South America In The Emerging Multipolar World Order
The New Silk Road:
China is moving forward with its plans to construct the first-ever Trans-Oceanic Railroad (TORR) between the continent’s Brazilian Atlantic port of Santos and its Peruvian Pacific counterpart of Ilo, and it’s envisaged that this project will form the backbone for South America’s geopolitical future in the emerging Multipolar World Order. The continent is separated from Afro-Eurasia by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, thus diminishing the immediate priority that the multipolar engines of Russia and China have given to this landmass. It’s true that Brazil is the only Western Hemispheric member of BRICS and that this has provided a new impetus of sorts to Moscow and Beijing’s engagement with Brasilia, but the geographic distances that separate the South American state from its Eurasian counterparts will always remain an obstacle to closer commercial relations. Russia doesn’t have the capacity to satisfy Brazil’s economic expectations in this regard, but China is a completely different story and is much better attuned to embrace new partners in this sector.
China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) vision, popularly referred to as the New Silk Road, is a game-changing policy of global infrastructure investments designed to tie the rest of the world closer to the Chinese economy, thus opening up new markets for all of the connected countries. This is especially important for China as it seeks new partners for purchasing the extra goods that are produced as a result of its burgeoning overcapacity. China’s dilemma is that its historically rapid industrialization over the past 30 years has been almost too successful in the sense that the entire country’s stability would be shaken if this process slows down or disastrously reverses its momentum. The People’s Republic cannot afford the wide-ranging social discontent that could explode into Color Revolutions or worse in the event that millions of Chinese are out of work and unemployed in the world’s largest megacities. Therefore, China is compelled to sustain production at its standard levels as the most stable way of riding out the global economic crisis, expecting that the new trade routes which open up in the coming years as part of the OBOR project will compensate for any added overcapacity that inadvertently results during this time.
The Philippine Breakout And “America’s South China Sea”:
It’s a risky gamble, and one which could dramatically backfire against China if OBOR is completely sabotaged, hence why the US is targeting its weakest links with Hybrid Wars. South America figures into this grand equation by being both the furthest-away raw material supplier to the Chinese economy as well as its most distant marketplace. China can only access South America and the rest of Latin America more broadly via maritime trading routes, which is why it’s so important for China to maintain and expand its merchant marine fleet and ensure its Sea Lines Of Communication (SLOC). From the reverse angle, the US wants to contain China as much as it can through the narrowing of East Asian maritime chokepoints in order to put pressure on Beijing in the event of a future conflict or run-up thereof, which explains why it’s working hand-in-hand with Japan in militarizing the East China Sea’s Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. The thinking goes that if China can be ‘fenced’ into this waterway, then Beijing’s trade with the Western Hemisphere could conceivably suffer during tense times just as its maritime commercial dealings with the EU and Africa could be affected via the tightening of the ‘Chinese Containment Coalition’ noose in the South China Sea.
For as theoretically ‘brilliant’ of a plan as it may appear to be on paper, this strategy is inherently flawed because it never accommodated for any of the ASEAN states’ possible pro-Chinese geopolitical pivots, such as the one which the Philippines’ Duterte masterfully carried out immediately after coming into office. As a result of this watershed event, China has broken through the ‘first island chain’ of the US’ containment bloc in Asia and thus has more secure maritime access to both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In pertinence to this study, Chinese grand planners can now move forward with their ultimate goal of turning Latin America into a gigantic ‘forward operating base’ for strategically countering and containing the US by ‘island hopping’ across the SLOC in the tiny Pacific countries all the way to the US’ ‘backyard’. The long-term ambition has always been to mirror the US’ moves in a similar way as a player of the ancient Chinese game of “go” does to their opponent, which in this sense translates to China turning the Caribbean into ‘America’s South China Sea’ by using the Nicaraguan Canal and existing economic-strategic relations in the hemisphere to facilitate a robust full-spectrum Chinese presence sometime in the future right on the US’ doorstep.
Tormenting The US With TORR:
The inseparable Central American/Caribbean component of this paradigm-changing policy is dependent on the successes that China makes in its complementary South American half, ergo why the landmass is the focus of this book. The Transoceanic Railroad (TORR), also called the Twin Ocean or Trans-Oceanic Railroad, is China’s number one New Silk Road investment in the southern portion of the supercontinent, and it has the exciting potential to fundamentally rewire South America’s geopolitics in the decisive direction of multipolarity. The project is essentially the first-ever transcontinental railroad in this part of the world and aims to connect Brazil’s megacity of Sao Paolo to the tiny Peruvian coastal port of Ilo by means of Bolivia. The original plans called for it to follow the route of the Interoceanic Highway through the Brazilian highlands and western Amazonia all the way to the Peruvian Andes, but the modified version currently being discussed has decided to streamline the geographically circuitous route and go directly through Bolivia. While being a wise economical choice, this dangerously makes the project’s viability largely dependent on the stability of the Bolivian transit state, which as will be explained later on in the work, is exceptionally vulnerable to American-provoked Hybrid Wars along the same style as those which have wreaked such havoc in Eastern Hemispheric states such as Syria and Ukraine.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a map of the Interoceanic Highway:
Now here’s the route that TORR was originally supposed to take (note that it was supposed to begin near Rio de Janeiro and not Sao Paolo):
And now here’s what experts say that the TORR will now look like if all goes according to the latest plans:
What’s most important to pay attention to is that Sao Paolo is once again the terminal point for the project, and that there are also now plans to expand this infrastructural spine southwards into the rest of the continent’s Southern Cone (i.e. Argentina and Chile) This could substantially deepen the integration between all of the partner countries, which would also saliently result in the de-facto logistical merging of Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance. These two blocs and the American-provoked competition between them will be elaborated on in depth in the final chapter of the book, but at this point it’s enough for the reader to realize that their rivalry could be productively overcome in a multipolar fashion through China’s groundbreaking economic corridor that it’s spearheading with TORR. South American raw materials (lithium, energy, forestry products, minerals, etc.), agricultural resources, and various industrial products would flow towards Asia at the same time as Chinese finished goods would enter the southern landmass, thus initiating a win-win arrangement for all of the parties involved.
On the flip side, however, if the US could acquire control of each of the countries along this route, then it would be in a prime position to tighten its hold over South America and move the progressively unifying continent in the direction of unipolar servitude, ergo the heightened importance attached to Bolivia in the present day. The US would also be able to disrupt trade along this route if it ever felt threatened by the influx of Chinese economic influence in its ‘backyard’, though it would probably run up against vocal opposition from its ‘partners’ because they’d assuredly end up losing out on what would foreseeably have been a mutually productive trading relationship. To summarize it all, the US is tormented by the thought that TORR could quickly create an uncontrollable avenue for Chinese influence to seep into South America and push the People’s Republic from the continent’s second-largest trading partner to its top one (with all of the resultant strategic benefits that comes with it), which thus motivates Washington’s “deep state” apparatus (the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) to take proactive steps to prevent this scenario from happening, ergo the attractiveness of Hybrid War.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.