Author: Ming Shuyuan official account: Ming shuzatan wechat id:laomingdashu
On June 26, 2022, the group of seven (G7) summit was held in the town of gamisch patenkirchen in southern Germany. At this meeting, the Biden administration of the United States held back a “big move” aimed at China.
After taking office, the Biden administration of the United States has taken over the grand strategy of containing China in the trump era, and is more fond of creating various new terms and concepts. Just over a year after the Biden administration came to power, it launched a lot of new things aimed at China, such as aukus, Quad, IPEF, etc.
This time, at the G7 summit, the Biden administration once again put forward a new concept called “global infrastructure investment partnership program” (PGII). The core of the new concept is that the United States will spend $200billion in the next five years, together with other members of the group of seven, to pool $600billion to invest in infrastructure around the world. The goal is to compete with China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative.
As for these new terms put forward by the Biden administration, my suggestion is that you don’t have to remember them, because maybe the Biden administration will forget them by next year.
At the G7 summit a year ago, the Biden government also put forward a term called “rebuilding a better world” (bbbw) under the banner of competing with the “the Belt and Road” initiative. However, after this plan was put forward, there was nothing more to follow. Where does the money come from? Where are you going? None of these key questions has been answered. The United States did nothing. The United Kingdom and the European Union put forward their own versions of the plan, but the scale and effect are not an order of magnitude compared with the “the Belt and Road” initiative.
Many people in China feel a little “flustered” when they see what new concepts and terms the Americans have created. In fact, it is unnecessary.
If the concept alone can change the world political and economic pattern and win the game between China and the United States, the United States will have won a long time ago.
In fact, we Chinese have a special term for this kind of behavior – “Huyou”.
It’s very clear and eloquent, but there is no action and no effect. What is not “flickering”?
Let’s talk about G7 first.
I was engaged in international news reporting from 2002 to 2014. The G7 member countries were all western developed countries and had great influence at one time. It’s also easy to understand. Several “local tyrants” in the village are rich and powerful. They hold meetings every year to give advice. What they say is naturally of concern to everyone.
However, with the collective rise of China and other emerging markets and developing countries, the world political and economic pattern has begun to change. As a “rich club” composed of developed countries, the G7 is not only lack of representation, but also increasingly unable to solve major international and regional problems.
For some time, in order to enhance its representativeness, the G7 began to invite China and other countries to participate in some of its summits.
Later, in 2008, the financial crisis triggered by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis swept the world. Countries all over the world urgently needed to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination to overcome difficulties. George W. Bush, then president of the United States, proposed to hold the first G20 summit. As the G20 includes not only developed economies such as the G7, but also emerging economies such as China, South Korea, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and Argentina, its representativeness is greatly enhanced.
During that time, China and the United States conducted fruitful coordination. The role of the G20 is significantly greater than that of the G7 in coping with the financial and economic crisis and promoting world economic recovery. At that time, many people thought that the G7 was dying. Sometimes, the G7 summit is simply held during the G20 summit.
So, why does the G7 seem to suddenly start to shine again?
The main reason lies in the game between China and the United States.
The United States regards China as the number one strategic competitor, or even a potential enemy. Naturally, the United States wants to form gangs and small gangs. As an organization composed of western developed economies, the G7 has become an important tool for the United States to establish an international anti China United Front.
The United States regards the G7 as an anti China tool, which is an important reason why the G7 looks like it is “coming back from the dead”.
However, as a “rich people’s Club” formed by western developed countries, the G7 has limited representativeness, and its relative economic scale, scientific and technological strength and influence on global and regional issues are declining. At this time, even if the United States advocates that the G7 “rise up” again, it will not change its ultimate fate of decline.
The fact that the United States has turned the G7 into an anti China tool and platform has actually further determined that the G7 is increasingly divorced from the vast number of developing countries and runs counter to the trend of world peace and development. It can no longer have the moral authority and practical influence of “commanding the world”.
Therefore, whether the G7 holds a clean talk or engages in a league or gang, for the Chinese people, they can relax their mentality. It’s not a big deal.
This year’s G7 summit coincided with the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine for more than four months. No matter how much the United States emphasizes paying attention to China, the G7 summit has to devote more time and energy to discussing the situation between Russia and Ukraine. This is of great importance to European countries. It is far more realistic and urgent than containing China.
Back to the $600billion infrastructure construction fund proposed by the G7 this time, at first glance, this amount sounds not small, but can it really be realized?
The United States offered to spend $200billion. Compared with the $150million proposed by the United States at the meeting with ASEAN countries and the $645million proposed by the United States at the meeting with American countries, this amount is a qualitative leap.
However, the U.S. government is heavily indebted and populist sentiment in the United States is high. How can the United States suddenly change its temper and become generous?
The key to the question is, where does this $200billion come from? Where are you going?
The Biden administration is very clear that the US government now has no money. The US government uses the “left hand” of the Treasury to issue bonds and the “right hand” of the Federal Reserve to print money to buy US Treasury bonds. Under the circumstances that US inflation is soaring and the Federal Reserve has to aggressively raise interest rates and shrink its table, it can no longer play the game.
