The Re-imagined Co-Dominium

10.01.08 | Comment?

Back in the 1980’s, sci-fi author Jerry Pournelle wrote a series of books based on the premise that the United States and Soviet Union continued in co-existence right up into the stars. This was very much to both country’s benefit, because the Co-Dominium had the secondary effect of keeping all other nations under the control one or the other global powers.

With the cratering of the Soviet Union, those books became out of date. Yet I wonder if we are building toward a new type of cold war that inspired those books. China is scrambling to get access to as much raw material as possible to feed its rapid growth. A report in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper describes China’s presence in Congo.

Sata says: ‘The Chinese are not here as investors, they are here as invaders.

‘They bring Chinese to come and push wheelbarrows, they bring Chinese bricklayers, they bring Chinese carpenters, Chinese plumbers. We have plenty of those in Zambia.’

This is true. In Lusaka and in the Copper Belt, poor and lowly Chinese workers, in broad-brimmed straw hats from another era, are a common sight at mines and on building sites, as are better-dressed Chinese supervisors and technicians.

There are Chinese restaurants and Chinese clinics and Chinese housing compounds – and a growing number of Chinese flags flapping over factories and smelters.

‘We don’t need to import labourers from China,’ Sata says. ‘We need to import people with skills we don’t have in Zambia. The Chinese are not going to train our people in how to push wheelbarrows.’

China has the distinction of being a bigger polluter than the United States, and in a matter of years will surpass our legendary appetite for petroleum. As you read the article, you’ll hear about the terrible conditions they are supporting in third world countries. They are growing and industrializing at a very rapid rate, and they have both the money and manpower to make mistakes and learn from them. If China really wanted to exert itself on the world scene like the Soviet Union did, does the U.S. still have the wherewithall to stand in its way?

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