domingo, 5 de marzo de 2017

geopolítica trumpiana, o un artículo para el NYT que no prosperó

Fans:
Quiero comunicarles que los mapas siempre han tenido para mi un encanto especial. Y las lecturas políticas de los mapas me producen estremecimientos espirituales de placer. Como epifanías, supongo. Y dibujar mapas es un ejercicio erótico-manual-mental. Cuando todos se preguntan cual es el encanto que Trump le ve a Putin, yo pienso que antes de pensar bien mal, echemos un vistazo al mapamundi. Porque para mi, el encanto que Putin tiene para Trump no es romántico ni sexual, es geopolítico. 
Esto que publico es un artículo que escribí para la página Op-Ed del New York Times, donde cualquiera puede enviar lo que quiera, y si les gusta, lo publican. Esta vez no les gustó, y entonces lo pongo aquí, para no quedarme con las ganas, porque creo que es pertinente, y porque me ejercito. Espero que mi prosa periodística en inglés les guste.
                    
Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.”
Francis Bacon  1576-1626
For me, Trump´s Putin fixation has a name: Dream Deal.
Trump is a cunning man who longs to be respected for his intelligence. That´s why he exalts the deal as a form of art. But his deals are zero sum games, where he cons and humiliates his counterpart, and can bragg about it. He seem to derive a petty satisfaction out of it. The mother of all bullies.
Lacking creativity, the cunning man is an opportunist. And serendiptically, climate change hands Trump a golden opportunity: the Arctic meltdown.
The Arctic meltdown is Trump´s megadeal with Putin. Let me explain the way I see it.
For the first time in human history, the Arctic will be ice free within the next 30 years. In its sea bed lie 25% of the world´s oil and gas reserves, plus manganese, gold, lead, platinum and tin. An Aladdin´s treasure trove
Look at the map I found in Wikipedia: It has two readings. The first one is geographical: The Arctic is an enclosed ocean, with only two narrow passages on opposite sides, leading to the Pacific  and  Atlantic  oceans. It’s a mare nostrum, like the Mediterranean was for the Romans two thousand years ago. Furthermore, it is remote , easy two defend, and almost uninhabited. Its small size (it´s the smallest of the world´s oceans) adds up to its geopolitical advantage. The Arctic meltdown will not end the permafrost condition of its soils. And western oil companies are masters of permafrost drilling,  extracting and transportation technologies.
The prime potential markets for its riches are the bordering nations themselves (look at the demography of the table). The commercial routes will be very short, along their coasts and through their own territories. It will give them enormous geopolitical power and strategic independence.  And only 5 nations surround it. All of them totally or predominantly of Christian culture and  civilization.  Look at the colours and the ordering: The two smallest at the bottom of the table, are Western European protestant Christian nations. The two North American  nations are western civilization strongholds where the majority of their inhabitants is also catholic and protestant Christians.  And here is where the romance begins.  Because the nation with the longest territory and Arctic coast is Eurassian Christian Orthodox Russia, the principal antagonist of NATO.  The Cold War enemy of the other four.
                     


That´s the situation. Now let’s take a look at the deal: Again, look at the map. The second reading  tells us that the Arctic has a continental platform where most of the national limits are, and a deep water zone at the center, the international waters. And the map shows us that Russia already claims almost half the international waters. But working in the permafrost and in the freezing and storm ridden ocean is a delicate environmental endeavour that will antagonize the environmental authorities both national and supranational. Grabbing the international waters will certainly put Trump at odds with global institutions like the United Nations. That´s why he wants to weaken them and eventually not recognize them.
Let´s put the situation in a SWOT matrix.
                                                    
The matrix shows that the strengths of one are the weaknesses of the other, and viceversa, and that the threat to this monopolistic opportunity is the international order.

The deal is the cartelizing of the Arctic riches.  Or at least, the monopolistic control of most of them. Possibly Trump reasons that he can have a difficult time with the Danes and Norwegians. Maybe they won´t be very anxious to put their nearby environment at risk and to antagonize the international order, and Russia lies too close to them for their comfort. He knows that the Canada of Justin Trudeau will not go along with any overruling of international institutions. That´s  why he woos Putin.
Together, the USA and Russia would appropriate themselves of the international waters, and would have the longest coastline and biggest continental platform, and he, TRUMP, would be remembered by generations of North Americans as the godfather who had the guts to grab the Arctic riches of the XXI century for his nation.  The alpha male of all times.

P.S. I confess I´ve read a Tom Clancy´s book. It´s called The Bear and the Dragon (paperback, Penguin Books, 2001). It tells of a war between China and Russia for the Arctic riches. USA, with their superior technology help Russia defend its riches and then they both go on to share them. I bet Trump read the book and called Rex Tillerson to work on it.

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