Thailand’s Kra Canal

How’s this for infrastructure stimulus spending (via 2point6billion):

The Kra Canal Project, which would link the South China Sea directlyto the Indian Ocean by cutting across the Thai isthmus, has shownrecent signs of being reactivated given the economic benefits it wouldbring to the region as well as the continuing problems with piracy inthe Straits of Malacca and the current route for trade to and fromIndia and South-East Asia to China.

The canal, which was first recognized as a potential for boostingtrade in 1677, would have the same impact on South-East Asia as thePanama and Suez Canals have had elsewhere. The canal would need totraverse a length of only 44 kilometers at the narrowest point of theThai peninsula, however with rocky land of up to 75 meters above sealevel; the engineering and labor requirements would be huge.

China, not surprisingly, has offered to lend considerable assistanceto the development of the project, which was tentatively approved bythe Thai Senate in 2007.

The thing about canals is that, in addition to the economic benefits, they tend to have a pacifying impact on naval rivalries.