Thursday, July 23, 2015


Of Silk Roads and the U.S.A.

Pepe Escobar has been reporting for some time now on developments in the Far East, among other places. Keeping tabs on Mr. Escobar is a good way to keep tabs on everything "China", including several promising Silk Road initiatives. His latest article for my favorite blogger gives the following enticing summary:

Thanks to a set of cross-pollinating political institutions, investment funds, development banks, financial systems, and infrastructure projects that, to date, remain largely under Washington’s radar, a free-trade Eurasian heartland is being born. It will someday link China and Russia to Europe, Southwest Asia, and even Africa. It promises to be an astounding development. Keep your eyes, if you can, on the accumulating facts on the ground, even if they are rarely covered in the American media. They represent the New Great -- emphasis on that word -- Game in Eurasia.

However I don't think these initiatives, as he asserts, lie largely under Washington’s radar. Washington is well aware of them and though it may currently not know if it should thwart or join them, I believe the latter choice will wisely prevail in the long run. To cite a recent Brookings paper:

Many major economies in Asia, such as Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam want to be part of both Chinese initiatives (the AIIB and the “One Belt, One Road”) and the American-led effort to reduce trade barriers.
There is a risk that the competing initiatives of China and the United States will lead to regional blocs and a disintegration of trade, but it is more likely that Sino-American competition will lead to strengthened institutions and deeper integration throughout Asia-Pacific.

Read both articles in their entirety.

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