As part of an aggressive global economic initiative, Chinese President Xi Jingping visited Serbia today, the first visit from a Chinese Premier since 1984. This visit follows meetings in neighboring countries Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Greece by Chinese officials and Xi will visit Poland next.
Xi's project, now 2-3 years into development, is called The One Silk Road, a motif from Chinese culture referring to an ancient trade route. China's ambitious plan is to invest in infrastructure development in partner-countries, chiefly through ports, railways, and other transportation facilities. To that end, China announced last week a proposal to establish an international bank to compete against Wall Street-dominated concerns like the IMF and World Bank. More details about this bank will doubtless emerge when Xi attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council meeting in Tashkent next week.
The One Silk Road Project is projected to create millions of jobs in the Eastern Hemisphere.
In a very pointed symbolic gesture inaugurating this new economic shift, Xi dedicated the cornerstone to a new Chinese Cultural Center built on the site of the former Chinese Embassy which was destroyed in a NATO airstrike in 1999. A monument to the Chinese who died in that attack will remain as part of the proposed courtyard.
"The Serbian people, with an indomitable spirit, have risen time and again from the ashes, like the Pheonix; a spirit we Chinese greatly admire." Xi stated, "Both China and Serbia are peace-loving powers, but who do not fear the hegemonic designs of others. We are united in our commitment to world peace and development."
China has already signed a major port deal with Greece and plans to make Athens the hub of Europe's end of the Silk Road. They are striving to build a high-speed rail service uniting Europe and East Asia, in which Serbia will play a major role. Already, Chinese engineers have begun rail upgrades in Greece and Macedonia. The proposed new system will run from Athens to Hong Kong.
While China's project is ultimately going to be a great benefit to the world, it is sad to consider that American reaction has been to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to obstruct China militarily, diplomatically, and covertly in every conceivable way, without allocating a dollar to rebuilding and upgrading our own failing infrastructure. We have no high-speed rail here, while China is increasingly connected by it. Even a Chinese deal to build an experimental high-speed line in the US folded under a morass of bureaucracy, lawsuits, and xenophobia.
Formerly, the United States was the undisputed world leader in mass-transit. We once had a railway system that was the model which other nations emulated. But infrastructure issues don't grab headlines like China-bashing does; or today's headline that a basketball player threw his mouthguard into the stands during a tantrum; or the major announcement that Pornhub will now be offering audio services for the blind. The latter story is considered, by today's standards, a major US technological breakthrough.
So in the immediate future, while a typical Ameroboob arrives at 4 AM to the airport; wastes two hours allowing TSA perverts to paw through his underwear and take nude photographs of his kids; hoping all the while nobody in his entourage was accidently added to a No-Fly List; anticipating an uncomfortable crowded flight with no amenities--- the Greek who arrived at Athens Terminal at the same hour will be half-way to Hong Kong, enjoying a nice breakfast in the dining car. But at least the US airlines' profit margins will remain high; and in modern America, the bottom line is really all that matters.