Saturday, June 6, 2015

The New Silk Road Globalization-World Answer to America Military Hegemony in 21st Century

The New Silk Road Globalization-World Answer to America Military Hegemony in 21st Century By Francis C W Fung, Ph.D. The Rise and Fall of U.S. Hegemony Influence China has accumulated 5000 years of wisdom to know that hegemony powers do not last long. That is why China has no wish to become a hegemon. By obsession, hegemony powers tend to over reach before they finally decline. Also weaker nations eventually get tired of being pushed around and topple the hegemon by uniting together. For a hegemon to sustain its clout it must also has economic as well as pure military power. Together the twin wings of economic and military power enables the hegemon to soar above the rest. The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of Cold War was due mostly a classic example of the collapse of its economies. In the case of our current hegemon, America, all factors are working to decrease its influence, plus the fact that in the 21st century military as the only hegemony power is obsolete. Economic and cultural power is the new paradigm of world influence. Although the U.S. is still the military as well as economic power today its economic wing will be clipped by the New Silk Road Globalization led by China as we will see in following. We shall describe how the rise of emerging and developing countries because of the worldwide connectivity ushered in by the New Silk Road infrastructure, communication and commerce that will drastically trim the America eagle’s economic wing. Although America will remain the dominant military power for a long time to come. According to Michael T. Klare, a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, “For decades, being a superpower has been the defining characteristic of American identity. The embrace of global supremacy began after World War II when the United States assumed responsibility for resisting Soviet expansionism around the world; it persisted through the Cold War era and only grew after the implosion of the Soviet Union, when the U.S. assumed sole responsibility for combating a whole new array of international threats. As General Colin Powell famously exclaimed in the final days of the Soviet era, “We have to put a shingle outside our door saying, ‘Superpower Lives Here,’ no matter what the Soviets do, even if they evacuate from Eastern Europe.” “Strategically, in the Cold War years, Washington’s power brokers assumed that there would always be two superpowers perpetually battling for world dominance. In the wake of the utterly unexpected Soviet collapse, American strategists began to envision a world of just one, of a “sole superpower” (aka Rome on the Potomac). In line with this new outlook, the administration of George H.W. Bush soon adopted a long-range plan intended to preserve that status indefinitely. Known as the Defense Planning Guidance for Fiscal Years 1994-99, it declared: “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.” “H.W.’s son, then the governor of Texas, articulated a similar vision of a globally encompassing Pax Americana when campaigning for president in 1999. If elected, he told military cadets at the Citadel in Charleston, his top goal would be “to take advantage of a tremendous opportunity -- given few nations in history -- to extend the current peace into the far realm of the future. A chance to project America’s peaceful influence not just across the world, but across the years.” “For Bush, of course, “extending the peace” would turn out to mean invading Iraq and igniting a devastating regional conflagration that only continues to grow and spread to this day. Even after it began, he did not doubt -- nor (despite the reputed wisdom offered by hindsight) does he today -- that this was the price that had to be paid for the U.S. to retain its vaunted status as the world’s sole superpower.” “The problem, as many mainstream observers now acknowledge, is that such a strategy aimed at perpetuating U.S. global supremacy at all costs was always destined to result in what Yale historian Paul Kennedy, in his classic book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, unforgettably termed “imperial overstretch.” As he presciently wrote in that 1987 study, it would arise from a situation in which “the sum total of the United States’ global interests and obligations is… far larger than the country’s power to defend all of them simultaneously.” “Indeed, Washington finds itself in exactly that dilemma today. What’s curious, however, is just how quickly such overstretch engulfed a country that, barely a decade ago, was being hailed as the planet’s first “hyperpower,” a status even more exalted than superpower. But that was before George W.’s miscalculation in Iraq and other missteps left the U.S. to face a war-ravaged Middle East with an exhausted military and a depleted treasury. At the same time, major and regional powers like China, India, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have been building up their economic and military capabilities and, recognizing the weakness that accompanies imperial overstretch, are beginning to challenge U.S. dominance in many areas of the globe. The Obama administration has been trying, in one fashion or another, to respond in all of those areas -- among them Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and the South China Sea -- but without, it turns out, the capacity to prevail in any of them.” “Nonetheless, despite a range of setbacks, no one in Washington’s power elite -- Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders being the exceptions that prove the rule -- seems to have the slightest urge to abandon the role of sole superpower or even to back off it in any significant way. President Obama, who is clearly all too aware of the country’s strategic limitations, has been typical in his unwillingness to retreat from such a supremacist vision. “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation,” he told graduating cadets at West Point in May 2014. “That has been true for the century past and it will be true for the century to come.” “How, then, to reconcile the reality of superpower overreach and decline with an unbending commitment to global supremacy? The first of two approaches to this conundrum in