Washington Misses Bigger Picture of New Chinese Investment

Washington Misses Bigger Picture of New Chinese Investment Bank (Source globalresearch.ca)

Virtually all of the closest European allies of the United States, beginning with Britain, defied pressure from Washington by deciding to apply for founding membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This Chinese initiative could quickly rival the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank as a major source of funding for big development projects across Eurasia. The new bank, which offers a serious multilateral alternative to the Western-dominated international financial institutions (IFIs) established in the post-World War II order, is expected to attract about three dozen initial members, including all of China’s Asian neighbors (with the possible exception of Japan). Australia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states are also likely to join by the March 31 deadline set by Beijing for prospective co-founders to apply. Its $50 billion in initial capital is expected to double with the addition of new members, and that amount could quickly grow given China’s $3 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves. More details about the bank can be found in a helpful Q&A here at the Council on Foreign Relations website. Along with the so-called BRICS bank—whose membership so far is limited to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—the AIIB poses a real “challenge to the existing global economic order,” which, of course, Western nations have dominated since the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in the final days of World War II. As one unnamed European official told The New York Times, “We have moved from the world of 1945.” But the main point here is that official Washington—including Republicans in Congress and the mainstream media—is not paying adequate attention to major shifts in the global order and how isolated the United States has become vis-à-vis the “international community,” especially its most important allies. It’s very difficult to exercise global “leadership” when you’ve isolated yourself from the rest of the world and fail to take account of how much the world has changed from that much-cherished “unipolar moment.”

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