China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Motives, Scope and Challenges

What are the motivations for China’s oddly and perhaps illogically titled initiative? (The “belt” refers to the land portion of the silk route—the Silk Road Economic Belt—and the “road” refers to the Maritime Silk Road.) Is China’s goal to serve as the altruistic equivalent of the US Marshall Plan, the massive post–World War II recon- struction of Europe by the United States?

 

Or is it a plan to cement Chinese leadership and perhaps even hege- mony in competition with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the recently signed trade pact involving the United States, Japan, and 10 other countries on the Pacific Rim?

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