In this second issue of MD’s new BRIDGE project, the focus can be simply put: growth and relations. This will likely be the underlying foundation of all future BRIDGE issues, as there can be no doubt that China’s purpose in creating the Belt & Road Initiative has always been two-fold: improving relations from its immediate Southeast Asia neighborhood to the far western shores of Western Europe and to promote growth globally in a manner that will further feed Chinese interests and ambitions long into the 21st century.
The debate likely to also undergird every issue of The Bridge project here at Modern Diplomacy will be the one taking place even now between the supporters and opponents of the BRI: are those Chinese ambitions and interests tied to the BRI able to positively feed into the global system, helping all participants improve and sustain growth, or are they innately nationalist in nature, ultimately driving a future form of Chinese hegemony that might rewrite the global order as we know it?
This second issue will not answer that question conclusively. It is unlikely that any issue will be able to. But The Bridge as a geopolitical and analytical project will set the stage for providing new evidence-based argumentation and analysis for all those interested in discerning an answer. Most importantly, as is the core mission of Modern Diplomacy overall, we take great pride in bringing to the forefront voices and ideas not often heard or read amongst Western audiences. If the Belt & Road Initiative proves anything, then it is the simple fact that western-centric and euro-centric analyses must begin to be diversified with new voices, new minds, and new non-Western arguments. The Bridge, we hope, is going to do just that!