BRI’s contribution to the world has been enormous over the past 8 years

A China-Europe freight train crosses a national gate at the Sino-Mongolian border in Erenhot, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Jan. 8, 2021. / Xinhua

A China-Europe freight train crosses a national gate at the Sino-Mongolian border in Erenhot, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Jan. 8, 2021. / Xinhua

Editor’s Note: Andrew Korybko is an American political analyst based in Moscow. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the CGTN.

It has been eight years since Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled his country’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the fall of 2013. months later. Since then, more than 200 cooperation agreements have been signed with 172 countries and international organizations. This resulted in $ 9.2 trillion in cumulative trade and $ 130 billion in Chinese foreign direct investment in the BRI.

President Xi said on November 19 that “the BIS should aim for high-level, sustainable and people-centered progress.” He was also quoted as saying that China should “actively respond to the challenges, use the advantages and avoid the disadvantages.” This is in line with the vision articulated in this month’s landmark resolution which was adopted at the sixth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee on November 11. In other words, the BIS will pragmatically continue to evolve with the times.

In and of itself, the eighth anniversary of the BRI is nothing special in itself, but the global context in which this occasion is commemorated makes it crucial to review all the progress made so far. Full-spectrum paradigm shift processes have been catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world is mired in uncertainty, with serious concerns about unleashing uncontrollable chaos. Everything is made worse by the disruptive efforts of the United States to maintain its declining hegemony.

The lack of responsible American leadership has created an opportunity for China to present the BRI as the indispensable multipolar alternative to guide the world through this unprecedented systemic transition. While the BRI began as a series of physical connectivity projects across the Eastern Hemisphere, it has since evolved into something much more. There are now digital, financial and health dimensions to this constantly evolving network of partnerships. The BIS also today has a truly global reach.

A worker manufactures inner and outer tires for bicycles and electric vehicles for export to countries along Belt and Highway Roads, at a factory in Suqian, eastern Jiangsu Province from China, August 21, 2021. / Getty

A worker manufactures inner and outer tires for bicycles and electric vehicles for export to countries along Belt and Highway Roads, at a factory in Suqian, eastern Jiangsu Province from China, August 21, 2021. / Getty

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It aims to create a community of common destiny for humanity by responsibly reforming the irreversible processes of globalization in order to make them more balanced, equitable and optimal for all. Because the BRI was initiated by the People’s Republic of China, which is the largest developing country, its very nature is very different from the previous model of globalization which was the spearhead of developed countries in the West.

Western-led globalization led to traditional imperialism through colonization, popularized despicable racist ideologies that spurred the slave trade, forcibly imposed exploitative and purely extractive economic models on others, contributed to the two world wars, evolved into contemporary neo-imperialist practices and actively worked to institutionalize the inequalities between the gold billion and the countries of the South. It is, without exaggeration, one of the greatest evils in the history of mankind.

Globalization led by the BIS is the opposite of its Western predecessors. It is anti-imperialist in both traditional and new forms of the model, economically liberates previously enslaved and discriminated people, it relies on voluntary agreements between all parties, it lacks any military component and actively works to reform globalization. in order to eventually achieve equality between the billion gold and the global South. The only commonality between these opposing models is their global reach and economic orientation.

These are not rhetorical observations either. For example, practitioners of Western-led globalization are accustomed to attaching political conditions to the economic and financial support they give to countries of the South. China, on the other hand, has never done such a thing. Indeed, it renegotiated certain BRI agreements with some of its partners in response to the external circumstances that they experienced. This responsible approach demystified the disinformation discourse of the “debt trap”.

There is hard evidence that the BRI has been mutually beneficial for all parties involved. Living standards are improving among many partners in southern China as two-way trade increases, Chinese investments in connectivity unleash the full economic potential of these countries, and training programs empower their citizens. The predictions of an African century to accompany the already discussed Asian century are entirely due to the impact the BRI has had on this entire continent mentioned first.

The BRI’s focus on the global expansion of South-South partnerships represents a milestone in the history of globalization. Until its creation, economic relations were one-sided. Western countries have occupied and colonized almost all non-Western peoples with a few exceptions. Those who escaped this fate, which even included the enslavement of some members of their population in many cases, were forced into unbalanced trade deals. In this historical context, the BRI is revolutionary.

It’s only been about eight years since its announcement, but BRI has already changed the world. It is more than a network of comprehensive partnerships led by the world’s largest developing country and today is a vision of the future for many. The BRI inspires the majority of the people of the world who live in the countries of the South to work for a better, more balanced and more equitable future. In every sense of the word, the BRI embodies a truly democratic model of socio-economic development.

Participation in its many projects is voluntary. Nothing is ever forced on anyone. Agreements are sometimes renegotiated in light of unforeseen circumstances so as not to be a burden. Everything aims to sustainably improve living standards (in particular thanks to the recent proliferation of green technologies through this global network), to empower people and make up for centuries of lost time. The miracles of BIS-led globalization are gradually cleaning the world from the evils of Western-led globalization.

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