Washington might be thought of as a high-wire circus act. It involves the constant juggling of America’s capabilities and commitments, with its limited resources (largely of a military nature) being rushed relatively fruitlessly from one place to another in response to unfolding crises, even as attempts are made to avoid yet more and deeper entanglements. This, in practice, has been the strategy pursued by the current administration. Call it the Obama Doctrine.” “After concluding, for instance, that China had taken advantage of U.S. entanglement in Iraq and Afghanistan to advance its own strategic interests in Southeast Asia, Obama and his top advisers decided to downgrade the U.S. presence in the Middle East and free up resources for a more robust one in the western Pacific. Announcing this shift in 2011 -- it would first be called a “pivot to Asia” and then a “rebalancing” there -- the president made no secret of the juggling act involved. “After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly, in blood and treasure, the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia Pacific region,” he told members of the Australian Parliament that November. “As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in U.S. defense spending will not -- I repeat, will not -- come at the expense of the Asia Pacific.” New 'Silk Road' could alter global economics and usher in the next globalization March 31, 2015 is an historic moment. China successfully launched the Asian Infrastructure Bank to fund the New Silk Road Initiative to provide connectivity for the world. By now all U.S. allies have all broke from their military alliance with America and join the peaceful mutual development initiative. The only redeeming grace for America is to join as observer country at a later day. It is natural for China to launch the New Silk Road Initiative for all historical, technological, financial capable and infrastructure building experience reasons. China in the last 39 years has built 20 trillion dollars of infrastructure in her own country. This super scale of construction in such a short time has no historical precedence! All silk roads completed will eventually all connect to China like ancient days. In rejuvenation, she will be truly, the Middle Kingdom like her name implies! This time China will lead the Second Commercial Globalization, which will grow to be much larger than the first globalization led by the U.S. in the 20th century. America will remain the dominant military power but not the largest economic power in 21st century. Which means America can no longer behave in her hegemony way dominating the world as in the 20th century. India will replace China as the world factory with her biggest population and technology capability. With her middle class growing to the biggest of the world because of Silk Road connectivity prosperity China will be the market of the world and lead the world globalization. With all developing countries rise, the mutual development will benefit all humankind with the resulting people connectivity, prosperity and cultural equal exchange the world may reach true equality and harmony. This world harmony world with mutual respect and equality will be a great improvement compare to the 20th century world dominated by America hegemony. An article in USA Today by Robert Berke, Summarizes the New Silk Road Initiative as follows: “Beginning with the marvelous tales of Marco Polo's travels across Eurasia to China, the Silk Road has never ceased to entrance the world. Now, the ancient cities of Samarkand, Baku, Tashkent, and Bukhara are once again firing the world's imagination. China is building the world's greatest economic development and construction project ever undertaken: The New Silk Road. The project aims at no less than a revolutionary change in the economic map of the world. It is also seen by many as the first shot in a battle between east and west for economic dominance in Eurasia.” “The ambitious vision is to resurrect the ancient Silk Road as a modern transit, trade, and economic corridor that runs from Shanghai to Berlin. The 'Road' will traverse China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Germany, extending more than 8,000 miles, creating an economic zone that extends over one third the circumference of the earth. The plan envisions building high-speed railroads, roads and highways, energy transmission and distributions networks, and fiber optic networks. Cities and ports along the route will be targeted for economic development. An equally essential part of the plan is a sea-based "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR) component, as ambitious as its land-based project, linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. When completed, like the ancient Silk Road, it will connect three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. The chain of infrastructure projects will create the world's largest economic corridor, covering a population of 4.4 billion and an economic output of $21 trillion.” The idea for reviving the New Silk Road was first announced in 2013 by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. As part of the financing of the plan, in 2014, the Chinese leader also announced the launch of an Asian International Infrastructure Bank (AIIB), providing seed funding for the project, with an initial Chinese contribution of $47 billion. “China has invited the international community of nations to take a major role as bank charter members and partners in the project. Members will be expected to contribute, with additional funding by international funds, including the World Bank, investments from private and public companies, and local governments. Some 58 nations have signed on to become charter bank members, including most of Western Europe, along with many Silk Road and Asian countries. There are 12 NATO countries among AIIB´s founding member states (UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Norway), along with three of the main US military allies in Asia (Australia, S. Korea and New Zealand). After failed attempts by the US to persuade allies against joining the bank, the US reversed course, and now says that it has always supported the project, a disingenuous position considering the fact that US opposition was hardly a