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China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) prioritises peaceful development, whereas the US focuses on war and destruction

World News | Two opposing narratives arise in a world where international interactions take center stage and geopolitical tensions dominate headlines. On the one hand, we have China’s bold Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to link people and promote economic cooperation.

However, it appears like the US is caught in a never-ending cycle of violence and devastation. It is a story of calm progress set against a turbulent and conflicted setting.

While China was busy mobilizing resources for war in Israel and Ukraine, the United States was holding the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on October 17 and 18.

The United States, on the other hand, must reconsider its place in the world arena. Is it capable of changing its course from one of destruction to constructive engagement? Is it able to accept a new story that puts cooperation, diplomacy, and sustainable development first?

This paper aims to draw attention to the disparities between the US-led hegemonic “war economy,” which enriches Western elites, and the Chinese-proposed paradigm of peaceful growth.

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The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a crucial tool for advancing global development and reviving the spirit of the old Silk Road, which was based on connectivity, vast infrastructural development, and high-quality investments.

The framework’s other pillars include win-win outcomes, reciprocal benefit, openness and inclusivity, and mutual learning. The goal of the BRI’s joint development is to create a new, completely open system of international cooperation with equal opportunities for participation, development, and benefit for all nations—big or little, wealthy or poor—under fair norms.

BRI thus offers concrete opportunities for other developing countries to break out of the old cycles of underdevelopment while also providing China with opportunities to realize its own full potential in tandem with the large public goods associated with global peace and socioeconomic justice.

This year, the forum marked the 10th anniversary and produced substantial outcomes in the form of cooperation documents, initiatives, and mechanisms, as well as projects, funds, and measures. A number world leaders or their representatives participated in the Forum, including Zimbabwe and they praised the benefits of BRI and its sustainability and efficiency as an international public good, in line with the current trend of globalization.

China is an exponent of peaceful development, which it has experienced as a global economic powerhouse as well as a philosophy that it seeks to inculcate into the world as an alternative worldview.

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For starters, China does not seek hegemony or to dominate other countries, or to invade other countries as an assertion of its economic and military might.

President Xi Jinping has emphasized that China will “unswervingly take the road of peaceful development and remain a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order”.

He has also said China aims “to follow the path of peaceful development is a strategic choice made by us in the fundamental interests of the Chinese people” and that “to follow the path of peaceful development is a strategic choice made by us in the fundamental interests of the Chinese people.”

In November 2022 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, for example, he stated: “More than anything else, we Chinese hope to see peace and stability.”

He said China: “…will stand firmly on the right side of history. We will stay committed to peace, development, cooperation, and delivering mutual benefit. We will strive to safeguard world peace and development as we pursue our own development, and we will make greater contribution to world peace and development through our own development.”

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He has also emphasized that China will “unswervingly take the road of peaceful development and remain a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order”.

In addition, he has highlighted that China’s peaceful development over the past 50 years has been dedicated to the welfare of all humanity.

BRI and other initiatives that China has been an exponent of in recent years fully express these pro-people, pro-humanity and pro-development directions. It is little wonder that the majority of the world has supported China and acknowledges its leadership and strong moral force.

While China, led by President Xi, was charting a way for global peaceful development through the BRI Forum, his opposite number in the US, Joe Biden, was asking for Congress to approve over US$100 billion to finance war in Israel and Ukraine.

According to the media, On October 20, the Biden administration submitted a $106bn request to Congress for military and humanitarian aid for Israel and Ukraine and humanitarian assistance for Gaza, “insisting lawmakers had an obligation to support US allies standing up to tyranny and aggression worldwide”.

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This followed Biden’s address at the Oval Office that there were links between the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the deadly attacks on Israel by Hamas on 7 October.

Of the funds, $61.4bn was earmarked for Ukraine, incorporating replenishment of US weapons stocks, $14.3bn for Israel and $9.15bn for unspecified humanitarian assistance in both countries and the blockaded Gaza Strip Palestinian territory.

Further, most of the remainder of the money would be allocated for “security assistance” in the Indo-Pacific region, and strengthening the US-Mexico border with 1,300 additional border patrol agents and other resources, the administration said.

Biden’s rallying cry during his address was to win wars against bad guys, at least in Western eyes.

Said Biden: “History has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction.

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“They keep going and the costs and the threats to America and the world keep rising.”

An analysis of this demonstrates that US policy is so loud on self-righteousness but lacks basic morality because it glorifies war and destruction. The US support of Israel and Ukraine is predicated on binaries of “us vs them”.
The approach is a cheap, lowbrow glorification of might and ability to fund and sustain wars – at whatever cost, but with devastating effect.

Gaza, as the world has seen, is testimony of that. On the other hand, arming Ukraine is not a guarantee of peace of military victory against a much more superior opponent, but just a gimmick to feed the weak side with weapons for them to sustain the unwinnable war.

In all this, the so-called military-industrial complex is the winner: few elites involved in the manufacture and sale of weapons and logistics of war are the real and only beneficiaries.
It’s a corrupt system.

These companies and powerful elites are some of the biggest funders of politicians in America, therefore exposing the nexus between politicians and their actions. Even gravely, this price is paid elsewhere, either through lives of innocents, or in the post-war reconstruction, which people who suffered war and survived it somehow still have to pay a heavy price.

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These differences show why China is still receiving support from around the world and is becoming more widely regarded in terms of how people see it.

According to a 2021 research, for instance, more young Africans than American ones expressed admiration for China. The causes are well understood.

For example, China is addressing global needs in infrastructure and development, while the US aims to spend over $100 billion on weapons, devastation, and killing people in the name of defending its friends.

Simultaneously, China is spearheading the global family’s egalitarian and peaceful development while the US aims to expand its hegemony, particularly in the Middle East.

In actuality, this is the historical turning point and historical instant.

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Without a doubt, the US is on the wrong side.

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