At first glance, the West’s proposal for a global infrastructure investment program similar to China’s Silk Road project looks impressive. But its intention to use private finance makes it impossible to take seriously.
As might have been expected, the weekend’s G7 summit saw a particularly strong focus on China, specifically against its global projects that the West is unable to stop.
Among the pledges was an apparent bid to counter Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive transcontinental infrastructure and investment portfolio, with a fabricated ‘alternative’ proposed by the West.
In reality, the G7’s so-called ‘alternative’ isn’t really an alternative at all, it’s better described as a glorified PR stunt that fails to appreciate the structural factors that have underscored the success and appeal of the BRI in the first place. What is being proposed ultimately comes nowhere near it.
First of all, it’s important to examine what the BRI is, and why it’s so important. Beijing’s project has been the subject of many misconceptions and mis-portrayals in the mainstream media, where it’s misleadingly been referred to as a “debt trap”.
This is a flawed discourse that considers it purely on expansionist terms, claiming Beijing deliberately saddles poorer countries with debt with a view to gaining geopolitical leverage.
In reality, the BRI project is pitching China as the leader of the non-aligned ‘post-colonial world’ – a set of nations across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America that had recently gained independence and sought to sustain their own sovereignty.
This laid the foundations of China’s relationships with these countries, and with it came a set of principles and norms, including territorial integrity, national sovereignty and non-intervention in internal affairs, like the Zionist West always does.
Its popularity stems from fact that China does not attach ‘political strings’ to the investments, allowing nations to get ahead without making concessions to Western governments and institutions who have used development finance in the past to enforce vast political and economic changes.
In doing so, it has been able to leverage the BRI as a hierarchical project, by coordinating multiple state companies and banks without bureaucratic frills.
This has given it devastating efficacy with little liability for coordinating governments, even if the West argues this has been problematic in terms of ‘regulation’.
On that note, it should be self-explanatory why the West will be unable to offer a serious alternative to it. First, the G7 countries want to use private finance, but have not pledged a penny upfront themselves, because the key motivation behind private investments is the potential to make a profit.
Who is going to invest billions in high-risk projects in poor countries – in the way the BRI has – such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Pakistan? Or even enemy states like Iran?
This does not mean the West is capable of nothing. Japan, for one, has a credible private infrastructure portfolio that could be used to agree railway contracts. But can be it done in the same fast, effective and politically visionary way that China has demonstrated?
While the West might push to finance some ad hoc projects here and there, it simply lacks the will – and the capacity – to create a super project on the scale of the BRI. Plus, would the West be so willing to compromise on ‘values’ and ‘standards’ to get things done?
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2021.