In the book’s first three chapters, Eyler duly acknowledges China’s need for water and energy security, but also examines what Chinese policymakers do not: the dams’ adverse effects on farms, forests, and fish, and the displaced people who depend on them. Even more importantly, he sets the scene for what plays out over the remainder of the journey south, as China’s designs on the Mekong River emerge as clearly geopolitical. With water fast surpassing fossil fuels as a currency of political power the world over, China is leveraging its “national development” to cultivate dependency and dictate terms among its neighbors. As the only Mekong country completely upstream, it has the upper hand over the other five — that is, over mainland Southeast Asia.
Are We Seeing the Mekong River’s ‘Last Days’? | The Diplomat