Meanwhile the US is seems to be played by everyone from the outside and tearing itself apart from the inside. It seems like we aren't only losing the fight for global hegemony but barely actively taking part.
The Brits tried to crush the cultures of their conquered nations through violence and forced indoctrination. If you want to compare that to something in American history, see the treatment of natives. Today there is no real comparison. That’s not to excuse the many downsides of the current U.S. system, but comparing it to the British empire is facetious.
Right, and I ignored the morality of both and focused on the massive practical differences. So what’s the problem? They are manifestly different in almost every way, except possibly for aspects of the moral dimension which were both agreeing to ignore.
Expensive, prestigious, and dubiously 'worth it' in terms of profitability.
The entire point of this story and many like it is to make people ignore anything concrete and think US dominance is in question. They don't accurately report the worldwide situation, and they wouldn't even begin to question whether continuing the US form of neocolonialism is a good idea. They just create small pockets of fear that someday some other country may treat the US like the US has treated them.
We've actually shot ourselves in the foot with a shotgun in the last few years. We're doing everything we can to cripple ourselves and let other powers take over.
Rome by comparison took 700 years to grow, and 200-plus to collapse
It would be better to treat the British Empire and the United States as two forms of the same empire, as they both speak the same language The capital of the empire simply moved from London to Washington via an internal revolution, a process that's happened many times in the past, e.g. Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, St Petersburg to Moscow, Xian to Hangzhou, Kyoto to Tokyo. So the British Empire/United States reached a peak after 400 years, and is now declining for perhaps a few hundred.
By comparison, when Rome fell apart (which admittedly took some time), the standard of living was objectively much worse for average Romans. They went from a civilization with plumbing, toilets, cities, aqueducts, a Coliseum with water shows, and probably the highest standard of living in the world, and a society with specialization of labor, education, rule of law and a well-developed legal system, to feudalism, where they lived under feudal lords as uneducated serfs living in huts and working in fields. It took over 1000 years for western society to get back to the level of technology and development they had under the Romans.
These are not inevitable problems. Our politicians just don't understand the difference between land and capital and have undermined U.S. efforts to promote land reform in Asia after it worked so well in Japan.
The US and Europe squashed home grown communism mostly through things like social security, unemployment insurance, and a helping of good old propaganda. Yet, we where suckered into fighting ideology on foreign soil with military force.
I don’t think it was obvious at the time, but going forward we need to learn from these mistakes.
Korean War can be viewed North Korea as a separate country attacking South Korea, or a civil war. But, Vietnam war (including invasion of Cambodia) and a host of South American wars where much more clearly started as civil wars with Forein support not really invasions.
PS: Afghanistan is something of a wash with the US also invading the country.
What China is doing is modern colonization through loans and I can only see it backfire.
It's a great scheme though, but at least Rome owned the places where it builded roads.
Edit: downvotes, please comment why. I'll rather discuss :)
I'm not sure the Chinese strategy will work or if they'll see enough growth to support it. It's quite scary. I think I'd much rather prefer US bases to Chinese loans.
It's more likely an excuse for investments along the road. Bait and switch
Which, unless blimps take over soon, will be until the advent of the space elevator.
Economic power (and that also buys you political influence) comes from the size of the economy. The size of the economy enables military power.
China (and India) have 4x the US' population. China's land area is the same as the US'. It's simply a matter of time for them to be more powerful economically than the US, and then it's really up to them to also topple the US militarily.
I think its promoters have some funny ideas about what Dubai is and why people go there
So combine that with it's oil wealth and a lot of dollars sloshing around to begin with - they have created a zone that attracts zillions of ill gotten dollars, a lot of it related to oil.
Since the mid 20th century there has been some transparency on resource extraction among nation states, like the US, UK tc. Then regional nationalist leaders have sought to take those over 'for the people'. But in reality those leaders are often more corrupt than their colonial overlords.
So they, shady bankers, and all sorts of actors need to do their banking somewhere.
When you hear about the Afghani Army General who is not paid very much is actually a millionaire, where do you think he keeps is money?
