One world under China? Beijing rolls out BRI initiative; U.S. can’t agree on renewing its own infrastructure

Screen shot from CCTV News.

 

The Belt and Road Initiative is the vanguard for Beijing’s reach for global power. It may not work, given all the imponderables of a project on this scale, not to mention conflicting interests with nations along its route. But at least the Chinese are showing the kind of social energy necessary to achieve great things. Do Americans still have that trait?

The state-owned press in China was all aglow about President Xi Jinping’s address to the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Xinhua proclaimed how “Many overseas experts and scholars have praised” it. Towards the end of his remarks, President Xi brought up his pet project; recreating the ancient Silk Road that once linked Imperial China to Europe through Central Asia and the Middle East. He proclaimed, “Commitment of the Belt and Road Forum is highly compatible with the goal of the G20” and should be seen as part of a “new and inclusive globalization.” The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation had been held in Beijing, May 14-15. It attracted 29 heads of state (including Russian President Vladimir Putin) and representatives of 130 other countries (including the U.S.), plus the leaders of 70 international organizations, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Continue reading

AIIB Gaining Momentum Into 2016

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Caption: Chinese President Xi Jinping (front center) poses with the delegates attending the signing ceremony for the Articles of Agreement of the AIIB on June 29, 2015. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

China’s latest economic weapon

Entering 2016, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (aiib) is preparing to take leaps and bounds. The rise of this bank should have the world, and particularly the United States, on high alert. The success of the aiib heralds the dawn of a new era in Asia—one increasingly influenced by China.

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America’s crucial credibility abroad declines with the loss of trust — and respect

The retrenchment of U.S. foreign policy under Barack Obama is triggering major changes in relations with formerly stout allies around the globe.

In Europe, Asia and the Middle East, trust in the Obama administration among U.S. allies is at an all-time low and reflected in numerous policy decisions, undermining one the America’s most important foreign policy assets.

For the United States, relationships with the United Kingdom, Japan and Israel have plummeted. The result is the pursuit by these nations of policies that are much less supportive than in the past of U.S. leadership and foreign policy priorities.

In the United Kingdom, David Cameron and his Conservative Party have just won re-election by a surprisingly large margin. The prime minister’s relationship with President Obama is best described as “proper” but there are no close personal ties like those that marked relationships between past U.S. presidents and UK counterparts. Continue reading

Putin undeterred by $32 billion in capital flight, continues assault on dollar’s role

Fearing the collapse of the Russian financial system and burdensome Western sanctions in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, investors and businesses moved more than $32.6 billion in assets outside of Russia, primarily to offshore accounts, in the first quarter of 2015, according to reports.

Capital flight has several negative effects on the Russian economy, including the loss of tax revenue and the reduction in funding available for investment.

Lack of investment funding also delays attempts to modernize the economy. The Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and short-term forecasts assesses that investment activity is down 20 percent since 2013. Continue reading

Cabinet approves Australia signing on to China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank

Federal cabinet has approved Australia signing a “memorandum of understanding” on joining the China-led $US100 billion Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Two cabinet sources have confirmed the matter was discussed on Monday night, as foreshadowed by Fairfax Media last Friday, just days after the national security committee of cabinet cleared the way. Continue reading