The Belt and Road Initiative and Global Governance
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The Belt and Road Initiative and Global Governance

Edited by Maria A. Carrai, Jean-Christophe Defraigne and Jan Wouters

This timely book examines the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), assessing its effect on the international economic order and global governance more broadly. Through a variety of qualitative case studies, the book investigates the implementation of the BRI and evaluates its development outcomes both for China and the countries it interacts with under the initiative, along with its international implications.
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Chapter 2: China’s move toward economic and political resilience through the Belt and Road Initiative

Christer Ljungwall

Abstract

This chapter discusses the concept of geoeconomic resilience and how it will ultimately allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to weld together and fully make use of its two main sources of legitimacy: economic wealth and nationalism. Today, the possibility of severe interstate crises threatens the party because it is often put under nationalist pressure to take aggressive action. As of now the CCP has not been in a position to comply with such demands without risking great economic consequences, which would undermine the legitimacy it derives from providing its people with economic welfare. Yet stepping back and accepting a political, economic or even military loss would strike a blow to both President Xi Jinping and party legitimacy. The solution to this dilemma is geoeconomic resilience, which would grant China the option to comply with nationalist demands to take aggressive action while absorbing the consequences and continuing to deliver on its promise of economic well-being. It has been emphasized on multiple occasions that China is not seeking to replace current international institutions through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and it would not have the capacity to do so even if it tried. No significant countries have publicly voiced support for a global order dominated by China, and no power has recognized the positive role the BRI could play to supplement the World Trade Organization, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Concerns about the BRI are not ill-founded, but judgements may be blurred. Geoeconomic resilience would allow China to withstand and absorb the economic effects of various types of sanctions, providing it with the option to act more assertively abroad.

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