'Cleaned' dirty money makes it's way to London, Switzerland or Hong Kong, but while it's obviously attached to someone or there is no legal cover, it sits in places Dubai.
And FYI all of that money drives a lot of 'legit' expansion, particularly in real estate.
"But Oliver Bullough says it doesn't make sense to look at the world that way. He's a British journalist and he has written a new book: Moneyland. That's what he calls a hidden economy where shell companies and offshore accounts shelter wealth from taxation and scrutiny."
At some point soon, shouldn't the ability to grow the economy 6-10% a year become impossible?
I am not going to argue if the Trump tariffs on China are good or bad. But they might force some companies to explore alternative manufactuing facilities with countries friendlier to the US. Apple looking at india as a possible move and some other large companies i have seen articles that are exploring the possibiliy.
This is the problem with being dependant on other countries. China desperately needs exports to sustain their growth as a nation. U.S. needs China because we are use to overbuying cheap goods, however it goes back to supply and demand, if their are other suppliers it places the entity on the demand side in a much safer place. Just my opinion, i am not an economics guy so i am probably wrong.
I didnt think someone as big as apple would consider moving production (and they might not). But given the chilly relations of our two countries and the less chilly relations we have with India it is not to hard to imagine things changing.
I guess we will see in the coming months, i can't do anything, i am just along for the ride.
Even saying our relations with India are better than China is a bit misleading. The USA always backed Pakistan in any of their wars, while India was always the canonical third-world country that prefers Migs to F16s.
And not Apple, but it's supplier Foxconn is shifting production to India.
It's rational economic impetus, and probably a 'good idea' for the Chinese.
Frankly, it may be good for many more than the Chinese.
a) Other nations will be connected
b) It can be 'two way' as well.
Just like the UK, and later the US controls the high seas for the benefit of every merchant, and developed important projects like the Panama Canal and ensures everyone, even economic competitors have access (Russian, Iranian warships through the Suez during peacetime, even though the US has de-facto control), China is to some extent doing the same.
The Belt-and-Road is 'what China needs' but it will also be beneficial to others so long as it does not get politically messy.
Looking at China’s stated “One Belt, One Road” initiative, is it feasible this could expand?
Soecifically, to include: “One Platform, One Network”
By that I mean the deep integration and alignment between the Chinese government and BAT(Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) enabling a shift from rising Superpower to Superplatform primacy.
Superplatform > Superpower
Geodigital > Geopolitical
Exorbitant Data(superplatform) > Exorbitant Privilege(currency)
Network Effects based thinking > Kinetic Effects based thinking
US/FAANG appear to be cannibalising each other and in constant conflict with the US government and potentially less competitive in a relative, clinical, and Machiavellian sense with China/BAT.
Could we see a war for superplatform primacy?
Currently, I don't see it happening. The greatest interest is in duplicating the great firewall.
Then some competition for payment systems exists, but it's currently based on giving Chinese expats an alternative payment method.
A.I. will have an advantage in China because of the extreme adoption. But I don't see worldwide adoption because of the language barrier. The world speaks English currently, which is a huge influencer/barrier.
They are trying to change things with Chinese universities.
Not sure where it will end.
But does the integration of China/BAT offer an opportunity for China to inject it’s near 100% ubiquity of its domestic platforms onto its trading partners via debt trap diplomacy?
Does the incredibly high level of Chinese government/commercial platform integration and ubiquity provide a competitive advantage with the bottom half of the planet over the US/FAANG?
Would the extension of China/BAT to developing world countries with less than stellar records of freedom and Nd human rights provide a platform for both growth and sustainment of power?
Racism in China is extreme and as soon as the outsiders leave China for that reason, the cookie will crumble. Chinese only look out for themselves
Rather than China seizing infrastructure collateral for debt trap loans instead China compels governments to push for ubiquity of a China/BAT superplatform, say "WeChat+" thru which all local government services and commerce will be conducted.
Also concurrently providing outsourced support for local regime continuity due to persistent surveillance provide by a "WeChat+" platform integrated with local and Chinese government.
You are forgetting that the WTO was already asked by multiple countries for help. There are other options than China ;)
The source of the money is partially already from Europe and America. China borrows a lot of money too.
