Silk Road Headlines_5th March, 2020

Nowadays, it seems the Arctic might be the safest place on earth to reside. Despite the safe harbour image, living there could be considered wildly uncomfortable. Not for China, Russia and Nordic states. The Arctic Corridor of the BRI has solid foundations. The Norwegian deep water harbour of Kirkeness could be a springboard to reach China above the Northern hemisphere. Helsinki might become an interesting air transport hub in the near future. Scientists are investigating whether a railway connection is feasible. There is one obstacle though: the difference in importance the involved parties place on social and environmental issues. It remains to be seen whether this ambition is one bridge too far [The Polar Silk Road - China's New Frontier of International Cooperation].

"The fact is, it does give business yet another thing to consider...", said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a television interview on January 30th, 2020, when asked about the impact of the Corona-virus on the unresolved US-China trade war [The Corona virus Outbreak Could Derail Xi Jingping's Dreams of a Chinese Century]. Despite the rhetoric of the article, it does give a striking illustration of the ever-expanding powers of China and the US. One can't stop thinking about the possibility of creating a robust system for world trade and/or order, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb penned down vis-à-vis risk assessment and -management in a corporate dimension.

[Connecting the Blue Dots] The think tank of Georgetown University published a commentary referring to a photo called ‘the pale blue dot’, of Earth seen from distant space. Carl Sagan made this picture famous. CSIS applauds the positive approach of the appealing American economic vision; where the US intends to cooperate with Japan and Australia to certify infrastructure projects around the world that reflect more US values and interests. Yet taking on necessary equity for this ambitious project is deemed challenging at the moment. Perhaps the Voyager Golden Record might be a more necessary ambition and a more fitting message, in view of rising tensions.

It's challenging to dissent with Carl Sagan’s views of our planet when he says: 'If we continue to accumulate only power and not wisdom, we will surely destroy ourselves.'

 

By Clingendael