The challenge to Anglo-Saxon thalassocracy and the Chinese hegemonic attempt


In the global geopolitical context of recent years, the rise of China has been something truly surprising. In thirty years or a little more, Beijing has become not only the second world economic power (first, actually, if we consider GDP at purchasing power parity-GDP PPP) but also the first trading partner of most of the nations of the world (including the USA and the EU, formally its geopolitical rivals). China has been able to create a real commercial empire which, in terms of type and extension, is very reminiscent of the Portuguese empire . That is, an empire made up of commercial ports and territorial bases, mostly coastal, capable of guaranteeing safe docking for the ships of its fleet. This is evident mainly on the Asian and African coasts of the Indian Ocean (along the most important trade route in the world) where Beijing has invested enormous sums to buy, in whole or in part, the most important maritime commercial ports in the area creating the so-called Chinese “pearl necklace”. All this falls within the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (or New Silk Road). Project with which Beijing aims to cement its trade relations with the European Union (even in Europe China has invested large sums for the control of the most important maritime ports such as Rotterdam and Piraeus). The EU-China trade amounts to to around 700 billion dollars (constantly increasing over the last 5 years). China therefore has a greater economic weight for Europe than that of the USA (trade equal to approximately 680 billion dollars) to which Europe has been linked by a military alliance, NATO, since the end of the Second World War. All this raises questions about the development of China’s relations with the EU. In fact, in the last two years the Asian giant’s interaction with Europe has suffered a serious blow due to the US’s aggression towards Beijing. This was evident not only in the South China Sea where the USA strengthened the presence of its military fleet and reiterated its support for the Taiwanese government in its firm opposition to rejoining the People’s Republic but also in the geopolitical context ( and geoeconomic) European where the project of the new terrestrial Silk Road suffered a bad setback due to the war in Ukraine (transit area of ​​Chinese goods towards Europe). On the other hand, these are only the latest acts of a policy of containment of the growing Chinese power by Washington which came to life in 2007 with the formation of the QUAD alliance or a military partnership between the USA, Japan, Australia and India aimed at countering and containing Beijing’s rise in the region (with the latter, however, despite being formally a geopolitical rival of China in the region, it is getting ever closer to the people’s republic due to the very strong increase in commercial exchange between the two countries and its military and economic alliance with Moscow) and has continued up to the present day by promoting a regional alliance of countries hostile to Beijing and its expansion. In addition to Taiwan obviously, it also includes the Philippines and Japan. Everything indicates, therefore, that Beijing, from a Western perspective, has “crossed the Rubicon” and is on the verge of subverting the world order as we have known it since the collapse of the USSR up to the present day.


Over the last decade, Beijing has established privileged relations with Russia, giving rise to a military and geostrategic partnership with truly worrying implications for the Anglo-Saxon bloc. On the one hand this has allowed China to modernize its army and its military equipment (acquiring Russian military technology and know-how). On the other it has allowed Beijing to have on its side the largest supplier of raw materials in the world guaranteeing its powerful industrial apparatus secure supplies, by land, which could not be threatened in the event of a possible naval blockade against the people’s republic by the Anglo-Saxon fleet. The two powers appear to be completely complementary and their geopolitical, geoeconomic and geostrategic vision of the world is almost completely identical. The alliance with Moscow has proven to be the decisive geopolitical element for Beijing, without which its hegemonic attempt would be doomed to failure. It remains to be understood how relations, economic and otherwise, will evolve with the Western bloc which, it seems, has launched an aggressive policy of containment of Chinese expansionism (and its Russian ally). And that’s no small thing. Given that China represents the first trading partner of both the EU and the USA. The geopolitical and geostrategic framework that is taking shape in the South China Sea (on the one hand with the decisive strengthening of the presence of the US fleet in the area and on the other with the increase in supplies of Western weapons to Taiwan with an anti-Chinese function) conflicts in completely, in our opinion, with the development of the commercial partnership between China and the West. The enormous increase in Chinese military spending in the last ten years and the construction of the largest military fleet in the world also warns us of this.  


China’s commitment to controlling its commercial seaports has led Beijing to build the largest military fleet in the world. For some years it has surpassed, in numerical terms, even that of the USA (400 Chinese naval units compared to 355 of the USA) and includes three operational aircraft carriers (which allows Beijing to carry out military interventions well beyond the border of its own waters territorial). Although we believe that from a technological-qualitative point of view the military fleet is still behind that of the USA, it is undeniable that it has made giant strides in this sense and at this rate, also with the technological support of Moscow, it can put an end to the Anglo-Saxon thalassocracy. It is to be hoped that this will not happen with a direct conflict between the great powers but it is not excluded that this could happen. On the other hand, it is not plausible that the USA, the current hegemonic power, can watch the growth of the challenger power without batting an eyelid. This has historically never happened. And we don’t believe it can happen today. It will be necessary to see whether the conflict will also actively involve Europe (which finds itself in the controversial position of being Beijing’s largest commercial partner and at the same time in the largest military alliance in the world, NATO, led USA) which with its considerable navy could play an important role in a possible direct clash with Beijing. 


But the real challenge to the Anglo-Saxon thalassocracy lies in the control of the straits and main trade routes of the world (for which the role of its navy is decisive). Beyond the purchase of container ports around the world, Beijing has initiated, especially in the last decade, a policy of control of the straits of vital importance for its trade routes.

