Three cheers for Harriet Isom’s column on “Standing up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”
China’s Belt & Road Initiative is an enormously ambitious plan with major implication for the global economy the geopolitical future. With $3 trillion of hard currency reserves, China has a vision of a future led by China and inspired by China’s growth model.
Isom provides a welcome call for America and American companies to stay involved. Estimates suggest that Asia alone will need many trillions of dollars in infrastructure over the next decades. In the Build Act of 2018, the United States took a small step to compete by combining existing elements of the government to support infrastructure spending in developing countries.
Isom ends her essay with a reminder of how the United States responded when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. Sputnik mobilized the country. America created NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (parent of the Internet), invested heavily in scientific research, provided grants for post-graduate study in science, sparked the study of science and math in the nation’s high schools and created university level programs to study key languages.
We need to embrace Isom’s call to maintain our global engagement. We also need to duplicate the kind of focus and commitment that we developed in the wake of Sputnik.
Woodrow Wilson Center