CLARIN

Argentina Looks For Its 'Niche' in China's Trading Empire

Argentina must discern and deftly negotiate for its national interests in the rising, global trading order dominated by China.

Facing China's 'Belt and Road Initiative', a.k.a. 'the new silk road'
Facing China's "Belt and Road Initiative", a.k.a. "the new silk road"
Carlos Ruckauf

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Countries have reacted individually to the spectacular progression of China's global trading plan, colloquially called the "new silk road" but officially titled the "Belt and Road Initiative".

Greece has given its approval by placing the port of Piraeus in the hands of COSCO, China's state shipping firm. It turned the port of Athens into an entry point for supersized container ships arriving from Asia to drop off goods for the European market. Trieste in Italy is becoming a similar gateway to and from central Europe.

Impoverished Africa is receiving Chinese investments with glee. India wants to make a deal that will not subordinate it to China and that will keep options open with the United States. The four-year Trump presidency alienated the United States from its allies and left a gap that communist China has filled without hesitation. President Joe Biden's new administration is expected to handle the two countries' ties more rationally, which will allow trading pacts instead of spats, despite their enduring and logical rivalries.

In Latin America, governments of differing political hues — such as Peru, Chile and Cuba — view the Belt and Road Initiative as an opportunity.

In Latin America, governments of differing political hues view the Belt and Road Initiative as an opportunity.

To analyze Argentina's present and future relationship with the People's Republic, we need to understand what it wants from us and above all, what we want from China. Understanding a superpower's objectives can be a complex task, requiring time, specialized knowledge and absence of ideological preconceptions for or against it.

From that perspective, the government's decision to remove our ambassador in Beijing (Luis María Kreckler) last December was bad news. In inter-state relations, it is important not to fall in love with the host country, as passion can blind rationality. As one of our presidents, Arturo Illia, observed in the 1960s, saying "offer" instead of "sell" does nothing to enhance the reality of a situation. A succession of Chinese leaders from Mao to Deng Xiaoping has built a centralized economic system that has yielded exponential growth using a mix of free-market, guided capitalism and efficient state-sector firms.

For over a decade now, GDP growth, farming reforms, an emergent middle class and enterprising capitalists and financiers have all helped the current president, Xi Jinping, and his team to build towards the Belt and Road Initiative.

With an enormous financial outlay, China has created firms (private, public and mixed) designed to operate key ports and participate in building road and energy infrastructures around the world.

Agreeing on the terms of exchange is of crucial importance.

The expansion and, where possible, control of a significant part of the world's trade have been objectives of several historical powers like Great Britain, Spain, Portugal or the United States. The Asiatic superpower wants the same thing today.

For us, as in other times in our history, agreeing on the terms of exchange is of crucial importance. As an example: The world's great powers (China, the United States and the European Union) will want our lithium. We should seek agreements to make electrical batteries and vehicles here, to benefit our workforce and national firms. The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte warned that "the world will tremble when China awakes." Fortunately, the conflict China will provoke is merely commercial, though still of the utmost importance. As always, we are the ones who must decide what is in the best interests of our nation.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Russia

Trying To Gauge Russian Ambitions? Look How Nervous Its Nordic Neighbors Are

The eyes of the world are on the Russian-Ukrainian border as Putin threatens an invasion. However, the more vital stage of the Kremlin’s military ambitions is the Baltic Sea, where the likes of bordering countries like Finland and Sweden are mobilizing troops as Moscow tries to undermine the allegiance of the EU and former Soviet states.

A military from the Swedish Armed Forces

While tensions between the U.S and Russia mount with the Kremlin gathering troops at the border of Ukraine, countries farther north are preparing for the worst.

In Sweden, Dagens Nyheter reports that the country of 10 million people deployed armored vehicles and 100 soldiers to patrol streets on the island of Gotland on Friday in response to Russian landing ships sailing into the Baltic Sea. Even if the Swedish Armed Forces announced soon after that the ships were leaving, serious questions about Russia's military ambitions remain.

Keep reading... Show less
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