The BRI gets it right

Feb 5, 2024
Containers with the flag of China. Railway transportation. 3d rendering.

China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) operates on a huge scale and is the focus of rarely halted negative coverage across many prominent outlets in the Global West. A new extended article in the leading US journal, Foreign Policy, however, provides a measured, informed exception to this general rule.

Parag Khanna recently argued in a 3,000-word commentary in Foreign Policy that: “The Red Sea Crisis Proves China Was Ahead of the Curve”. He supports this conclusion by observing how the BRI – now 10 years old – has done a far better job than any other geopolitical infrastructure project by: “building more pathways for supply to meet demand”. So much so, that other major actors are now ardently proposing similar projects, for example, the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), which emerged from the G20 Summit in India last year.

America, naturally, hailed the IMEC as a winning rival to the BRI. Khanna, though, makes a convincing case that the IMEC is “much more a local offshoot” of the BRI – such is the established, development lead of the Chinese initiative and its remarkable built-impact, not least, now, across the Global South. As he says: “China is to be credited for elevating infrastructure on the global agenda after decades of neglect by Western powers”. One notable BRI initiative highlighted by Khanna is the exceptional China-Europe freight-train regime, which today serves 25 European countries. In the decade since it was initiated, close to 80,000 trips have been completed, shipping more than US$340 billion in goods see: Global Times October 10 2023

The BRI, Khanna concludes: “wasn’t a sinister plot. It was a blueprint for what every nation needs in an age of uncertainty and disruption.” You can read the full, thought-provoking article here: FP January 20, 2024

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