China’s New Silk Road

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The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s effort to spread its exports and influence.

  • The Silk Road was a network of trade routes first built during China’s Han Dynasty in the third century BCE that connected China with the Middle East and Europe.
  • The routes altered not only the course of global trade, but connected people and cultures, leaving an indelible mark on world history. Today, there’s a lot of talk about China’s “new silk road.”
  • The Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, is a network of land corridors, shipping lanes, and multi-trillion dollar infrastructure projects intended to help China export to much of the world.
  • Leaders of Western liberal democracies, however, are concerned it’s not just Chinese goods that Beijing wishes to export, but the regime’s authoritarian worldview and influence.
  • In an effort to counteract the BRI, Europe and the United States have announced international infrastructure projects of their own.
  • This all means that, behind the construction of things like bridges and power plants across much of the globe, a quiet ideological clash is now unfolding.
Financial Times
Foreign Policy
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