This Thursday and Friday, Beijing is hosting a second international forum on the Belt and Road Initiative, and it won’t be a small deal. The four weeks preceding this event have seen a surge of nations and institutions joining the BRI framework, beginning with Italy’s memorandum of understanding in March as the first member of the Group of Seven nations to join, followed soon thereafter by Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Weeks later, China won another victory by consolidating billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure deals with the 16+1 Central and Eastern European Nations that have signed on to the BRI. This particular forum was especially important as it saw Greece join the alliance, changing the name to the 17+1 group. Greece’s official participation in this bloc extended the group beyond its nominal “central and eastern” geographical limits, and the importance of Greece – whose Port of Piraeus and emerging rail infrastructure funded by China – provide a key bridge in the Maritime New Silk Road to Europe.
If that wasn’t enough, China participated in the April 9-10 International Arctic Forum in Russia where the first treaty was signed between Moscow and Beijing on scientific cooperation in the Arctic, and sweeping agreements were made around Chinese-Russian infrastructure development on a policy that has become known as the “Polar Silk Road” – again extending the limits of the BRI beyond its “east-west framework.” Just as the Arctic conference was ending, an unprecedented Canadian Arctic Policy Report was publicized calling for a transformation of Canada’s Arctic doctrine toward a pro-development orientation in response to the “changing geopolitical rules” initiated by Russia and China.
While China and Russia consolidated the BRI-Eurasian Economic Union treaty in June 2018, a major leap was announced toward the finalization of a China-Eurasian Economic Partnership, with the Chinese Commerce Ministry’s deputy director of Eurasian affairs, Wang Kaixuan, stating on April 19:
“Now it has to be endorsed by the specialized agencies. China has already completed its internal procedures. We are now waiting for our Russian counterparts, after that we can immediately start the negotiations. I believe that will happen soon.”
From April 15-16, China initiated a sweeping array of treaties with Arab countries during the second Arab Forum on Reform and Development under the heading “Build the Belt and Road, Share Development and Prosperity.” The Arab nations already have more than US$200 billion worth of annual trade with China and 18 Arab countries have signed MOUs with the BRI.
China’s capacity to bring long term infrastructure to nations torn by Western-funded wars and regime change is seen as a vital stabilizing influence not only to alleviate poverty and de-radicalize but also to provide a framework for genuine independence from Western intrigues. Commenting on the forum, the president of Lebanon stated, “The Arab countries have huge markets. We regard China as a good friend and are willing to further consolidate the relationship with China. We would like to draw the experience from China’s reform and development so as to benefit our people and seek our opportunities for development.”
Rather than embrace this new potential, Western “old paradigm” forces representing the entrenched deep state have screamed and hollered against the “dangers of China and Russia threatening our democratic way of life.” Exemplifying this outlook was The Washington Post’s April 20 feature article “How Washington can beat China’s global influence campaign,” calling for an “alternative to the BRI” controlled by the Western elite. This plan is entirely absurd, since America has not only permitted its own infrastructure and productive powers to rot for 50 years, but has created no relevant infrastructure that has benefited nations abroad during that same time frame. All that has been created under decades of lending by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that has meant debt slavery, impoverishment, and a $700 billion derivatives bubble that is ripe to explode.
Although great efforts were made over two years by the Five Eyes/Mueller-led witch hunt to destroy the potential alliance US President Donald Trump was proposing to form with Russia and China, the now published Mueller report turned out to be little more than a goose egg, failing to prove any of the claims of Russian collusion. Jumping off that victory, Trump called loudly on April 5 for a conversion of vast military expenditures that only risk World War III toward a program of long-term investments among Russia, China and the US:
“Between Russia, China and us, we’re all making hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including nuclear, which is ridiculous.… I think it’s much better if we all got together and didn’t make these weapons … those three countries I think can come together and stop the spending and spend on things that are more productive toward long-term peace.”
Going into this week’s BRI Forum (titled “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”), 5,000 participants, including 37 heads of state and 100 heads of organizations, will discuss the mega-projects that will give vitality to the coming century with the Chinese leadership and business community. There is no doubt that the collapse of the trans-Atlantic banking system will be on everyone’s mind as opportunities to tie our destiny to long-term projects that benefit all nations will be presented as open offers for all to join. Will the West follow Italy’s and Greece’s lead by joining the BRI, or continue to party like it’s 2008?