Concrete Connections: The Russian Dream Of The Global Superhighway
Russia is a country which has always been known for its size. Whether referring to the ten time zones which exist within its borders or the massive military projects during the Cold War, bigger is indeed better. A recent proposal by businessman Vladimir Yakunin has once again highlighted this fact. He has envisioned a bold (if not costly) plan to link approximately 80 per cent of the globe with the help of an overland superhighway and railway system. As he is also friends with Vladimir Putin, this dream may very well prove to be much more than simply a challenging idea.
The sheer size of this superhighway is seen to be unrivalled in the history of civilisation. If the dream is ever realised, it will certainly be the largest man-made structure on the planet.
It is planned to begin at London and subsequently connect to regions including Eastern Europe, Siberia, the Kamchatka Peninsula and potentially even Nome, Alaska. Construction would be aided due to the fact that the Trans-Siberian Railway already exists in Russia itself. Although these are quite lofty dreams, just how realistic would such an intercontinental system truly be?
We should first remember that any superhighway/railway system would require incredible amounts of raw material. Some of the most critical will naturally be steel, concrete and electrical equipment. Even these may be dwarfed by the amount of machinery needed as well as the ultimate price tag.
As daunting as the physical logistics are, politics will also play a rather make-or-break role. The Russian proposal has even hinted that this intercontinental superhighway could stretch as far as Edmonton or New York. This can be a touchy political subject considering that relations between the east and the west are seen to be at their lowest point since (arguably) the end of the Cold War.
With the global game of chess now focusing upon such regions as Syria and Ukraine, it is not likely that the leaders of these major powers will come to an amiable agreement any time soon. This could very well be a prime example of how business and politics sometimes do not enjoy a hand-in-hand relationship.
Proponents of this superhighway would certainly point out the number of jobs (but initial and ongoing) that would be created through such a project. Hundreds of thousands of workers will be required and this can help to provide employment to flagging regional economies.
While there is no doubt that many stumbling blocks exist, it is key to point out that such an interconnected system has never existed in the history of civilisation. Some sociologists argue that a physical linkage between disparate nations will breed a sense of togetherness that would not be possible otherwise. Borders would be slightly blurred. There will undoubtedly be a further exchange of goods and services. Language barriers may be dulled. Such a system could even foster in a new era of interdependence that has not previously been witnessed. The only regional example may indeed be the Schengen-free zones within Europe. Should leaders be able to realise the bigger picture, this project could become more of a reality in the years ahead.
Although quite ambitious, a superhighway connecting London to New York via Moscow is certainly feasible. The main issues will be the political red tape, the cost and the idea being accepted by sovereign nations. It will be very interesting to see whether or not this interesting undertaking ever comes to fruition.
Concrete Connections: The Russian Dream Of The Global Superhighway Reviewed by Anna Li on 9:01:00 AM Rating: