China’s announced ‘Silk Road’ plan presents the United States with an opportunity to contribute to making the world a better and safer place for the future. While previous analysis has outlined how the Chinese engineering, trade, and economic initiative presents the world with potential increased risk particularly in nuclear arms security, it is useful to investigate the initiative with an optimistic viewpoint as well.
Initially, suspending all concerns and skepticism, the possibility of Chinese altruism should be taken at face value. There exists within the plan what is arguably the largest engineering undertaking in the history of humanity. Despite the apparent attraction to this idea itself, there exists the possibility for conservationist efforts, economic development, and globalization efforts for the sake of international peace on a scale previously not possible. The possibilities inherent in this initiative need to be recognized and taken into account
On a more skeptical note, participating within the ‘Silk Road’ initiative is the safest course of action when considering nuclear arms security. If the United States wishes to maintain strict oversight over the deployment of foreign nuclear arms, then diplomats should be prepared to offer great assistance in matters of engineering, security, and logistics within the execution of construction projects and the ensuing necessary maintenance of the initiative’s assets. In so doing, the United States intelligence agencies would be uniquely and advantageously situated to monitor all potential Chinese strategic arms movements without relying upon more adversarial methodologies and technologies. While these methods of gathering intelligence will always play a part, maintaining friendly relations granting direct access provides an unparalleled level of accurate data.
The possibility of the ‘Road’ initiative actually bringing economic stability and prosperity to impoverished nations should be seen as a possible positive outcome. Several of these nations are still reeling from the effects of the Soviet Union’s failed economic system and ensuing collapse. Add on to this reality to the presence of tempting fundamentalist religious ideas, these regions are either potential or existing hotbeds of violent crimes against humanity. The economic prosperity and military power that the Chinese wield could work to bring greater peace and stability to the world in the face of violent religious extremism.
Furthermore, the attraction that this project has already demonstrated among these very nations gives United States diplomats the unique opportunity to leverage the talks and debates surrounding this project against its adversaries in order to secure United States interests in security and economic development. It would seem that ambassador Haley has already seen this opportunity by leveraging the UN’s efforts against North Korea and seeking the exclusion of North Korea from the initiative until greater nuclear arms security is established. These moves are highly intelligent and demonstrate a creative approach to the using the ‘Silk Road’ project as a diplomatic opportunity rather than a threat to American sovereignty.
While the ‘Silk Road’ initiative is well deserving of extreme skepticism and assumption of nefarious intent, the possibilities of altruism and the advantages of working with rather than against this initiative need to be recognized.
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