More importantly, over the past three decades, successive US governments have blindfolded under the banner of “Neo liberalism”, leading to the hollowing out of domestic industries, the damage to the actual interests of the middle and lower classes, and the intensification of the polarization between the rich and the poor, which has led to widespread populist sentiment in the United States. For the vast majority of American voters, their own lives are getting worse and worse. The president, government and Congress they elect will continue to use money to subsidize other countries. Isn’t that sick?
At present, there are serious anti globalization, anti free trade and anti foreign aid voices in the United States.
This is why trump, who is very Anti China, abolished the TPP used to contain China as soon as he took office, because although the TPP can contain China, it will further open the domestic market of the United States, which is very disgusting to the American people who are tired of free trade and globalization.
The U.S. government has no money and will not risk “political suicide” to take out real money to really care about the infrastructure construction of other countries.
So, how can the $200billion promised by the United States be put together?
The Biden administration also has its own plans. On the one hand, he repeatedly stressed that this part of the money was not paid by American taxpayers, nor was it a “free lunch” given to other countries; On the other hand, he pointed out the main sources of this part of Funds – American private enterprises, sovereign wealth funds, multilateral development banks, etc.
In other words, the Biden administration is still playing the game of “white wolf with empty hands”.
The so-called US $200billion fund merely includes the investment that American enterprises are supposed to make; And then “entice” the sovereign wealth funds of some countries under the control of the United States to make money – I can think of the money of some countries in the Middle East and Northern Europe; Then the investment of the world bank, the International Monetary Fund and other institutions is included.
It seems that the Biden administration is relying on this plan to confront China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative.
In the words of Chinese netizens, “that’s it?”
The Biden administration probably knows that it has a bad reputation. This time, it also specifically listed some “Star” projects, including the construction of solar power plants in Angola, an African country rich in oil resources.
I have to say, I really convinced you Americans!
According to the statistics of the world bank, there is a huge investment gap in infrastructure construction in developing countries. It is a good thing for any country, any enterprise or any individual to really be willing to pay for infrastructure construction in developing countries.
However, we must really think for the sake of developing countries, instead of turning a good thing into a political issue of “confronting China”, as the Biden administration is doing now.
For the people in China, no matter the $200billion promised by the Biden government or the $600billion jointly promised by the G7, we should not care too much.
If they can really invest so much money, it will be good for developing countries.
At the same time, the infrastructure of developing countries has improved, which can better become China’s source of raw materials and an important export market, which is also good for China.
Of course, the United States or other members of the G7 may not be able to take out the money at all.
As for the so-called “democratic countries” in the west, they will face an election in a few years. Five years later, Biden does not know where he is. He will also remember that he promised to invest $200billion in infrastructure in developing countries?
If you boast that you don’t pay taxes, you can boast hard. Whether it works or not, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, I haven’t heard of any accountability mechanism in the G7 on “unfulfilled promises” and “broken promises”.
Finally, let’s talk about why China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative has been successful.
Fundamentally speaking, the starting point of China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative is positive and positive.
China has sufficient funds and world-class infrastructure construction capacity.
By investing in infrastructure in other developing countries, China can, on the one hand, improve the conditions for local economic development and improve the living standards of local people; On the other hand, it can also help the local government to establish closer economic cooperation with China, and both sides will benefit from it.
In addition to good intentions, the success of China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative lies in its unique competitive advantage.
The projects under the “the Belt and Road” initiative have the characteristics of mutual benefit and win-win results.
For China, by investing in infrastructure in other countries, it can find a better return on investment for huge amounts of funds and develop a larger international market for China’s infrastructure construction enterprises and related industries; Finally, the infrastructure of these countries has improved, their economies have grown, their people’s living standards have improved, and they can better carry out practical cooperation with China in trade and investment.
In other words, China’s competitive advantages in capital, technology, enterprises, industries and economic structure enable China to truly share China’s development opportunities with more countries and achieve common prosperity through the “the Belt and Road” initiative.
For the United States and other G7 members, it is certainly a good thing if they respect the market rules and participate in the infrastructure construction of other developing countries. This has never been a “zero sum game” between China and Western countries.
However, if the United States has to turn this matter into a part of the Sino US game, and has to constantly challenge China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative, it will humiliate itself and will surely fail.
What is even more scandalous is that the US government has been encouraging and organizing western media, think tanks, experts and scholars to discredit, distort and attack China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative in order to impress itself.
“Neo colonialism”, “debt trap” and “irresponsibility” are just a few of them.
The reason why they do so is out of anxiety or even anger about their own incompetence.
What they can’t do is to see China getting better and better. They are very afraid of losing their leadership and influence in the world, so they have to challenge China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative everywhere.
For China, we welcome the United States and other G7 Member States to do something beneficial to developing countries in the light of their actual needs and interests; However, if the United States and other G7 member states have to involve China and engage in a “zero sum game” with China, we are not afraid.
The name of China’s “infrastructure maniac” is not in vain.
The United States wants to compete with China in the field of global infrastructure construction. Although the United States has let it go, will Chinese enterprises and people still be afraid of them today?