The One Belt One Road is much more relevant with current geopolitical trends. Global economic architecture is the United States of America and China. These two nations will set the frame work of future global trade. China has been very strategic in its relationship and investments linking countries across nations on strategic infrastructure. China is prepared to take financial and political risks in these strategic investments. The US and Europe are currently unable to make the long term commitment.
These democratically elected nations are very fragile with no strong leaders for the long run. Many Asian and African leaders have started to “Look East Policy” and China has proven that it has risen from poverty to a wealthy nation in 30 years. Western nations rose with colonisation and with favourable trade terms to the colonisers. Today USA is on the new policy of “America First” this policy espoused by President Trump has reversed many American foreign and trade policies. America First policy has repealed many trade agreements and even NATO funding. This is providing China with a global footprint at the expense of America. This will have seismic shifts in global geopolitics.
The rise of China is inevitable. America must accept that China will be a big global player. America must also accept that nations are moving away from US influence. China and the US must find a working model where both will cooperate and grow, than distance themselves. It is expected that China and America will see the same picture but interpret it differently; they need to work on the areas that are disagreeable to each other’s interest.
It is the world’s interest and China’s interest to rise to global power status peacefully. China’s One Belt One Road policy is not without problems. China is pragmatic to realise that all the nations involved in the OBOR has different interests. China knows infrastructure facilitate trade, but trade does not necessarily facilitate infrastructure. China needs to manage nations along the OBOR path. Governments change and policies in these nations change along with elections.
In 2015 with the change of government in Sri Lanka a large infrastructure project called Colombo Port City was stopped for over a year. The project resumed after re negotiating the terms. Building infrastructure is easy, managing governments and the politics will be a headache.
With the establishment of the AIIB, China has paved the way for the funding of One Belt One Road Policy. Today there are 70 nations who have joined the OBOR initiative. China wants free trade and free movements of goods across borders with lesser tariff. China feels that America is getting protectionist; calling America “back to the Cold War mentality”.
Courtesy of www.ft.lk