7 months ago

Diplomatic World_nummer 56.


EUROPEANS AND THE CHINESE NEW SILK ROAD INITIATIVE Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann Geopolitician - President - Eurocontinent China is a major demographic and nation-size civilization. With the New Silk Road initiative, China positions itself on territory and in time as a central player on the Eurasian and global scales. The objective of the project also called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is to connect China to the world through rail, road, maritime, airport, energy and technology connections. The project has a longterm horizon since it is expected to be completed by 2049. If it is implemented, even partially, the project is likely to change the global geo-economic and geopolitical balance of power. Europeans have no choice but to position themselves in relation to these plans, putting forward their own interests and ambition for strategic autonomy. The New Silk Road initiative, if conducted taking into consideration the interests of European nations, but also those of China’s global Eurasian neighbours and other global powers, is likely to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Eurasian continent. A geopolitical approach is useful in examining European interests regarding this initiative. The geopolitical angle has two modes. Geopolitics is a tool for making a diagnosis that highlights the stakes of a geopolitical situation. Then, the elaboration of a geopolitical strategy (applied geopolitics) helps to develop priorities on territory and in time in the service of an objective. a political objective is a decisive advantage and a central element of sovereignty. This mastery depends on the capacity to appreciate the space and time constraints of others. GEOPOLITICAL DIAGNOSIS China seeks to regain global geopolitical centrality through the New Silk Road project. Although various elements of the project are still largely in a virtual state, some projects are already under way, or aim to renovate connections that already exist. Not all projects will materialize and succeed but the multitude of transport bundles imagined in this long-term plan will lead to the implementation of at least some of them. 84 In the twenty-first century, in order to navigate in a world that is in a state of flux, a geopolitical strategy, conceived as a spatio-temporal whole and functioning as a means of balancing other powers, is required. This is because the mastery of territory and time in the service of The New Silk Road initiative responds to several issues at a number of geographical scales: At the national level, China’s western-oriented infrastructure of the initiative aims to develop areas west of its territory. These regions, particularly the Xinjiang