The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announced earlier its first series of investment projects, totaling $509 billion. The AIIB is a joint-venture established by China, Russia, and India as an alternative to Wall Street/EU controlled enterprises like the IMF and World Bank.
The AIIB was inaugurated last year in Beijing as part of Xi Jinping's ambitious Great Silk Road economic project. The principles behind the AIIB and similar Western organizations are far different. AIIB is not used as ideological leverage over member states, but is premised on funding domestic infrastructure projects that result in beneficial mutual trade-agreements. The largest project funded this year, for example, was to upgrade and expand Bangladesh's power-grid.
The upgrades, which are in tandem with upgrades a joint Indian-Chinese project to upgrade the port at Calcutta, are predicted to create millions of jobs in the poverty-stricken Bay of Bengal region. They will also increase efficiency and expansion of the Bengali manufacturing industry while facilitating the exchange of goods and services. The new Bengali power-grid will cover the entire nation with high-tech, secure, and inexpensive electrical energy.
The cost of this upgrade is less than the cost of American military exercises in the South China Sea, and unlike the latter, the former will be a net return on the investment for all parties involved. The Bengali system, when completed next year, will be more advanced and provide cheaper energy than the US power grid, which sadly has become obsolescent. The United States has invested little since the Johnson Administration on building new power-stations and have seen no significant upgrades since the Reagan Administration. The inefficiency in our system, combined with the bloated municipal bureaucracies that administer them, have resulted in spiraling utility costs over here; and increasingly frequent and longer-term outages.
The American Society of Civil Engineers have been warning for decades that the US electrical grid is in critical condition. A recent report noted that US energy infrastructure is "in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements nearing the end of their service-life...a large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration with a strong risk of failure."
Our system, the report noted, is also extremely vulnerable to cyber and terrorist attack. But the Ameroboobs by and large ignore all these warnings. There are no political candidates addressing critical infrastructure concerns; and Americans seemingly prefer public funds to be invested in border walls, military adventurism, increasing domestic espionage, and broader welfare handouts.
Meanwhile, though, progress is being made in Asia. Besides the Bengali power grid, other major investments include a major highway system between Pakistan and Tajikistan; and rebuilding an Indonesian manufacturing district recently damaged during a natural disaster.
Rebecca Chan, a spokeswoman for the Silk Road Project noted that "The AAIB motto is to be lean, clean, and green; and will also adopt world-class environmental safeguards." She also pointed out that AIIB marks a new era in Chinese foreign investment policy. "The old days of China recycling the export dollars that it earned into US Treasury Bonds are over...with the growing cracks in the US dollar-dominated global financial architecture, the Chinese One Belt, One Road Initiative that aims to chart a new course in the Eurasian heartland, is a much better way to invest this foreign reserve."