Edit: updated wayer -> water
Then there's the technical problem of rail trans-shipment across different gauges. I wonder at what point it makes economic sense to rebuild several thousand miles of trans-Siberian railway.
While that's true of South and South-East Asian low-paid workers, I'm under the impression that neither of those is particularly true of Dubai in a more general case?
Correct. For investors and businesspeople, getting in and out of as well as around the Emirates is intentionally easy.
1. It's asking me a question. Don't ask me a question.
2. It doesn't add anything new or informative. Pretty much a rehash of everything that's been stated repeatedly for the past 8 years.
3. Boring standard propaganda. It's interesting how the BRI is covered by pro-china, anti-china and "neutral" ( if possible ) propaganda organizations.
4. Written like an annoying travel diary than an article.
5. Article by Ben Mauk who obviously has insights to khazakstan or china right? In a world that "is more connected than ever before", the nytimes couldn't find anyone other than some guy from europe to report on this? Does the nytimes hire an indonesian journalist to cover brexit?
6. Nothing gained from reading the article. Are we any closer to answering the question? Did we learn anything new? Other than Abaiuly is a handsome liaison to opinion makers and potential investors?
You'd find more insight and "truth" watching youtube vlogs/reports/etc from the locals/travels or even finding these people on gaming chats and talking to them directly.
It is correct that the silk road isn't an actual route but a bunch of routes that changed throughout history. Historically, it was more of an idea of a connection and trade between the civilizations of china, india and the middle east. But the idea that it wasn't controlled or administered by anyone is simply not true. Whatever empires that controlled the region ( most famously the mongol empire ) controlled and administered these routes.
We ( and the british before us ) have shown that naval power and naval trade routes define global economic and political strength. Rather than china's overland silk road ambitions, I'd be more focused on their naval trade route ambitions. Especially if global warming opens up the northwest passage or the arctic siberian passage.
That may or may not be a fair assessment, but I'm not really convinced. This is a New York Times Magazine article with flashy pictures. It's entertainment for people who are interested in geopolitics. It's not Ben Mauk's fault that he's an American and his piece shot to the front page of Hacker News.
What I think you're looking for is a really good Wikipedia article or research study on BRI.
Unless you can expand on why this piece is "propaganda" or what exactly the article got wrong, why not enjoy the piece (or not) as a travel diary with the BRI as a broad geopolitical context?
Because it does not market itself as such. It makes some bold claim to answer a question that's probably interesting to a lot of people follwing BRI-developments. Instead it's 'I've visited the Kazakhstan-China border and talked to a few people', but I guess that headline doesn't attract as many clicks.
EDIT: Not the GP and I don't want to claim that this is propaganda.
I don't know about you, but I react a lot differently to information presented in that format as opposed to something like this: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/business/china-foreign-po...
And that's the crux of the problem. This entertainment geopolitics is no longer confined to just places like the NYTimes magazine. It has basically blended in with all "journalism" today because it's great for engagement. In the best case scenario, the hallmarks of good journalism like informing the reader with facts and being impartial are mere afterthoughts.
Again, I think it would be really valuable to point out the facts or "spin" that the author got wrong here. Please do this if you have an issue with the article not being impartial or getting facts wrong.
As all of your critiques are premised on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the work at issue, I would respectfully suggest that you reassess your critique in light of this (new?) information.
1. It's smug and self-indulgent
2. It doesn't add anything new or informative
3. Boring standard whining
Interesting theory that only people of a certain race should cover that race. I guess this has been wrong with journalism for many centuries. I wouldn't even have realized that an Indonesian covering Brexit would be wrong, I'd be more interested in their relevant experience, knowledge, and sources to be honest.
It's a good point that this material has been covered before. Shame to see more than one article ever on a topic.
Also a great point that China's naval ambitions are also a story worth covering. I agree that it is journalistical malpractice to cover the massive continent spanning belt and road initiative at all when naval power is more important according to your extensive analysis.
Rhetorical questions are definitely just always wrong, thanks for pointing that out and then using 5 of them yourself.