129 - China As A World Power: How Big?
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
China is flexing its economic muscle nowadays, a process the country itself terms a peaceful rise. One wonders what will happen when China will have ‘risen’: to what degree will China flex its political and military muscle? Will it want to dominate the region – or the world? This map basically outlines two scenarios: China as a regional power, and China as a world power.
The ‘regional’ map shows China’s sphere of influence extending over Mongolia, North Korea, Taiwan, the Indochinese states of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, but also Thailand, Burma/Myanmar and the continental part of Malaysia. A remarkable addition in the west is Pakistan, giving China almost immediate access to the Persian Gulf.\n
The ‘global’ map sees China’s influence extended beyond the countries just mentioned, to most of the former Soviet Central Asian ‘stans’ (except Turkmenistan), part of Afghanistan, the whole of Indonesia, the rest of Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea and significant parts of the Russian Far East.\n
In both scenarios, friction remains possible with two other regional powers remaining independent, India and Japan.\n
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