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Council on Foreign Relations Report: U.S. “Inaction” and “Withdrawal” Bolstered China’s BRI


A group of scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York published a critical report today that attributes U.S. “inaction” and “withdrawal” for creating a vacuum in the international arena that China filled with its Belt and Road Initiative.  The authors detailed how cutbacks in U.S. spending on development assistance, 5G technology, and infrastructure development around the world provided Beijing with an opening that it took full advantage of. 

But the authors are also very clear in their recommendation as to how the U.S. government should respond to the formidable challenge that the BRI now presents the United States. “The United States cannot and should not respond to BRI symmetrically, attempting to match China dollar for dollar or project for project,” they said. Instead, Washington should “leverage core U.S. strengths, including cutting-edge technologies, world-class companies, deep pools of capital, a history of international leadership, a traditional role in setting international standards, and support for the rule of law and transparent business practices.

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