secret. The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2014 that "the U.S. has also lobbied hard against Chinese plans for a new infrastructure development bank…including during teleconferences of the Group of Seven major industrial powers.” The Huffington Post's Alastair Crooke had this to say on the matter: "For very different motives, the key pillars of the region (Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan) are re-orienting eastwards. It is not fully appreciated in the West how important China's "Belt and Road" initiative is to this move (and Russia, of course is fully integrated into the project). Regional states can see that China is very serious indeed about creating huge infrastructure projects from Asia to Europe. They can also see what occurred with the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as the world piled in (to America's very evident dismay). These states intend to be a part of it." “Buttressing this effort, China plans on injecting at least $62 billion into three banks to support the New Silk Road. The China Development Bank (CDB) will receive $32 billion, the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM) will take on $30 billion, and the Chinese government will also pump additional capital into the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC).” “A look at the first project, currently under development, provides a good example of how China plans to proceed. The first major economic development project will take place in Pakistan, where the Chinese have been working for years, building and financing a strategic deepwater port at Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, that will be managed by China as the long-term leaseholder. Gwadar will become the launching point for the much delayed Iran-Pakistan natural gas pipeline, which will ultimately be extended to China, with the Persian section already built and the Pakistan-Chinese section largely financed and constructed by the Chinese. The pipeline is also set to traverse the country, following the Karakoram Mountain Highway towards Tibet, and cross the Chinese western border to Xinjang. The highway will also be widened and modernized, and a railroad built, connecting the highway to Gwadar.” “China and much of the world is intent on developing the largest economic development project in history, one that could have dramatic ripple effects throughout the world economy. The project is expected to take decades, with costs running into the hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions. What that will mean for the world economy and trade is almost inconceivable. Is it any wonder then, that the world's largest hedge funds, like Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, are rushing to market new multi-billion dollar international infrastructure investment funds? No doubt a project as large and complex as this is likely to have failures, and is certain to face many western geopolitical obstructions. Assuredly, the "great game" will continue. Look no further than US President Barack Obama, who also senses the urgency. "If we don't write the rules, China will write the rules out in that region," he said in defense of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In a world where economic growth is tepid, with Europe still struggling with the aftermath of the global recession, along with China's growth slowdown, where else could a project that promises so much opportunity be found? It's a good bet that giant iron mining companies like Vale, that have seen their business fall to a thirteen-year low, are currently busy figuring how much steel goes into construction of a new, high speed 8,000 mile railroad. If the project is successful, it could very well spark a boom across the entire depressed international mining, commodities, and construction sectors. Consider how many jobs could be created in a decades-long construction project that spans a huge region of the world. In practically every sector, the prospects are enormous for a revival of trade and commerce.” “The ancient Silk Road increased trade across the known world, but the Road also offered far more than trade. One of its least anticipated benefits was the widespread exchange of knowledge, learning, discovery, and culture. Beyond the riches of silks, spices, and jewelry, it could be argued that the most important thing that Marco Polo brought back from China was a famous nautical and world map that was the basis for one of the most famous maps published in Europe, one that helped spark the Age of Discovery. Christopher Columbus was guided by that map and was known to have a well-annotated copy of Marco Polo's travel tales with him on his voyage of discovery of a new route to India.” “For the world at large, its decisions about the Road are nothing less than momentous. The massive project holds the potential for a new renaissance in commerce, industry, discovery, thought, invention, and culture that could well rival the original Silk Road. It is also becoming clearer by the day that geopolitical conflicts over the project could lead to a new rebalance between East and West for dominance in Eurasia and the world.” The Coming of 21st Century New Silk Road Globalization America initiated the 20th Century world trade globalization. But the 2008 world financial crisis caused by the U.S. toxic asset collapse and its worldwide devastating spread signaled the end of the good days of world trade globalization of the 20th Century. Seven years later world major economies in the world still mired in great recession with the exception of China. The whole world is looking for new economic or technology breakthrough to bail the world economy out of its quagmire. The coming 21st Century New Silk Road Globalization in short is the Great Infrastructure Revolution bring on by China’s “Belt and Road” initiative in2013, the second Globalization as a result of world connectivity of the infrastructure revolution and the 21st Century Transportation Revolution brought about also by world connectivity. All these economic and technology breakthroughs will be described in more detail below. As if God send, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, in 2013 got the inspiration to announce the modernization of the ancient Silk Road. This is the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Ocean Silk