22 February, 1784: The first American trade ship to China weighs anchor in New York City. The history of trade between China and the West is fraught with conflict and cultural complications, as demonstrated by the audacious 19th-century attempt by the British to steal China’s tea crop and transplant it to its own plantations in India. The caper is recounted in Sarah Rose‘s FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA.
In the dramatic story of one of the greatest acts of corporate espionage ever committed, Sarah Rose recounts the fascinating, unlikely circumstances surrounding a turning point in economic history. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the British East India Company faced the loss of its monopoly on the fantastically lucrative tea trade with China, forcing it to make the drastic decision of sending Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to steal the crop from deep within China and bring it back to British plantations in India. Fortune’s danger-filled odyssey, magnificently recounted here, reads like adventure fiction, revealing a long-forgotten chapter of the past and the wondrous origins of a seemingly ordinary beverage.
The geographical hotspots of the world are all related to economic trade and global exchange of political interests. Places such as the Panama and Suez Canals have always been in the Western media. However, from an economic and strategic perspective, the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world in the 21st Century. The history of this Strait’s geopolitical relevance goes as back as 400 years of history.
For centuries the strait has been the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It has been controlled by the major regional powers and also by the mayor global power during different historical periods. In 2011 hundreds of thousands of containers in more than 60,000 vessels crossed its waters carrying about one-quarter of the world’s traded goods including oil, Chinese manufactures, and Indonesian coffee.
In order to understand which is the geopolitical importance of the Strait of Malacca for the Chinese government we need to overview the current geopolitical dynamics and economic investments in the region.
The following image from NASA clearly depicts what are some of the IMPRESSIVE negative externalities caused by the transport of global goods in the region and opens the door for discussing
Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide pop out over certain shipping lanes in observations made by the Aura satellite between 2005-2012. The signal was the strongest over the northeastern Indian Ocean.
Data from the Dutch and Finnish-built Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite show long tracks of elevated nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels along certain shipping routes. NO2, is among a group of highly-reactive oxides of nitrogen, known as NOx, that can lead to the production of fine particles and ozone that damage the human cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Combustion engines, such as those that propel ships and motor vehicles, are a major source of NO2 pollution.
I am currently enrolled in the course “Oil, Power and Climate – A Global Perspective” with Dr. habil. Peter Gärtner who is an specialist in Global Studies, North-South relations, democratization, development theory and policy, law and globalization with a regional focus in Latin America.
As part of our initial discussions we were required to present a review of the current status of the main importers and exporters of oil. My selection was China and its raising demand of energy resources in order to continue providing for the world the largest amount of goods ever made in history. Indeed, the numbers I found of China were astounding and the forecast of its increase for the next ten years is even more astonishing. As forecasts show, the United States is soon to lose its hegemonic position in the world as the largest economy due to the fact that since 2010 it was China the world’s largest energy consumer (and its growth continues to further grow).
For the last six months I have been paying much attention to literature in the Asia region and I have started to draw a new world map that has South East Asia and the Pacific at its core. I foresee a semester full of Asia related topics and I will most certainly enjoy focusing in that area.
The Spanish blog “Pasa la vida” shared these wonderful pictures of Earth in high resolution (11500 x11500) As mentioned by them, the pictures were taken by the satellite Suomi NPP with the instrument Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).
As his father did, this young men would be in charge of a territory of 120,540 km2 and of 24,051,218 million people (the 51 most populated country).
North Korea is also a proven nuclear power and nuclear weapon country since 2006 that has consistently menaced the world with the use of its weapons in retaliation against South Corea and Japan. Diplomacy and food supplies to its dying population has been the methods used by countries in the United Nations to stop their menaces.