Now Kenya gets to pay the China piper

All that good P.R. China got for its "one belt, one road" infrastructure-building in third world countries - so much more constructive than America's military spending, see - is starting to look like something entirely different now that Kenya is about to fall to China and its very humorless bill collectors. Here's what Taiwan News is reporting.

China may be preparing to seize some major assets in the African nation of Kenya, as a result of debt-trap diplomacy.

African media reports that Kenya may soon be forced to relinquish control of its largest and most lucrative port in Mombasa to Chinese control.

Other assets related to the inland shipment of goods from the port, including the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi, and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), may also be compromised in the event of a Chinese port takeover.

Kenya has reportedly taken extremely large loans from the Communist government for the development of some major highways, and especially for the SGR, which forms a crucial transport link to and from Nairobi for the import and export of goods through Mombasa.

In November, Moody’s noted that Kenya is at high risk of losing strategic assets because of debts owed to Beijing.

Local media began to express concern that Chinese lenders may be angling to seize assets, since it does not appear the Kenyan government will be capable to repaying the loans.

Beijing, of course, is denying it. But that was a couple days ago. And its only argument begs the question. China insists that the project, out there in deepest Kenya, will indeed make money, effectively suggesting that it won't need to expropriate the port. It doesn't say what will happen if the project doesn't make money, which is what Moody's is focusing on.

That follows a recent report from the New York Times, that China has gotten Ecuador so in hock to it, through a big dam infrastructure project, that it will never be able to repay its debts. What's more, it won't get much of a dam, either, given the still-unfinished dam's 6,000-plus cracks and the inevitability of a nearby volcano going off, which ought to junk it for good. But the Chinese debts for Ecuador shall stand eternal, and that's going to keep the country underdeveloped. We noted the same sort of Chinese debt collection going on in hellhole Venezuela, which wrecked its oil industry through socialism and then took Chinese loans to keep it going. Like Ecuador, Venezuela can't pay, but that doesn't mean it's not time to pay the piper. And don't forget that illegal immigrant-exporting El Salvador has pulled the same stunt with China, throwing it in our faces. I wrote about that here.

All that embracing of China (and cheerleading from leftists in the West) seems to be turning into a nightmare for nations dumb enough to embrace the smiling dragon.

Now Kenya is about to lose its most important and strategic port, no small thing given that Africa's linear coastline means very few ports. 

China likes that sort of thing - getting a nation in hock, building junk infrastructure, and then taking over the good stuff, and that's for strategic reasons. Already, it's forcing in-hock Pakistan to allow its foothold there to turn into military purposes, once again, because Pakistan can't pay its debts. The New York Times has an excellent article and infographic map of the whole thing.

The Times reports that seventy countries have embraced China and its loans through its "one belt, one road," trillion-dollar infrastructure loan program, meaning there are a heckuva lot of countries that are in hock and now can't repay - and that will see major parts of their infrastructures taken over to pay debts. The Washington Post names Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Montenegro, as all trapped now. Seems corruption and bribes, on which a lot of these were premised, is a great way to get an empire.

Didn't the U.S. and Britain use to get criticized a hundred years ago for going to war over badly-run South American nations that failed to pay their debts? Looks like China is viewing that as a how-to guide.

But this is the age of the Internet, and mass media, the parallels aren't as exact as the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Perhaps these countries can get out of their contracts by exposing the bribery that brought them into being. Perhaps they can prove in court that they bought lemons and need a refund. Perhaps the U.S. can bundle them together and use them as a wedge to force China to play fair for all countries.

Because right now, a new global dawn is on us, the era of the Chinese debt-forced empire. That alone should be a stick with which the U.S. can use on China over all its bad practices that will inevitably lead to a crude new empire. It's fortunate that just about the only American president with the guts to challenge this long-running scam is President Trump. He's what we have now, and it seems that's for a reason.


If you experience technical problems, please write to