Wednesday, October 12, 2016

One Belt, One Road | Eurasian Century Unstoppable

There has never been a period in which China’s diplomats were more active on the global stage.
Under President Xi, the Chinese leadership has substantially stepped up its foreign policy
ambitions, heavily expanding the scope of its activities in the region and its global reach.
By altering long-standing traditions of relative restraint and adjusting key foreign policy
priorities, Beijing is engineering a new course in global affairs.
Enlarge map.

Moritz Rudolf (Oct 04, 2016) - In autumn 2013, Chairman of the CCP and President of the PRC, Xi Jinping, announced the “One Belt, One Road (OBOR)” initiative. This core element of a more pro-active Chinese foreign policy comprises of the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt”, and the “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century”. The OBOR initiative by far exceeds the development of linear connections between Europe and Asia. In fact, Beijing strives to establish a comprehensive Eurasian infrastructure network. Trans-regional corridors are to link the land and sea routes. As the primary investor and architect of the Eurasian infrastructure networks, Beijing is creating new China-centred pipeline, railway and transport networks. In addition to this the Chinese leadership is focused on the expansion of deep-sea ports, particularly those in the Indian Ocean.

With the OBOR the Chinese leadership is primarily pursuing three main goals: (1) Economic diversification;
(2) Political stability and (3) the Development of a multi-polar global order. From an economic perspective, China strives that the development of new trade routes, markets and energy sources will result in growth impulses and at the same time reduce dependencies. Projects linked to the OBOR are to once again fill the order books of Chinese SOEs which are presently suffering from over-capacities. Furthermore, with the expansion of the Eurasian transport infrastructure Beijing aims to lay the foundations for China-centered production networks, for instance with Chinese companies relocating production to South-East Asia. Politically speaking, the Chinese leadership hopes that the OBOR initiative stabilizes Beijing’s western Provinces, as well as the neighboring trouble spots, like Pakistan or Afghanistan. As China finances most infrastructure projects Beijing is also able to increase its political influence. Many countries along the Silk Roads depend on Chinese infrastructure investments.

The overarching goal is to be an active part in the establishment of a multi-polar world-order. China seeks to play a constructive role in the reform the international system. The OBOR-Initiative is intended to be the foundation of a new type of international relations. The Chinese leadership speaks of the establishment of a “community of common destiny”. Core elements are more connectivity in Eurasia, “win-win-cooperation”, “mutual progress and prosperity” as well as upholding the UN principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. So far, the OBOR-initiative has not been embedded in an overarching international framework and primarily is a concept, a meta-strategy. It is still unclear whether the initiative will be realized through a bilateral or multilateral process. The Chinese leadership speaks of an inclusive process, which means, that all involved parties are invited to shape and promote the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century” in line with their own economic interests. First steps of institutionalization are already emerging. The recently established AIIB and the Silk Road Fund serve to finance the projects. In May, China and Russia agreed to link the Silk Road Initiative with the Russian Far East Development Program for Siberia. In addition to this Moscow and Beijing agreed to link the Eurasian Economic Union with OBOR. Moreover, in June Hungary and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly promote the Silk Road Initiative.

A brilliant plan: Xi Jinping’s ambitious strategic initiative – an adaptation of the historical
Silk Road – could sow the seeds for a new geopolitical era. Enlarge map.
While central banks continue to "print" liquidity, now at a pace of nearly $200 billion per month, they are
unable to print trade, perhaps the single best indicator of deteriorating global economic conditions. The
latest confirmation comes from China: In 2015 China’s import growth slowed starkly, driven by both
external and domestic factors, including a rebalancing of demand. Econometric results point to weak investment
and rebalancing as the main causes of the import slowdown. Spillover effects from China’s rebalancing are
estimated for some 60  countries using value-added trade data, and are found to be more negative on Asia and
commodity exporters than others (HERE).
William Engdahl (Oct 11, 2016) - The totality of the strategy behind Xi Jinping’s Eurasian One belt, One Road rail, sea and pipeline initiative (OBOR), which is moving quietly and impressively forward, is transforming the world geopolitical map. In 1904 a British geographer, Sir Halford Mackinder, a fervid champion of the British Empire, unveiled a brilliant concept in a speech to the London Royal Geographical Society titled The Geographical Pivot of History. That essay has shaped both British and American global strategy of hegemony and domination to the present. It was complemented by US Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan’s 1890 work, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, which advocated “sea power,” stating that nations with domination of the seas, as the British Empire or later the USA, would dominate the world.

The One Belt, One Road, by linking all the contiguous land areas of Eurasia to the related network of strategic new or enlarged deep-water ports of OBOR’s Maritime Silk Road, has rendered US geopolitical strategy a devastating blow at a time the hegemony of America is failing as never in its short history. The Eurasian Century today is inevitable and unstoppable. Built on different principles of cooperation rather than domination, it just might offer a model for the bankrupt United States and the soon-bankrupt European Union, to build up true prosperity not based on looting and debt slavery.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has 57 member states (all "Founding Members") and was
proposed as an initiative by the government of China. The bank started operation on 25 December 2015;
the capital of the bank is $100 billion, equivalent to  2⁄3 of the capital of the Asian Development
Bank and about half that of the World Bank (HERE).
The United States is the number one trading partner for 56 countries, with important relationships
throughout North America, South America, and Western Europe. Meanwhile, China is the top partner
for 124 countries, dominating trade in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Australia