China’s aim may be more geo-economic than geo-political in celebrating the BRI with the ambition of energising developed countries
In a fractured world divided by walls, both physical and figurative, two wars are taking their economic and devastating human toll. Amidst the rising threats posed to the world order by the conflicts, the two superpowers, standing apart on either side of the divide as clear leaders, are hyper-busy in gathering their friends and allies together.
On the one side is China which made it a twin celebration in hosting a summit to mark 10 years of supremo Xi Jinping’s signature project — The Belt and Road Initiative — and invited his friend Russian President Vladimir Putin as the chief guest. No matter that Mr Putin is presiding over a long-term war in attempted invasion of neighbouring Ukraine; Russia is still China’s “no-limits partner”.
On the other side is US President Joe Biden stepping up to a traditional American role of defender of democracy. In a rare, impassioned plea from his Oval Office, the 80-year-old leader of the free world is asking his country to put up its hand in both conflicts to come up with billions in military aid as otherwise it would result in “more chaos and death and more destruction”.
At no time could the world in the most modern era have felt that it was standing on the edge of a precipice, wondering who would be in a position to declare themselves the winner and who would suffer as the loser even as armaments manufacturers go laughing all the way to the bank with missiles flying and bombs dropping on the innocents who are dying more than the invaders or the terrorists.
China’s aim may be more geo-economic than geo-political in celebrating the BRI as it kicks on with the ambition of energising emerging and developed countries along its new “Silk Route”. But it is also political influence over more than half the world that it seeks and towards which it is even prepared to soften its debt trap policy if that will help it gain the tag of the biggest superpower, as a builder more than military defender.
It might be difficult to explain the current redrawing of geopolitics to the stricken Ukrainian or Israeli citizen, or the It might be difficult to explain the current redrawing of geopolitics to the stricken Ukrainian or Israeli citizen, or the beleaguered Palestinians who are blood-shedding victims of war. While the democracies, besides an outlier in the UAE, are standing by Israel and Ukraine, there are others willing to be on the other side of the metaphorical wall. Such is a divided world.