China’s belt and road isn’t like the Marshall Plan, but Beijing can still learn from it

Tempo de leitura: menos de 1 minuto

Once an exemplary student of globalisation encouraged to be a “responsible stakeholder” in international affairs, China is increasingly portrayed in the West as a “strategic competitor” or worse, a dangerous threat to the survival of the rules-based international order.

China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is one of the reasons for this shift in sentiment, with a crescendo of accusations about its geopolitical intentions and the dangers of debt peonage.

China has reacted swiftly to such accusations, rejecting, in particular, comparisonsbetween its belt and road programme and the Marshall Plan; insisting, correctly, that it does not assert the economic hegemony the United States did at the end of the second world war; and eschewing the confrontational ideology that underpinned the plan.

But with the global economy entering troubled waters and pragmatic multilateral leadership in short supply, Chinese (and Western) policymakers might do well to draw lessons from the Marshall Plan to contextualise the belt and road strategy and inform the wider debate about the future of international economic governance.

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