John Overmyer

L'hégémonie de l'eau

NEW DELHI – Le débat international autour de l'ascension de la Chine s'est principalement concentré sur sa puissance commerciale grandissante, l’ampleur de ses ambitions maritimes et la capacité croissante de sa puissance militaire. Une question cruciale est cependant généralement ignorée: l'ascension de la Chine en tant que géant hydraulique, sans aucune comparaison historique moderne.

Aucun autre pays n'est jamais parvenu à gérer une suprématie continentale incontestée sur l’eau par son contrôle des bassins hydrologiques de multiples fleuves internationaux et la manipulation des flux transfrontaliers. La Chine, le plus gros constructeur mondial de barrages - avec à son actif un peu plus de la moitié des quelques 50 000 barrages que compte la planète - est en voie de cumuler rapidement un pouvoir de pression sur ses voisins par la mise en place de projets d'ingénierie hydraulique massifs sur les cours d'eau transnationaux.

La carte hydraulique de l'Asie a fondamentalement changé suite à la victoire communiste de 1949 en Chine. La plupart des fleuves majeurs de l'Asie prennent leur source sur des territoires annexés par la force par la République Populaire de Chine. Le plateau tibétain, par exemple, est la plus grande réserve d'eau douce au monde et le berceau des plus grands cours d'eau asiatiques, y compris ceux qui sont vitaux pour la Chine territoriale et le sud et le sud-est de l'Asie. D'autres sources de fleuves comme celles de l’Irtysh, l'Illy, et l'Amour qui s’écoulent vers la Russie et l'Asie Centrale, se trouvent aussi sur des territoires annexés par la Chine.

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