China – The Belt And Road Initiative – The Bridge That Spans The World

| Educate!

Above Photo: From Informationclearinghouse.info

Connecting Asia with Europe through the Middle East and Africa will become the dominant economic engine of the 21st Century. China’s goal is a win-win for all participating nations. The US economic, military and political power will no longer be dominant. It will no longer be a unipolar world. The Belt and Road Initiative is very threatening to the US. We should expect to see the US do all it can to prevent it or disrupt it. KZ

November 24/25, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –   The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road, is based on a 2,100-year-old trade route between the Middle East and Eastern Asia, called the Silk Road. It wound its ways across the huge landmass Eurasia to the most eastern parts of China. It favored trading, based on the Taoist philosophy of harmony and peaceful coexistence – trading in the original sense of the term, an exchange with “win-win” outcomes, both partners benefitting equally.

Today, in the western world we have lost this concept. The terms of trade are imposed always by the ‘stronger’ partner, the west versus the poorer south – the south where most of the natural resources are lodged. Mother Earth’s assets have been and are coveted by the west – or north – for building and maintaining a lifestyle in luxury, abundance and waste. This trend has lasted for centuries of western colonialism: Exploitation, loot, esclavisation and rape of entire peoples of the Global South by the Global North, to use the current soothing World Bank lingo.

The New Silk Road, or BRI, is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s brainchild. It’s based on the same ancient principles, adjusted to the 21st Century, building bridges between peoples, exchanging goods, research, education, knowledge, cultural wisdom, peacefully, harmoniously and ‘win-win’ style. On 7 September 2013, Xi presented BRI at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University. He spoke about “People-to-People Friendship and Creating a better Future”. He referred to the Ancient Silk Road of more than 2,100 years ago, that flourished during China’s Western Han Dynasty (206 BC to 24 AD).

Referring to this epoch of more than two millenniums back, Xi Jinping pointed to the history of exchanges under the Ancient Silk Road, saying,

“they had proven that countries with differences in race, belief and cultural background can absolutely share peace and development as long as they persist in unity and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, mutual tolerance and learning from each other, as well as cooperation and win-win outcomes.”

President Xi’s vision may be shaping the world of the 21st Century. The Belt and Road Initiative is designed and modeled loosely according to the Ancient Silk Road. President Xi launched this ground-breaking project soon after assuming the Presidency in 2013. The endeavor’s idea is to connect the world with transport routes, infrastructure, industrial joint ventures, teaching and research institutions, cultural exchange and much more. Since 2017, enshrined in China’s Constitution, BRI has become the flagship for China’s foreign policy.

BRI is literally building bridges and connecting people of different continents and nations. The purpose of the New Silk Road is “to construct a unified large market and make full use of both international and domestic markets, through cultural exchange and integration, to enhance mutual understanding and trust of member nations, ending up in an innovative pattern with capital inflows, talent pool, and technology database”. BRI is a perfect vehicle for building peacefully a World Community with a Shared Future for Mankind – which was the theme of an international Forum held in Shanghai, from 5-7 November, a tribute to China’s 70th Anniversary of her Revolution and achievements – with a vision into the future.

BRI is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese Government. Already today BRI has investments involving more than 150 countries and international organizations – and growing – in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. BRI is a multi-trillion investment scheme, for transport routes on land and sea, as well as construction of industrial and energy infrastructure and energy exploration – as well as trade among connected countries. Unlike WTO (World Trade Organization), BRI is encouraging nations to benefit from their comparative advantages, creating win-win situations. In essence, BRI is to develop mutual understanding and trust among member nations, allowing for free capital flows, a pool of experts and access to a BRI-based technology data base.

At present, BRI’s closing date is foreseen for 2049 which coincides with new China’s 100th Anniversary. The size and likely success of the program indicates, however, already today that it will most probably be extended way beyond that date. It is worth noting, though, that only in 2019, six years after its inception, BRI has become a news item in the West. Remarkably, for six years BRI was as much as denied, or ignored by the western media, in the hope it may go away. But away it didn’t go. To the contrary, many European Union members have already subscribed to BRI, including Greece, Italy, France, Portugal – and more will follow, as the temptation to participate in this projected socioeconomic boom is overwhelming.

