The “One Belt One Road,” also known as the “New Silk Road” and “Maritime Silk Road,” is the most ambitious development initiative in the history of the world, seeking to build a global infrastructure network that is inclusive of the Developing World and Emerging Economies.
Over the next few decades this initiative will involve a massive use of concrete, steel, chemicals, and base metals. Hundreds of thousands of workers and expanded transport will be required to build new power stations, mines, energy projects, roads, railways, airports and container ports. Additionally, China has committed to lead this initiative with Green financing. And while this initiative is going on, Washington has opted to not participate, and rather invest its public resources to militarily and politically obstruct this plan.
In the west, corporate “state” media refers to OBOR as a new Marshall Plan that would put China as the new hegemonic global power. The reality, however is that China’s President Xi Jinping has emphasized the “THREE NOs:
- No interference in the internal affairs of other nations;
- Does not seek to increase the so called “sphere of influence;”
- Does not strive for hegemony or dominance.
There are very compelling geopolitical reasons for China and the other BRICS economies to be pursing OBOR, and much of it has evolved as a defense of the exclusionary and bullying free-trade programs initiated by Washington and Wall St known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TISA). These programs seek to circumvent the incompatible objectives between the Advanced Economies and Developing Countries/Emerging Economies in the WTO’s stalled Doha Development Round, in favor of Wall Street’s financial and investment rules. These rules include privatization of resources and liberalizing regulations across broad trade sectors that would impact agricultural, environmental, labor, and health regulations. The agenda for these US driven agreements seek to benefit Global Corporate Governance, providing industries and the 1% with even more control over global resources, while for the developing countries the One Belt One Road initiatives allow for State-controlled operations and protections in investments and enterprises.
The One Belt One Road is pursuing three main goals that are incompatible with the regional integration objectives pursued by the TPP, TTIP and TISA. These include economic diversification, political stability, and the development of a multipolar global order (opposed to the Wall St and Washington led unipolar order that led to the collapse of the global financial system and astronomical disparity of wealth distribution in the world).
Since the promotion of OBOR and the founding of BRICS with the Fortaleza Declaration signed in 2014, Washington has been involved in the promotion of destabilization campaigns that have not only actively initiated regime change in the BRICS aligned countries like Brazil, Argentina, Honduras, Ukraine, Libya, while attempting regime change in Venezuela, Syria, Ethiopia, Yemen, South Africa– to name but a few–but they have also actively pursued military initiatives that would undermine existing treaties and agreements, like those in the South China Sea and along Russia’s border. CIA financed insurgencies have also terrorized weaker governments with threats of destabilization along the access routes of this OBOR development initiative.
The BRICS-led institutions created a New Development Bank, a new International Reserve Fund (Contingency Reserve Arrangement), and the new Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)– countering the unfair arrangements for country financing promoted by the World Bank, the IMF, and the Asian Development Bank, respectively. Since the founding of these new institutions, the World Bank is in the midst of reforming, the IMF has included the Renminbi as part of its basket of reserve currencies, and the AIIB has attracted the participation of western countries despite Washington’s attempts to block their support.
Historically, the term the “Silk Road” was coined by German scholar Ferdinand von Richtofen in the 19th century, and the route actually had many branches.
Between the 2nd century BCE to the 15th century, the original Silk Road trade routes tied together commerce, thought, art and innovation of the East and the West. It helped spawn the European age of exploration and the growth of Chinese culture. The trade on the Silk Road also saw the massive construction of the Great Wall. In addition to holding back invasions, the purpose of the Great Wall of China was to help protect trade through the Takla Makan desert.
This US-led obstruction and containment policy must end. The fate of the world rests with sane more equitable policy. There is a global mandate for the US to surrender it’s unipolar hold on the world and begin to work with the new multipolarity that is being built within the new international BRICS-led institutions. The US needs to revise its policy objectives to conform to all the multilateral climate and development initiatives and environmental regulatory agreements that are in need of enforcement. The neoliberal vision of privatization and corporate governance needs to end. The neocon objectives for advancing free markets through militarization needs to end.
The neoliberal-neoconservative vision has no imagination for peace, equity, or sustainability, it only promotes fragility, conflict and violence.