A world made to measure for Beijing

The Belt and Road Initiative (Bri) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI) take China to the Olympus of the great powers. What are the prospects for President Xi’s multilateral ambitions? An excerpt from our latest e-book on Asia-Pacificthe military and commercial movements taking place in the region. Click here to request it

From a nation virtually isolated from global dynamics a champion of globalization the step is short. At least for Xi Jinping’s China. In 2017, his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos was full of expressions that indicated a new step forward for the foreign policy of the People’s Republic: “win-win cooperation”, “human community with a destiny shared “and” sharing the benefits of globalization “. Just four years earlier, in 2013, the Chinese president had launched the initiative that would mark the history of international relations: the Belt and Road Initiative, the new Silk Road which today has 146 partner countries, representing 64% of the world’s population and 30% of world GDP. In recent years, Beijing has invested around the 85 billion the year.

That Beijing is ready to wear the hat of great power is something that is understood by observing the strategies developed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in recent decades. In the 1990s, China undertook to adopt the strategy of “Going out” (出去 战略 chūqù zhànlüè), a process that from a simple opening to investment and international trade is taking on all the nuances of global leadership. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) contains many different souls, a symptom of pragmatism Chinese and the circumstances: investments in infrastructure to connect China with the world (and several countries among them), a platform to expand the market for Chinese products, a sponge capable of absorbing excess capital and resources that no longer drive growth in house. But also development support, school and vocational training projects, and energy. There was talk of the “Silk Road of Health” during the pandemic to bring staff and medical equipment where needed. Today we talk about the “Digital Silk Road” to signify a wide range of initiatives ranging from the export of Chinese e-commerce platforms to cross-border digital payments. In addition, the list does not lack the issues of environmental sustainability and finance.

The BIS is – and was test territory more convincing for Chinese diplomacy, which here has expanded its role as aa coordinator I benefactor. To support the projects, China set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and launched a series of dialogue platforms on a geographical or shared interest basis. An exercise in multilateral cooperation that, despite the premises, places Beijing at the center of this new diplomatic ecosystem. Xi Jinping underscores Beijing’s commitment mechanisms of multilateral dialogue (UN, WHO, WTO …) against American unilateralism, but seeks a safe path. If all post-war international organizations created a suitable world for Washington, we must prepare a suitable world for Beijing. The Western “recipe” for getting out of underdevelopment through liberalization and more disciplined fiscal policies, the so-called Washington Consensus, does not seem to be achieving the desired results. Here, then, speak some analysts Beijing Consensus as an alternative to the global South, a strategy that finds its main engine precisely in the BIS’s initiatives. Invest to grow, build roads and railways where you need to bring work and trade. A strategy that also serves to help the poor west of the People’s Republic.

It remains to be seen to what extent (and if) the pandemic has helped change that view. Aware of the economic, political and security challenges of the BIS, China is trying to better focus its efforts. An attempt at balance that involves a more careful management of economic resources, the performance of state-owned enterprises (more than 70% of the companies involved) and Beijing’s reputation around the world. According to critics, among the problems of BIS projects, the “debt trap” of countries that accept projects that can not pay. Credit that according to one to study of US AidData amounts to at least $ 385 billion. That is why Beijing would be canceling the riskiest projects and canceling part of the debt of its partners.

We will see that this phase of adjustments is a symptom of the so-called imperial overextension of the coming years. The theory proposed by Paul Kennedy in 1987 on competition between powers in history, Theimperial excess it indicates a phase of expansion beyond its real military and economic capabilities, and today China should face its ambitions and the reality of the facts. Narratives of the expansion of security dialogue abroad seem to support this idea of ​​the rise of the great powers on Olympus. And China could not do so without getting its hands on the complex network of neighborhood relations in terms of security (at least for now regional). This is what many thought when, on April 21, 2022 at the Boao Forum for Asia, Xi Jinping launched the Global Security Initiative (GSI). A proposal that, even in its name, has ambitions that go beyond the Asian horizon. TO CONTINUE READING DISCOVER HOW TO GET THE EBOOK

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