The Belt&Road Initiative (BRI), which was announced in 2013 and has since been expanded to cover almost the entire world, is a crucial pillar of China’s ambition to become a major global power not only economically but also politically. It thus has a central role in the escalating confrontation with the United States and the European Union.
My book “Der Lange Marsch 2.0. Chinas Neue Seidenstraßen als Entwicklungsmodell”, published in summer 2018 (VSA-Verlag), provides an introduction to the complex and controversial discussions about what strategy China’s government is pursuing with BRI and beyond. An updated English translation is now also available (“China’s Long March 2.0”).
Since then, I have written numerous other articles that are posted on this blog, supplemented by guest posts. They mainly focus on the intersections between China’s economic and political expansion, its geopolitical implications, and the consequences for the countries of the Global South – between economic development and political dependencies.
- From free rider to train driverThe pull-out of their armed forces by the U.S. and other NATO allies, the escalation of violence, and the spectre of Taliban rule have triggered a flurry of diplomatic activity by neighbouring countries, including India, Pakistan and Iran, Russia and China. Fuelling just as much speculation is how the new situation might unfold. After all, the withdrawal will make the country an epicentre for regional power struggles.
- Newsletter June 2021Contents: Blog post on ‘Build Back Better World’, the US-copy of BRI; European bailout for Montenegro; Call for boycott of Myanmar’s jade industry; Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Europe in 2020; Chinas technological influence in Southeast Asia through the Digital Silk Road; Environmental Authoritarianism: Review of ‘China goes green’ by Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro.
- B3W: New Highway to HeavenThe label for the multilateral copy of China’s New Silk Roads recently announced at the G7 summit by U.S. President Biden is gruesome: Build Back Better World, or B3W. As a “values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership” it is to compete with China’s infrastructure activities. So far, however, B3W is merely an anaemic PR product.
- Newsletter May 2021Contents: Blog posts on Europe’s geopolitical ghost ride in the Indo-Pacific; “Debt diplomacy” as a popular refrain in the intensifying debate about China’s economic and political expansion. A new book on ‘how a former socialist country rescues world capitalism’; Reviews of Jonathan Hillman’s book ‘The Emperor’s New Road’ and a study on ‘social risks to sustainable development’ in China’s BRI.
- My borrowers, your borrowersThe narrative of Chinese “debt diplomacy” is rather simplistic: Lending by state-owned banks is not transparent, encourages corruption, and serves primarily Chinese corporations, it goes. This would lead inevitably into a debt trap. It appears as if Beijing’s policy is fundamentally different from the practices of international financial institutions, governments of Western industrialized countries or large commercial banks.
- Indo-Pacific: Europe’s geopolitical ghost rideIt may sound like a matter of routine: The German frigate ‘Bayern’ is about to set sail and spend several months cruising in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. The Defense Ministry merely wants to see this just as a “sign” to fly the flag where Germany’s “values and interests are affected”. However, behind this there is a fundamental paradigm shift.