Two visions, two destinies
Reality Check

Editor's note: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). What benefits has the initiative brought to partner countries? What is the logic behind the smear campaign by some American and European media? In this episode of Reality Check, Mushahid Hussain, Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee of Pakistan, shares his thoughts on the BRI. The views expressed in the video are his own and not necessarily those of CGTN.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative – BRI, which is probably the most important diplomatic and developmental initiative launched in the 21st century. And it was done by President Xi Jinping of China when he spoke at Astana in Kazakhstan, about connectivity, about cooperation, about reviving the ancient Silk Road, which 2000 years ago was probably the first instance of globalization linking China's Silk Road with Central Asia, with the Middle East, with even Europe. Connectivity through commerce and culture among countries and continents.

And this year on March 16, and I was present then, when President Xi Jinping launched the Global Civilization Initiative at the World Political Parties High-level Dialogue. Dialogue among civilizations, respect among civilizations, cooperation among civilizations, learning from each other. A civilizational cooperation in contrast to the vision that had been once presented and very popular in the West about the clash of civilizations.

But 2023 also marks another anniversary, and if I may say so, a dark anniversary, a sad anniversary. Twenty years ago, the United States launched unilaterally a war in Iraq. A war that was unjust, a war that was illegal, a war that was immoral, because it had no sanction of the United Nations, no sanctions of legality behind it. It was an attempt to bully and browbeat a country for ideological and geopolitical reasons. 

And these two anniversaries also present humankind today two contrasting visions. I would say that we are perhaps at an inflection point when the global center of gravity is shifting, when we are facing turbulence and transformation.

China is talking of connectivity and cooperation. The West is talking of containment, conflict, confrontation. China is talking of modernization, of being more inclusive, of diversity, of equality in international relations. The West, led by the United States, is obsessed with the militarization of international relations, igniting a new Cold War, talking of containing China, building a new pattern of alliances, military alliances.

NATO is now becoming an "Asian NATO." NATO was talking of a threat from China while China is not part of the North Atlantic. China is thousands of miles away from the North Atlantic.

They are talking of AUKUS, Australia, UK, U.S., a new military organization. They are talking of Quad, which is again a military alliance, and recently U.S. President Biden hosted the leaders of South Korea and Japan at Camp David to forge yet another alliance, yet another pact ostensibly to contain China.

So, these contrasting visions are reflected in the pattern of contemporary international relations. China is building bridges, and a great example of that bridge building has been the China-brokered rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who were at loggerheads for the last three-four decades, which destabilized the Middle East. And thanks to China's efforts, there's been normalization, there's been rapprochement, and there's been the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Conversely, we see the United States, the Western countries, building barriers based on protectionism, tariffs and trying to isolate China. These two contrasting visions show that the world is headed in a manner of confrontation sparked by the West, while what the world needs today in the post-pandemic world is to have a common approach, to face common challenges in a collective manner. And that is what China is doing and that is what the Global South would like – to build a better tomorrow without overlords and without underdogs.

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