Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adios Panama Canal: China's Colombia Railway Plan

There is also talk of a brand new port being contemplated for Mexico's Pacific coast.
It might be time to short Long Beach.
From the International Political Economy Zone blog:
It's been a longstanding ambition of many a would-be-conquistador that may finally come true. For, here's an interesting bit of realpolitik that you may have missed of the early Chinese bird catching the Latin American worm. Among Latin American countries, Colombia is regarded as having among the best ties with the United States in recent times. Aside from the Bush-Uribe conservative rapport of years gone by, the two countries also have an FTA-in-waiting.

Yet, we also know that there's a new sheriff in the world economy spreading its largesse far and wide while attempting to win friends and influence people--the PRC. As Washington's megadeficits plunge the US into an infinite abyss, the loaded Chinese are using their coffers runneth over to this end. As it turns out, even the Colombians are hedging their bets. After all, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's probably better to catch a rising star than to be dragged down by one that's fading fast.

In this article, mooted plans to build a railway running across Panama to the Pacific stem from a number of things: First, it could well be an easier overland route for commodities to get to the Pacific, from which they journey on to China. Panama remains in the PRC's doghouse [woof-woof] for continuing to recognize the Republic of China or Taiwan as "China," and this diplomatic tussle has marred their trade relations. Second, the wily Colombians are said to be annoyed with American delays in passing the aforementioned FTA, and think pressure can be applied by appearing to side closer with the PRC. Third, on the Chinese side this time, I personally think it would be a huge blow to American prestige if a landmark infrastructure project were to be completed in the United States' backyard by the PRC. Then again, given the pathetic state of modern America, it has little choice but to sit back and watch those that can show those that can't. From TIME:
...Bogotá and Beijing are in talks to build a multi-billion-dollar railway connecting Colombia's Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Said [Colombian President Juan Manuel] Santos, in a poke at U.S. superpower self-esteem, "Asia is the new motor of the world economy..."