Germany, the supposed economic leader of Europe, is mulling over the benefits and contras of participating in BRI. The German business community, like business throughout Europe, is strongly in favor of lifting US-imposed sanctions and reconnecting with the East, in particular with China and Russia. But official Berlin is still with one foot in the White House – and with the other trying to appease the German – and European – world of business. This balancing act is in the long run not sustainable and certainly not desirable. At present BRI is already actively involved in over 80 countries, including at least half of the EU members.

To counteract the pressure to join BRI, the European Union, basically run by NATO and intimately linked to Washington, has initiated their own ‘Silk Road’, attempting to connect Asia with Europe through Japan. In that sense, the EU and Japan have signed a “free trade agreement” which includes a compact to build infrastructure, in sectors such as energy, transport and digital devices. The purpose is to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two regions, boosting business relations between Asia and Europa. It is an obvious effort to compete with or even sideline China’s BRI. But it is equally obvious that this response will fail. Usually initiatives taken in ill-fate are not successful. And China, non-belligerent China, is unlikely to challenge this EU-Japan competitive approach.

In another approach to counter BRI, The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), launched on 4 November the Blue Dot Network (BDN), an initiative supposedly run entirely by private actors, funded by private banking, intended to bring together governments, the private sector, and civil society “to promote high-quality, trusted standards for global infrastructure development in an open and inclusive framework.”

It is not clear how the BDN will interact with or counteract BRI. Anything run entirely by the private sector, especially western private banking, is no good omen for the country their “development effort” touches. Such investments’ objectives are primarily shareholder profits, not socioeconomic development benefitting the countries where they plan to invest. No competition for China’s BRI. Again, non-aggressive China is unlikely to react.

China’s New Silk Road is creating a multipolar world, where all participants will benefit. The idea is to encourage economic growth, distributed in a balanced way, so as to prioritize development opportunities for those most in need. That means the under-developed areas of western China, eastern Russia, Central Asia, Central Europe – reaching out to Africa and the Middle East, Latin America, as well as to South East Asia and the Pacific. BRI is already actively building and planning some six to ten land and maritime routes, connecting Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South America.

The expected multi-trillion-dollar equivalent dynamic budget is expected to be funded by China, largely, but not exclusively, by the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), by Russia – and by all the countries that are part of BRI and involved in singular or multi-country projects. The long-term return on these massive investments in people’s wellbeing is an exponential multiple of the original investments and cannot be limited to numerical economics, as social benefits of wellbeing cannot be defined by linear accounting.

Implementing BRI, or the New Silk Road, is itself the realization of a vision of nations: Peaceful interconnectivity, joint infrastructure and industrial development, as well as joint management of natural resources. For example, BRI may help with infrastructure and management advice resolving or preventing conflicts on transboundary water resources. There are some 263 transboundary lake and river basins, covering almost half the earth’s surface and involving some 150 countries. In addition, there are about 300 transboundary aquifers serving about 2 billion people who depend on groundwater.

The Chinese government calls the Silk Road Initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”. Today, John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” is more relevant than ever. And China is a vanguard in promoting peaceful development across the globe. BRI, China’s foreign policy flagship, is clearly an initiative towards world Peace.

  • RBluhm

    Yes, but how can the BRI possibly accomplish egalitarian economic goals without using those important capitalist tools of sanctions, austerity, coups and war?

  • Great article. Is there any particular reason Pop Resist. does not allow a clean copy and blocks the top few lines of each page? With significant articles, like this, I cover to a PDF and transfer to my I-Pad for re-reads.

  • mwildfire

    I don’t see anything like that.

