All roads lead to China. This map details major stops along the “New Silk Road”, the popular name for China’s Belt Road Initiative, an infrastructure project without equal. The map includes roads, rail and sea lanes.The routes are meant to ease the transport of goods produced in China. The dotted lines are simplifications of multiple parallel routes (Image courtesy of NPR.)
While the U.S. dawdles with much needed domestic infrastructure upgrades, China is already engaged in a project so massive that it will tilt the Earth in its favor. The trillion-dollar Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is a plan for a web of transportation routes (road, rail, shipping lanes, more—all leading to China) that will be created or expanded over the next 30-plus years. The BRI’s main purpose is to facilitate trade. China, the world’s leading producer of exports, no longer wants to rely on slow moving boats to move its goods out.
Lost in Translation
BRI not ringing any bells? This development plan for a number of megaprojects was introduced in 2013 as the One Belt One Road (OBOR). The “belt” referred to the roads, and “roadm,” inexplicably, the sea lanes. It was renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the 2017 Belt and Road Forum(BARF? Really, guys?) in Beijing.
The U.S.—and most of the West—paid scant attention. Even now, as money and concrete are pouring into projects, the U.S. continues to draw inward, led with an “America First” ideology. By the time…