The nationalistic China Dream represents the ambitious choreography of the Chinese Communist Party. Sino-centrism is apparent in the original formulation of “One Belt, One Road,” a phrase subsequently replaced after it became apparent that other actors might want a voice in determining their destinies. The more ambiguous “Belt and Road Initiative” still appears a means by which China may dominate twenty first-century global supply chains by leveraging its advantages in foreign exchange reserves and surplus industrial capacity.
The Belt and Road Initiative also needs to be placed in a strategic and not just economic context. Xi Jinping may tout infrastructure to attract others to rally behind Beijing, but his open quest for military modernization will repel many worried about China’s future intentions. Small countries whose leaders are subject to foreign influence may buy into long-term indebtedness and foreign policy bandwagoning. But most sovereign states will wish to hedge their future security through economic diversification
and networked security.
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