Biden Wants a Rival to China’s Belt and Road
Hilarious. Good luck with that.
Of course, a US-led competitor to Belt and Road already exists, except without all the funding, November 2019:
Now finally comes what might be described as the institutional American response to Belt and Road: the Blue Dot Network.
Blue Dot is described, officially, as promoting global, multi-stakeholder “sustainable infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.”
It is a joint project of the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, in partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
Now compare it with what just happened this same week at the inauguration of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
As Xi stressed: “To date, China has signed 197 documents on Belt and Road cooperation with 137 countries and 30 international organizations.”
This is what Blue Dot is up against – especially across the Global South. Well, not really. Global South diplomats, informally contacted, are not exactly impressed. They might see Blue Dot as an aspiring competitor to BRI, but one that’s moved by private finance – mostly, in theory, American.
They scoff at the prospect that Blue Dot will include some sort of ratings mechanism that will be positioned to vet and downgrade Belt and Road projects. Washington will spin it as a “certification” process setting “international standards” – implying Belt and Road is sub-standard. Whether Global South nations will pay attention to these new ratings is an open question.
It’s more of an anti-Chinese slander campaign than a real infrastructure fund in its own right. Biden claims he wants to change that (not that he’s in a position to put up any real money):
Speaking to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, President Biden suggested that the US and its allies should pursue a massive infrastructure plan to compete with China’s Belt and Road initiative.
“We talked about China and the competition they’re engaging in in the Belt and Road Initiative,” Biden told reporters after the call. “And I suggested we should have, essentially, a similar initiative coming from the democratic states.”
The Belt and Road initiative is an ambitious project that was launched by Beijing in 2013. It stretches from East Asia to Europe, and most of Washington’s European and NATO allies are involved in the project. The Trump administration discouraged its allies from participating in the project but did not have much success.
Biden’s suggestion to Johnson came after his first press conference that was held Thursday, where he vowed that he would not allow China to become the world’s “leading” country. “China has an overall goal … to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch,” he said. [Because your watch isn’t going to be all that long?]
Using Cold War-style language, Biden painted US competition with China as a battle between democracy and autocracy. “I predict to you, your children or grandchildren are going to be doing their doctoral thesis on the issue of who succeeded: autocracy or democracy? Because that is what is at stake, not just with China,” he said.
Well if the Empire wants to run, what all too often amounts to an ill-conceived giveaway to the Third World, it is welcome to do so. However, I suspect the Imperials will not be quite as generous as the image-conscious Chinese have been. They certainly haven’t proven such in their running of the IMF, which has frequently squeezed countries to breaking point and beyond over a few pitiful millions.
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