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Retired U.S. Diplomat Outlines Advantages
of Belt and Road Initiative

May 2017

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr. (USFS, ret.) at a Schiller Institute conference in Berlin, June 25-26, 2016.

May 12, 2017 (EIRNS)—In an interview with NBC-TV May 11, retired U.S. diplomat Chas Freeman outlined the advantages of the United States participating in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Freeman, who served in government in various posts for 30 years, and served as the major translator for President Nixon on his trip to China in 1972, described the Belt and Road project as "potentially the most transformative engineering effort in human history."

He highlighted that the countries involved boast about 55 percent of global economic output, 70 percent of the world’s population and an estimated 75 percent of known energy reserves.

"Americans currently conceive of power in almost exclusively military terms, which is ironic, because we claim to believe in the power of markets to shape events, and the Belt and Road Initiative relies on markets,"

Freeman told NBC News.

"American aloofness" is not an answer to the strategic challenge posed by the initiative, he argued. "If we don’t seize exports opportunities where they exist, the jobs will go to others, not Americans," Freeman added. Belt and Road is still a vision, but if it’s realized in a significant way, all roads in Eurasia will "lead to Beijing" in time, according to Freeman.

"China will become the center of economic gravity as it becomes the world’s largest economy," he added.

"The ’Belt and Road’ program includes no military component, but it clearly has the potential to up-end the world’s geopolitics as well as its economics."