  • mwildfire

    I have two major problems with this. Yes, for China’s BRI to counter US hegemony is a good thing, especially if they work in alliance with, rather than competition with Russia. But
    1) All those pretty songs about China’s benevolent and selfless intentions aside, what does it mean for the twenty-first century if China replaces the US as hegemon? You really think they’ll be more benevolent than the US & Europe? It has been repeatedly striking me lately how similar today’s Silicon Valley monopolies are to the robber barons of a previous century, when oil was the key industry. Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even in the highly unlikely event that China’s leadership really has such pure and idealistic motivations, if they succeed, which is fairly likely, they will use that enormous power as the powerful always do–in self-aggrandizement, hoarding, oppression. Already they have surveillance and control of their own people that goes beyond the Big Brother of the US. The west has had the spectacle of the oxymoron of Christian capitalists…China has the oxymoron of Communist Party capitalists.
    2) All this building of infrastructure and enhancing of economic growth comes at the eve of a spectacular collapse caused by overshoot, as humanity’s ever-growing numbers and rapacious habits overwhelms all ecosystems. Economic growth is deadly; it must be reversed. And the trade routes at the core of BRI–aren’t they all already there, with the exception of roads in Africa? We don’t need more trade, more globalization, we need to relocalize our economies. Even in Africa, will those roads be used by Africans, or by Chinese (and probably US/EU/Middle Eastern) corporations scavenging natural resources to feed their own economies?
    I’ve read I think that China also has an initiative to challenge US international banking control–I don’t see any downside to that. It could be used by countries wanting to trade with Iran or Cuba to tell the US, at long last, to Just Fuck Off.

  • kevinzeese

    Is anyone else having the problem Peter describes? This is the first we have ever heard about this happening. Peter, please write me off-list at KBZeese@gmail.com and describe what you are seeing and let us know what kind of browser, system and computer you use. This is a first, as far as we know.

  • chetdude

    Don’t get too excited.

    Even though they’re smart enough to use their treasure for infrastructure making commercial connection rather than a suicidal bloated war machine to steal resources, China is still a state capitalist operation with ever-increasing exploitation of resources for profit as its major goal and still powered mainly by burning fossil-fuels. At best, some are harboring the delusional fantasy that a highly “developed” consumption and pollution machine for 10-20 billion humans can be powered by “alternative energy” someday.

    Meanwhile Mother Nature is engaging in the early, destructive stages of Her backlash to 200+ years of fossil-fueled madness.

    It somewhat amuses me to read about folks re-arranging the deck chairs on the fantail of the sinking ship.

  • jwreitter

    Just look at China’s modern history: China is not a warmonger nation like the US. By focusing on trade, cooperation and development, there is no need for aggressive quagmire wars of extraction and destruction. But China needs to become more democratic and more concerned about impacts on the global environment.

  • kevinzeese

    There is a lot we could learn about governance from China. They do not want US-style western representative democracy. They see its shortcomings — corruption, short-term thinking, neoliberal capitalism — and believe there system is superior. They might be right. We should study it more.

    Unlike the US where lawyers and businessmen are elected, China’s equivalent are researchers and scientists and conduct trials of new policies on housing, hunger, inequality, energy etc. with the mayor being the principle investigator! They also have multiple political parties but they do not compete, they cooperate to achieve the best possible policies. See the link below for more on this.

    This article goes into a lot of detail about how their leaders are selected. It is worth reading as it contradicts a lot of the narrative we hear in the US from government officials and the media. See https://popularresistance.org/how-does-china-evaluate-and-choose-its-leaders-understanding-chinas-university-system/

  • Cliff Sommers

    Neither do I – but I do see selective blocking whereby I can’t open certain PR articles at all. You’re being de-listed and shadow blocked in multiple ways by numerous internet and browser portals just as most other leftist sources are are. It’s not just one problem but an array of censorship tactics being used to control the narrative. On Fascist Book, everything I type goes through AI driven pre-screening software. If it’s something they really don’t want anyone to see, like talking about mounting a general strike, my Android phone completely locks up and I have to reboot it.