Belt and Road Initiative

China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Indo-Naga Conundrum

cc Narendra Modi, modified, https://www.flickr.com/photos/narendramodiofficial/29447291745

Political reconciliation with the Nagas is one of several obstacles in New Delhi’s quest for greater regional connectivity.

India’s Act East Policy: Warning to China or Flawed Strategy?

CC Presidencia de la República Mexicana, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Visita_Primer_Ministro_de_la_Rep%C3%BAblica_de_la_India,_Narendra_Modi_(27277251430).jpg

Modi’s Act East Policy has boosted naval capacity and morale, but fallen short on overland connectivity and trade promotion.

China’s Belt and Road Runs Aground in the Philippines

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping shake hands prior to their bilateral meetings at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 20. Photo by King Rodriguez/PPD, cc Philippine government, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:President_Duterte_handshake_with_President_Xi.jpg

Lacking the mega-projects seen in mainland Southeast Asia, Beijing’s infrastructure plans in the Philippines have been noticeably smaller in scale and focused more on local connectivity.

COVID-19 Rages as Myanmar’s Post-Coup Economy Crumbles

Inle Lake Myanmar (Burma) 2014, cc Caroline Jones, modified, Flickr, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

The World Bank projects that Myanmar’s economy will contract by 18% in 2021 as a third wave of COVID-19 compounds the impacts of February’s military coup.

The Twilight of Pax Americana

KABUL, AFghanistan (Sept. 11, 2010) Fire Controlman 1st Class Andrew Eden, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command disclosure officer, right, and French Air Force Sgt. Lydia Briand prepare to raise the American Flag at Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford/released)

The United States bears many of the hallmarks of a hegemon in decline.

Southeast Asia Vital to the G7’s “Build Back Better World” Initiative

cc首相官邸ホームページ, modified, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Family_photo_of_G7_leaders_and_the_invited_guests_at_Carbis_Bay_(1).jpg

Southeast Asia can play a critical role in realizing the promise of the B3W; the initiative’s success is both good for the United States, and good for the region.

US-China Rivalry a Foreign Policy Headache for Bangladesh

CC US Department of State, modified, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Secretary_Kerry_Walks_With_Bangladeshi_Prime_Minister_Sheikh_Hasina_Wazed_in_Dhaka_(28692596773).jpg

Despite courting from Beijing and Washington, Bangladesh is unlikely to deviate from its longstanding commitment to non-alignment.

From Bangkok to Nong Khai: China’s Thai Railway Vision Edges Forward

cc Flickr Clay Gilliland, modiifed, https://flickr.com/photos/26781577@N07/12250463656/in/photolist-jEwQ3C-2qW3R-NFUDY7-bKfNCR-2fhoZ5N-r3vXv-5AcMX-bvqnz5-ZNpBGt-229HjpK-6EWzkg-7uU3FZ-bvqoeY-o8BB9p-2J9U7a-21Y18NW-nxqVcw-SMR2Hc-nR85pA-bwkVem-UFWw8S-oaoHFK-osfkLV-56xkT1-imprwc-6GPrvJ-jAB5y6-osv5Fq-7uU3Dt-FfoXi-8gLjd-bRgxvg-eYt6Gc-6PZWL8-k8ohbz-h5Vdy4-6yAif3-qq9kSK-bKfqCa-KiXmcV-exVp25-JSfqfZ-4KCeqM-a6dvzw-FGPem-ZNpBGZ-ifnR7P-4phBgd-5EWns-VYjSUe

Plans for a high-speed rail line from Bangkok to the Laotian border are moving forward after Thailand signed construction contracts for phase one of the project with Chinese state-owned firms.

Belt and Road Suffers Setbacks in Italy, Australia

cc Flickr EU2017EE Estonian Presidency, modiifed, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Two Western governments scuttled Belt and Road-linked deals this week. Is a trend in the making?

Strategic Commodities 2.0: Global Tantalum Supply & Demand

cc Hi-Res Images of Chemical Elements, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Single_piece_of_tantalum,_about_1_cm_in_size..jpg

Next in our series on strategic commodities we examine tantalum, a conflict mineral with complex geopolitical ramifications for East Africa and beyond.

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