Strait of Malacca : For years China has lived in the shadow of the so-called “Malacca dilemma” or the issue regarding the situation of the Strait of Malacca through which the majority of sea exports destined for Europe and hydrocarbon imports transit. which come from the Persian Gulf. A possible blockade of the same would have unimaginable consequences for the Chinese economy (even if there is an ongoing diversification of supplies now largely coming by land from Russia). China has significantly strengthened the presence of its military fleet in the area in order to prevent any hostile action against its merchant fleet and the ports of the so-called “Chinese pearl necklace”.

Djibouti : Djibouti is the small African country that overlooks the left side of the Bab-el Manded Strait which separates the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean. It has strategic importance because it is located on the most important trade route in the world. Almost all of the goods shipped by sea from China to Europe pass through it (and the Suez Canal). Beijing has built a military base there (there are also US and French military bases in the country) with the task of monitoring its interests in the area and controlling it militarily in order to guarantee the free transit of Chinese goods through it.

Suez Canal : In recent years Beijing has been very active in encouraging the construction of cargo ports in the Suez Canal area and, therefore, in strengthening relations with  Al Sisi’s Egypt in order to increase its control over the hub fundamental of the most important trade route in the world. This is part of the new maritime Silk Road project with which Beijing aims to increase trade between East and West. Control of the Suez Canal is also guaranteed thanks to the Russian ally given that Egypt today is a country in Moscow’s orbit. 

Strait of Hormuz : For years the Strait of Hormuz was the world’s most important geographic bottleneck. Almost all of the hydrocarbons extracted in the Persian Gulf countries (where approximately 30% of world output is produced) pass through it and are directed both towards the East and the West. The strait therefore has great economic and strategic importance for Beijing and military control of it therefore appears indispensable for Beijing’s vital geopolitical interests. For this reason, it has long been committed, in close cooperation with Russia, to the military strengthening of Iran (an ally and bitter enemy of the USA) also so that it can guarantee the free transit of goods through the strait and counteract coups. of the US fleet aiming to destabilize the Middle Eastern region. This appears much more likely today than in the past since the strait has lost strategic importance for the USA in recent years (the latter having achieved energy self-sufficiency thanks to the exploitation of gas and shale oil deposits in its subsoil) and blocking it would cause much more damage to Beijing than to Washington.

Panama Project 2 : For years Beijing has been interested in the project of an alternative canal to that of Panama (controlled by the USA) for the transit of global goods from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Beijing is studying and planning the construction of a canal in Nicaragua (a country allied with Moscow and Beijing) capable of replacing the old canal and asserting its economic and commercial influence throughout the geopolitical and geoeconomic chessboard of Latin America (“the backyard” of the USA).


But the challenge to Anglo-Saxon power also involves the control of raw materials and especially those underground resources that are indispensable for the high-tech transformation industry that the West desperately needs for the development of its powerful apparatus. industrial. We are referring not only to rare earths (essential for many high-tech industrial products) but also to coltan, cobalt, lithium and titanium. Over the last 20 years Beijing has been particularly active in taking control of mining activities in third world countries that are very rich in these raw materials. Among these, Central Africa stands out, where the Chinese have bought everything they could buy. About 70% of the mineral production of Congo (one of the richest countries in the world for mineral reserves and very rich in copper, gold, diamonds, cobalt, coltan, etc.), Angola (which has large gas and oil deposits as well as gold, diamonds, manganese, etc.) of Mozambique and Tanzania (countries where enormous reserves of rare earths have been found) are today in Chinese hands. Even in southern Africa (an area rich in gold and diamonds which until a few decades ago was the sanctuary of English and American mining companies) Beijing has been able to expand its economic influence by taking over a large part of the mineral production of Namibia, Zambia, of Madagascar and South Africa. China’s dynamism in this sense appears very strong in Asia and in particular in Indonesia (where vast reserves of rare earths have recently been ascertained) and Indochina as well as in Latin America where the Chinese have started a strategic partnership with Chile (the leading producer of copper in the world and the country with the largest lithium reserves in the world) and with Peru (also mainly rich in lithium and copper), considering that the Americans and Europeans had a virtual monopoly on the exploitation of resources until the last century minerals of South America it is obvious that a real “Kopernican revolution” is underway in the geopolitical and geoeconomic vision of the establishment of the South American countries to the full advantage of Chinese economic expansion (and to the detriment of Anglo-Saxon interests in area).


From all this it can be seen that today, in 2023, a real assault on world power (as defined after the collapse of the USSR in 1991) is underway by China (and its Russian ally) in order to to redefine “the rules of the game” on the global geopolitical chessboard. Proof of this is all the factors analyzed above but also the reaction with which the Western bloc is reacting to these moves. The economic expansion of Russia and China (as well as their decisive military strengthening in recent years) today places London and Washington faced with a Thucydides trap which they do not seem able to escape. Recent military developments in Eastern Europe are but one piece of a global mosaic that is taking shape. The clash will be worldwide and will not last a single year. Those who hope that a possible peace in Ukraine can bring the world back to the status quo ante bellum will soon have to think again. If the vassal states of the US empire (we are talking in particular about the European states, de facto militarily occupied by the Anglo-Saxons after 1945 and after the collapse of the USSR) remain faithful to the current hegemonic power, the world will most likely divide ‘ in two blocks. One under Anglo-Saxon leadership, the other under Sino-Russian leadership. If, however, Europe decides to rebel against the hegemon and turn eastward, the US empire will collapse and will be relegated to a marginal role in the future world. For the moment the vassals show loyalty to their King. All that remains is to wait for the next developments in the global geopolitical picture.

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