Ismail Lagardien’s column, “Trade winds fill sails of re-emerging east” (November 21) is a valid observation of current shifts in world economics. But he ignores the importance of the ancient Silk Road. This was a broad stream of prosperous trade routes, anchored by China in the east, stretching across Eastern Europe and the Middle East to Egypt in North Africa. Many empires rose and fell over the centuries but over time trade always reverted to the same pattern. Branches feeding into the main west-east line penetrated north and south, and created strategic points of exchange and redistribution, and great wealth to strategic cities. These pressure points were the key to the Silk Road’s success. They were, and are still, located in present-day Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan and Turkey. While primary commodities may have changed from slaves, silk, horses and spices to oil mainly, the geography has not. The key elements of that ancient structure remain those of the new Silk Road (from whic...

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