cat Stevens tomorrow.

    Railways move tanks through mountains, no risky landings, no risky troopships. And there are enough functioning railways in use which were built on shifting sands. We should know, we built most of them. Much of the allied effort in Korea and in Vietnam and a huge proportion of the allied aircraft losses in both wars can be put down to the need of the allies to destroy the rail links to China. Mao won China because he had a road to Burmah and the Burmese oil. The Japanese effort to build the Burmese railway was all about getting at that oil. They didn't succeed, my uncle Jack and an upstart called Wingate saw to that. Perhaps they should have considered building it before the war began.


    P.S. Who do you think the US is going to attack via the Mississippi?
  10. Look at a map, the deep water ports in Pakistan are closer to much of China than the deep water ports in China, improving the west of China can be done best by linking it to Pakistani ports. Also, sea may be cheap per mile but the distance between the Pakistani ports and the Chinese one is large and there are plenty of places in the world that are much closer to the Pakistani ports than the Chinese ones.

    There already have been mentions of Chinese involvement in Afghan minerals, and a railway through Pakistan is probably the best way to get them to China. I expect there are other minerals in Pakistan that China wants.

    Economic colonisation is just as important as military. Improving the Tibetan economy makes the people happier to be part of China and so reduces the military problems. The railway is of no direct use to the military, but it does improve the economy. Your references to railways in past wars are of little relevance to counter insurgency, which is all we are talking about in Tibet.
  11. So what your saying is that China need Pakistans ports. The aquisition of harbours is a traditional reason for war, read about the russian expansion. China is heavily involved in African minerals at present. All weather harbours facing Africa would look really neat on their map. the colonial British fisticuffs in Afghanistan with Elphy Bey's dropped bollock, was all about stopping the Russians who had the same goal. The problem is that once you have a wonderful new national lifeline, others might want to mess with it. Millions of Pakistanis for example. The security of lifelines is another good reason for war, Suez for example, the Japanese Russian war, the failed Vietnamese attack on China. China is in a phase of expansion, imperialist expansion, this will mean war.

    No prophet has ever been condemned in the long term, for predicting a war, because they've always been right. If you can't see it, then three cheers for Mr Chamberlaine is all I will say.
  12. Earlier in the week the Thai press where reporting a revival of the plan to take the State Railway up to Chiang Rai and then on to the Lao Border, all to do with trade with China. The old 'Normal' route the River Mekong being shallow and not capable of taking large boats on the upper reaches.
    Britain looked at a Burma Thai railway before the war but reckoned it was not practical or economic and the jap one was quickly removed post war.

  13. This was in the Post and the Nation at least every other week when I was in Thailand over the European winter.

    Construction of a road north from Chiang Rai through Laos to China must be fairly advanced by now.
  14. The Chinese are also in the process of constructing deep water ports in Burma/Myanmar,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in addition to Pakistan.Eventually the PLA-N(People's Liberation Army-Navy) will have access to these ports and are likely to establish a Indian Ocean fleet.