In the fall of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his initiative for a new Silk Road Economic Belt to enable trade between China and countries throughout the world. The original Silk Road was used for over one-and-a-half millennia, ending in 1453, that connected China and the Far East with the Middle East and Europe for trade. Stretching as far west as the Greco-Roman Empire, as well as through Iran and into Iraq and Mesopotamia, the Silk Road allowed China to expand its influence through the known world.
The routes expanded from their termination points and allowed merchants to share the wares from China further through Europe, the Middle East and Africa. China used these routes and merchants to spread their inventions, including gunpowder and paper. The Silk Road was also used as an export avenue for the rich spices of China and other Asian countries.
With the declaration by Xi, China is, in essence, looking to open a modernized Silk Road to expand the reach of its products through the world. As the world becomes more dependent on Chinese products, for a variety of reasons, the reach of China’s control also grows. By cheaply providing the products the world needs, not just the ones they desire, China opens its customers to complacency against making their own products, or against even having a way to produce them on their own.
This threatens the national security of any country that comes to rely upon China to such an extent. If China decides at any point that they no longer want to supply the products – down to the necessities of life – for whatever reason, then the country no longer receiving the shipments from China is put in jeopardy. The possibility of such a scenario places China’s customers in a position of having to abide by China’s rules, desires and whims in fear of having their necessities cut off.
Following the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road combined with the precedent of the Ancient Silk Road, the Chinese government has also branched into several other “Silk Roads” – Digital Silk Road, Arctic Silk Road, Health Silk Road, Space Silk Road – to encompass not just locations that would be served and affected but also various industries and necessities. They have also developed the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI).
In 2017, BRI was even added to the constitution of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to solidify the country’s commitment to expand their domination.
Under BRI, Chinese banks and companies offer to contract with various countries, states, provinces, counties, cities and other localities for funding to build various infrastructure items. These include roads, power plants, ports, railways, 5G networks, and fiber-option cable systems. In the 21st Century, each of these items are considered necessities, and the Chinese banks and companies retain an ownership stake of some sort in any of these projects through the length of the contract.
As many Chinese banks and companies are owned, either directly or indirectly, by the Chinese government and the CCP, this means that the CCP retains ownership in these infrastructure projects until the completion of the contract, which often extends well-beyond the end of construction as the financing is paid off.
In addition to looking to expand trade throughout the world, the Chinese government has been making a concerted effort over the past decade to develop close relationships with otherwise “neglected” countries, primarily in Africa. Through the BRI, combined with Chinese government promises of support both financial and militarily, countries and governments of all levels are embracing Chinese involvement in their communities and affairs. These relationships provide the Chinese government and subsidiary companies with the opportunity to expand trade even further. This also expands China’s influence through the regions, and enhances the possibility of colonization and eventual takeover akin to Hong Kong and what is projected by many to happen with Taiwan.
Estimated at $74.4 billion in March 2021, the U.S. trade deficit with China increased by 22% through that month and exhibits how beholden the U.S. consumer has become to Chinese goods. When combined with the fact that Chinese purchases of property in the U.S. has increased substantially over the past decade and the contracts for Chinese funding of infrastructure items under the Chinese BRI entered into by U.S. governments at all levels, China has quietly taken quite a stake in the United States.
Even though the United States has not officially entered into an agreement with China under the BRI, the actions of various governments in the U.S. provide a de facto agreement. Over 70% of the world’s countries, though, have entered into official agreements with China for BRI. This includes 139 countries on all continents with the exception of North America and Australia. With the total number of countries in the world set at 195 as of the writing of this article, that means that 71.3% of the world’s countries have entered into official agreements to accept China’s BRI.
Australia, in contrast to the United States, holds a trade surplus with China, negating China’s hold on Australia, and keeping Australia from having to accept China’s BRI even unofficially.
With these exceptions, China continues to expand its influence throughout the world, and to exert its control. The expansion of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the BRI only serve to expand China’s control over the world. It is expected that this will only continue until China has control of the entire world.
As “Go-Green” initiatives expand worldwide, the fact that China is already courting the new Afghanistan authorities will only enhance that influence. Much of the power sourced from “renewable” resources will be stored in lithium-based batteries, China’s acquisition of rights to Afghanistan’s vase lithium reserves will only serve to lower their costs of producing the batteries while maintaining or increasing their cost. The fact that lithium-based batteries are needed, combined with international agreements requiring the use of these, will only further China’s hold over the world as China currently produces approximately 77% of the lithium batteries manufactured worldwide.
Through the modern Silk Road Economic Belt, the BRI, and all of the routes that these programs comprise, the world is quickly becoming beholden to Chinese policies, rules, regulations, laws and whims. They already hold almost ¾ of the world in their hands through these programs.
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