Summary of Geopolítica de los océanos

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In this video, the speaker explores the concept of maritime power and its importance in becoming a global superpower, as well as China's rising power and its dependence on maritime access. The speaker references author Alfred Thayer Mahan, who argued that the oceans were the primary highway of international trade, and stresses the need for a commercial mindset, coastal infrastructure, and societal values that prioritize the importance of the sea in becoming a maritime power. The speaker also discusses China's geopolitical strategies, including the establishment of a "collar of pearls" and the "zone grey" tactic. Furthermore, the speaker highlights the importance of sea trade to China, which accounts for 85% of their total merchandise, and their investments in ports and infrastructure in Africa and Latin America to expand their markets. Ultimately, the speaker believes that Peru is in a privileged position to benefit from increased trade with China, and the future looks promising for the economies of Latin American nations.

  • 00:00:00 In this section, the speaker introduces the concept of maritime power by referencing the arguments of Alfred Thayer Mahan, a key figure in maritime geopolitics in the late 19th and early 20th century. Mahan argued that oceans were the primary highway of international trade due to their cost-effectiveness and relative safety compared to other forms of transportation. Despite advances in aviation and rail transportation, the speaker notes that the vast majority of goods continue to be transported by sea. The speaker also previews the structure of the rest of their talk, which will include an analysis of China's rising power and its dependence on maritime access.
  • 00:05:00 In this section of the video, the speaker discusses two authors, Inmanuel Wallerstein and Alfred Mahan, who came from different political ideologies but reached the same conclusion that maritime power is crucial for a country to become a global superpower. Wallerstein analyzed the history of capitalist hegemons and found that all of them were maritime powers. Countries that lacked sufficient access to the sea have struggled to achieve world power status, as exemplified by Germany's blocked access to the seas and Russia's limited access to warm waters. The speaker highlights the importance of understanding these concepts in interpreting the rest of the discussion.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the characteristics that a country must possess to become a great naval power. According to Alfred Thayer Mahan, countries that are best positioned to become naval powers are large archipelagos such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and the Philippines, as they are defended by natural barriers and have no land borders to concern themselves with. However, countries with extensive coastlines that connect them to more than one ocean, such as the United States and Spain, are also well-positioned to become naval powers. The speaker also notes that China is not well-positioned in terms of geography, as they only have access to the South China Sea and are not surrounded by ocean.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of utilizing coastal areas in order to benefit from the geopolitics of the oceans. China's policy of establishing good ports and connections with railways and rivers has resulted in seven out of the top 10 ports worldwide being located in China. Additionally, the speaker explains that the sociology of the people is also critical in taking advantage of the ocean geopolitics. If a society values the importance of the sea, its citizens are more likely to become seafarers, pay taxes to improve ports and have a strong navy to protect trade routes.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of a commercial mindset in order for a country to become a maritime power. Mahan's text highlights the importance of having entrepreneurial and innovative individuals within a society to initiate businesses and create wealth, as seen with the success of the British and Dutch economies. Furthermore, China is becoming a major contender in the maritime industry due to its strong focus on individual property rights and a commercial mindset, as evidenced by its large number of patents. The speaker emphasizes the need for states to support their multinational companies and engage in international treaties to control major maritime routes, as seen with the British and Chinese. Overall, the success of a state as a maritime power depends on the policies and capabilities of its leaders and businesses.
  • 00:25:00 In this section, the speaker explains why China depends so much on the seas and the potential risks involved. Despite not being a major producer of gas or petroleum, China imports a significant amount, making its maritime imports and exports crucial to its economy. The majority of China's trade is done by sea, and the risk of routes being blocked is a major concern, especially for routes controlled by other powers, such as the US. Due to its geographic location, China's major import and export routes go through the Strait of Malacca and Strait of Hormuz, both under the control of other countries. The speaker explains that if either of these routes was closed off, it would spell disaster for China's economy.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, the speaker discusses China's solutions within the framework of ocean geopolitics to resolve economic and political issues. One solution is the activation of the "Monroe doctrine" by China, where it wants Asia for the Asians, particularly the Chinese, and has been using this doctrine to try to remove the US from Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore. China is weaving a net of alliances and generating a "collar of pearls" - a network of ports in different countries that offer facilities and guarantees not only to Chinese merchant ships but also to its warships. China's strategy of "zone grey" is another solution and is primarily used to trouble Japan and the US by mobilizing civilians and using civil boats and coast guards instead of military vessels to incite disputes in areas like the Senkaku Islands. This strategy aims to avoid a casus belli and instead uses propaganda and mobilization of civilians to put global opinion in China's favor while creating tension in Japan.
  • 00:35:00 In this section, the speaker discusses China's geopolitical strategies relating to sea routes and the potential shift of alliances among neighboring countries. China's actions in the South China Sea and its increasing military power serve to create an uncomfortable situation for Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore, which may prompt them to eventually switch sides and align with China. China is also looking toward the future and considering the potential benefits of navigable Arctic routes, which would reduce their reliance on the Strait of Malacca and provide them with more direct access to Europe. By establishing a foothold in the Arctic, China could benefit from hydrocarbon production and control the route effectively.
  • 00:40:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of sea trade for China, which represents 85% of their total merchandise. China is profiting from the land Silk Road and the maritime routes to transport oil and gas from Russia and Kazakhstan, primarily from the Caspian Sea basin. China negotiated a deviation from the Siberian oil pipeline with Russia, allowing them to transport crude oil straight into China. Although China is also taking advantage of the land routes which bring Chinese-manufactured goods to Europe by train, the maritime routes still account for the majority of China's trade. The speaker also mentions China's rapid development of its navy in the past 15 years, now having the largest navy by tonnage in the world, with plans to possess four aircraft carriers by 2035. The speaker concludes with a remark on China's clear strategy towards both domestic and foreign affairs.
  • 00:45:00 In this section, the speaker discusses China's strategy in Africa and Latin America in terms of investing in ports and infrastructure to establish control and expand their markets. China's focus is on taking control of important ports, building public works and creating efficient transport networks that can quickly move Chinese goods into the interior. The speaker notes that China's economic model is reminiscent of old colonial powers that extract cheap materials and sell expensive manufactured goods to colonies. While China's economic relationship with Latin America has been positive, there are concerns regarding the impact on local industries and the potential for a neo-colonial relationship. The speaker highlights Peru as a country with a privileged position in terms of trade with China, as they are both the biggest customer and supplier to each other.
  • 00:50:00 In this section, the speaker discusses Peru's privileged relationship with China, particularly in terms of trade through the port of Callao, which is presently the second-best located port in Latin America after Panama's Puerto Barbo. The absence of major checkpoints while transporting products from China to Peru facilitates trade significantly, and Peru's roadway infrastructure, which connects the country to other nations in the region such as Brazil, is an essential factor in expanding trade. The speaker believes that Peru is in an ideal position to benefit from increased trade with China, and the future looks promising for the economies of Latin American nations, particularly Peru.

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