China’s Belt and Road strategy is acknowledged to be the most ambitious geopolitical initiative of the age. Covering almost seventy countries by land and sea, it will affect every element of global society from shipping to agriculture, digital economy to tourism and politics to culture. Most importantly, it symbolizes a new phase in China’s ambitions as a superpower: to remake the world economy and crown Beijing as the new centre of capitalism and globalization.
Bruno Macaes traces this extraordinary initiative’s history, highlighting its achievements to date and its staggering complexity. He asks whether Belt and Road is about more than power projection and profit. Will it herald a new set of universal political values, to rival those of the West? Is it, in fact, the story of the century?