In the US, China’s pan-Eurasian infrastructure initiative is more or less invisible outside of news reports from domestic media that mostly frame it as Beijing’s grand plan for geopolitical domination
Under President Trump, it is possible, for the first time in a generation, to imagine a concerted attack on the central bank. Conceivably, the United States could repeat the story of the mid-1960s and ’70s, when a 15-year period of central-bank independence was brought to an end by presidential bullying. Back then, Lyndon B. Johnson summoned the Fed chairman, William McChesney Martin Jr., to his Texas ranch and shoved him around the living room while proclaiming that low interest rates were imperative in a time of war.
The plan envisages a deep and broad-based penetration of most sectors of Pakistan’s economy as well as its society by Chinese enterprises and culture. Its scope has no precedent in Pakistan’s history in terms of how far it opens up the domestic economy to participation by foreign enterprises. In some areas the plan seeks to build on a market presence already established by Chinese enterprises, eg Haier in household appliances, ChinaMobile and Huawei in telecommunications and China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) in mining and minerals.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to pump billions of dollars into the new Silk Road initiative as he described his signature foreign policy push as inclusive, one that should not be held hostage to old rivalries and power games. China is hosting at least 29 heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz, Sharif, for a two-day “Belt and Road” conference which India has chosen to give a miss.
As Europe disappears, Eurasia coheres. The supercontinent is becoming one fluid, comprehensible unit of trade and conflict, as the Westphalian system of states weakens and older, imperial legacies – Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Turkish – become paramount. Every crisis from Central Europe to the ethnic-Han Chinese heartland is now interlinked. There is one singular battlespace.
In concrete terms, the Belt and Road initiative is an immensely ambitious development campaign through which China wants to boost trade and stimulate economic growth across Asia and beyond. It hopes to do so by building massive amounts of infrastructure connecting it to countries around the globe. By some estimates, China plans to pump $150bn into such projects each year. In a report released at the start of this year, ratings agency Fitch said an extraordinary $900 billion in projects were planned or underway.
World leaders are gathering in Beijing this weekend for a big summit touting China’s infrastructure spending spree to connect Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The project, known as the Belt and Road Initiative—or “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) in straight translation—was introduced by president Xi Jinping in 2013 as a land-and-sea version of the fabled Silk Road trading route of the 16th to 18th centuries.
China, through its economic corridor with Pakistan, has proposed a dramatic redrawing of demographic and geographic boundaries. It is undertaking an unabashed, confrontational and neo-colonial smash and grab in south Asia.
Friedman had discovered in human capital theory more than just a means for boosting economic growth. The very way it conceptualised human beings was an ideological weapon too, especially when it came to counteracting the labour-centric discourse of communism, both outside and inside the US.