Road Initiative or the “Belt and Road” initiative in short. The initiative is to launch modern transportation and communication infrastructure to connect Asia through Central Asia to Europe and from South East Asia through ocean to Middle East and finally Africa. More details of the “Belt and Road” initiative will be revealed in more detail in the following “Belt and Road Action Plan” This vast “Belt and Road” initiative will thus greatly advance Commerce, communication, cultural and technology exchange, people and people contact all over the world to benefit human progress in the brave 21st century era. The resulting world connectivity will bring trade globalization to another height far exceeding the 20th century because this time the connectivity expands to a far greater world. This time we may experience true worldwide harmony, mutual development and prosperity like no other time in history before. From the preface of the “Belt and Road” Action Plan titled “VISION AND ACTIONS ON JOINTLY BUILDING SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT AND 21ST-CENTURY MARITIME SILK ROAD” we quote:“MORE THAN TWO MILLENNIA AGO THE DILIGENT AND COURAGEOUS PEOPLE OF EURASIA EXPLORED AND OPENED UP SEVERAL ROUTES OF TRADE AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES THAT LINKED THE MAJOR CIVILIZATIONS OF ASIA, EUROPE AND AFRICA, COLLECTIVELY CALLED THE SILK ROAD BY LATER GENERATIONS. FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, THE SILK ROAD SPIRIT - "PEACE AND COOPERATION, OPENNESS AND INCLUSIVENESS, MUTUAL LEARNING AND MUTUAL BENEFIT" - HAS BEEN PASSED FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION, PROMOTED THE PROGRESS OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION, AND CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO THE PROSPERITY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRIES ALONG THE SILK ROAD. SYMBOLIZING COMMUNICATION AND COOPERATION BETWEEN THE EAST AND THE WEST, THE SILK ROAD SPIRIT IS A HISTORIC AND CULTURAL HERITAGE SHARED BY ALL COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD. IN THE 21ST CENTURY, A NEW ERA MARKED BY THE THEME OF PEACE, DEVELOPMENT, COOPERATION AND MUTUAL BENEFIT, IT IS ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT FOR US TO CARRY ON THE SILK ROAD SPIRIT IN FACE OF THE WEAK RECOVERY OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, AND COMPLEX INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL SITUATIONS. WHEN CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING VISITED CENTRAL ASIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER OF 2013, HE RAISED THE INITIATIVE OF JOINTLY BUILDING THE SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT AND THE 21ST-CENTURY MARITIME SILK ROAD (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE BELT AND ROAD), WHICH HAVE ATTRACTED CLOSE ATTENTION FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. AT THE CHINA-ASEAN EXPO IN 2013, CHINESE PREMIER LI KEQIANG EMPHASIZED THE NEED TO BUILD THE MARITIME SILK ROAD ORIENTED TOWARDS ASEAN, AND TO CREATE STRATEGIC PROPELLERS FOR HINTERLAND DEVELOPMENT. ACCELERATING THE BUILDING OF THE BELT AND ROAD CAN HELP PROMOTE THE ECONOMIC PROSPERITY OF THE COUNTRIES ALONG THE BELT AND ROAD AND REGIONAL ECONOMIC COOPERATION, STRENGTHEN EXCHANGES AND MUTUAL LEARNING BETWEEN DIFFERENT CIVILIZATIONS, AND PROMOTE WORLD PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT. IT IS A GREAT UNDERTAKING THAT WILL BENEFIT PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD. THE BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE IS A SYSTEMATIC PROJECT, WHICH SHOULD BE JOINTLY BUILT THROUGH CONSULTATION TO MEET THE INTERESTS OF ALL, AND EFFORTS SHOULD BE MADE TO INTEGRATE THE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES OF THE COUNTRIES ALONG THE BELT AND ROAD. THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT HAS DRAFTED AND PUBLISHED THE VISION AND ACTIONS ON JOINTLY BUILDING SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT AND 21ST-CENTURY MARITIME SILK ROAD TO PROMOTE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INITIATIVE, INSTILL VIGOR AND VITALITY INTO THE ANCIENT SILK ROAD, CONNECT ASIAN, EUROPEAN AND AFRICAN COUNTRIES MORE CLOSELY AND PROMOTE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL COOPERATION TO A NEW HIGH AND IN NEW FORMS.” The Belt and Road is the first 21st Century globalization that will modernize almost all the developing countries of the world and bring endless commercial opportunities for them to prosper. This first 21st Century first Economic Opportunity tide may also be called the 21st Century Infrastructure Revolution. For any country to develop its wealth, the first priority is to build first class infrastructures as witnessed by the rise of America and China during the 20th Century that follows massive infrastructure construction. The second Economic Opportunity Tide is the Second Commercial Globalization brought about by the superior infrastructure due to the enhanced worldwide “Belt and Road” connectivity. This will bring flourishing world trade to all countries in the world thus commercial successes in every corners of the world unlike the first 20th century globalization. During the first globalization initiated by America only Europe, China and parts of Asia prospered. This time the whole world will prosper. Because of this 21st Century infrastructure revolution and Second Commercial Globalization tides initiated by China the wealth generated by expanded global commerce due to the rising developing world will empower India to become the new “factory of the World” replacing China. Because of its rising middle and huge population China will become the “Market of the world” replacing the U.S. America will remain the dominant military power and policeman of the world but not the hegemony power of the world as it enjoyed throughout most of 20th century. For its number one economic position will be surpassed by China in both national and per capital GDP. This is due mainly by the wealth generated by the commercial return by China acting as the initiator and main funding partner in the great belt and road infrastructure building and trading network. Francis C W Fung, Ph.D. Director General World Harmony Organization, San Francisco, CA

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