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Meiray t1_j2l07sl wrote

Yes, but the US does this too, and usually tries to push for government reform on top of that. Unless we're talking about oil-producing nations, then we suck up to or go to war with most of them, no matter how shady their governments. Say what you will about them, but China doesn't strong arm the countries it does business with into adopting Communist policies as a pre-condition.

It's a little early to be more than wary of China's Belt and Road - these are countries, many of them African, which are looking to develop infrastructure and see China as a viable alternative to Western countries they feel neglect or ask too much of them. We'll see what debt really restructuring looks like in future (see: Sri Lanka and Montenegro) and what the quality of the work is over time. Until then, the only course of action is to be wary but also keep an open mind and be mindful of how our reputation isn't spotless. We can't always reflexively oppose everything China does, especially with Russia showing its true colors these days. There has to be some room to partner with China while still nudging them towards a less repressive government.


TheRealGeoffPerson t1_j2m3qul wrote

By ‘asking too much’, you mean requiring certain reforms in exchange for money. It would be funny to see anyone try and argue that the reforms they want don’t directly benefit the citizens of these countries, particularly Africa.


Meiray t1_j2n5pzh wrote

I also mean that the interest rates a lot of Western countries offer for financing these projects are often less favorable.

But what you're talking about is a non-starter with a lot of governments. You can make those arguments until you are blue in the face, and I am sure you and I would agree about their merits, but again - China would offer the same assistance without that pre-condition. On the surface it looks to be purely transactional, whereas the US could be seen as being too pushy. It's like if a bank agreed to loan you money for a home renovation but demanded they get to pick the construction materials. If you look back at all the corrupt regimes the US has aligned with over the years from Zaire to Saudi Arabia, and the ones we continue to give billions in aid to, plus our litany of military interventions... there's a reason why it's harder to pin the imperialist moniker on China when we can never wash it off.

I am willing to defend a lot of American principles, but I am under no illusion as to why a lot of people around the world think we are arrogant and hypocritical AF. That doesn't mean we have to stop pushing for reforms in exchange for infrastructure money, but a rising China now offers a tantalizing alternative for these countries and any thrifty buyer knows it's smart to comparison shop.


SpecificFail t1_j2kt8gq wrote

And some developed countries by propping up their leaders and businesses. China has been slowly buying up large parts of the world economy over the last 16 years or so.


teb_art t1_j2kvv3q wrote

And they are not doing it for the benefit of the people they are “helping.”


TheRealGeoffPerson t1_j2m3ka0 wrote

Exactly. The modern norm of mutual benefit is completely absent from China’s foreign policy. It is designed to enslave from the very beginning, just like the colonialism they claim to have never been party to.