(Eye opening article by David Ignatius. While we are busy analyzing Trump’s tweets, China is moving ahead with its far reaching ambitious plan for Eurasia, spending one trillion dollars on the project-One Belt One Road and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.f. sheikh)
Trump’s “America first” strategy has facilitated China’s buildup, unintentionally. The administration’s rhetoric on fair trade has been strong, but the actual gains have been modest. Meanwhile, Trump has shredded the Trans-Pacific Partnership and stepped back from other U.S.-led alliances — opening the way for China’s new network of global institutions, including the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) plan for Eurasian trade and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to finance Chinese-led projects.
The scope of China’s challenge to the American-led order is described in two unpublished and unclassified studies commissioned by the Air Force.
One study argues that China’s Eurasian reach is beyond that of the 1947 Marshall Plan, which cemented American power in postwar Europe. The report estimates that the OBOR framework would provide up to $1 trillion in Chinese support for more than 64 countries, while the Marshall Plan provided about $150 billion in current dollars, mostly to six countries. The report describes OBOR as “a program of unprecedented size and scope with the strategic intent of constructing a Chinese-led regional order in Eurasia.”
China is building the infrastructure of power. The study describes, for example, how Beijing is financing a string of ports in the Indian Ocean region, including in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Burma, Djibouti, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. The proposed investment is nearly $250 billion.
China has also invested $13.6 billion in Greece, buying control of the port of Piraeus and big shares of Greek utilities and fiber-optics companies. “Greece serves as a strategic beachhead for China into Europe,” notes the report.
The Asian infrastructure bank, meanwhile, has approved $16 billion in projects in 10 countries, including long-standing U.S. allies such as Egypt, India and Oman. And the Chinese are building rail lines to Europe and every part of Asia, allowing them to bypass U.S.-controlled sea lanes. China already has 40 rail routes to nine European countries.
American dominance has been built partly on the primacy of our scientific and technological laboratories, which have drawn the best and brightest from around the world. But the Chinese are challenging here, too. China is building at least 50 joint-venture science and technology labs with OBOR countries and plans over the next five years to train up to 5,000 foreign scientists, engineers and managers, the study notes.