The natural question is then: Why China? Why should China be that external actor? The reason is that China supplies some critical, missing input. That input is deep pockets — someone has to pay a large initial cost to jump-start the building of the infrastructure network, and the actor needs to be able to absorb a huge amount of risk (liquidity risk, operational risk, construction risk, etc.), and it needs to have a long-term investment and strategic horizon. If we look at America, its own infrastructure is 30 years behind, partly because of the ferocious bipartisan debates on how to spend taxes. America will not have the ability to coordinate across many countries and regions and allocate spending efficiently if it cannot even do so in its own country.
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