I watched Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission in an interview recently talking about this new initiative that was developed specifically to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative which is a manifestation of China’s re-globalization ambitions. I also watched some online discussions on this new initiative which focus mostly on the ambitions and the details of developing the structures necessary to make it happen. The problem though as I understand it is that there does not seem much talk and/or consensus as to the ethical and/or political values guiding such an initiative. If anything the “No Strings Attached” statement by Ursula von der Leyen seems to suggest that this initiative will be not bounded by any such “restrictions” which if accurate would be another one of these gigantic efforts designed to fix a flaw by introducing a bigger one. Here is my view; any effort to build an effective global system that is void of a set of base values would eventually fail with efforts/resources wasted because simply put it is not sustainable. As I have argued in many posts governance models do count and focusing on short-term financial incentives is…well short cited and sloppy. In fact in my opinion the conflict we see today between Russia & China on the one side and the West on the other is one specifically about values more than anything else and the reason this conflict has taken this aggressive dynamic is due to the previous U.S administration that decided to ignore these values altogether during its term with it’s focus purely on transactional relationships led by a man that many would consider a moron – me included. What is needed and should be championed by the EU is a system that promotes Connectivity, Economic Growth, Transparency/Rule of Law and yes Democracy. Protecting the environment is one exception to the rule where governance model should not be a factor though some leverage will be needed to ensure compliance and effective planning.
The bottom line is that we need to focus on the big picture rather than being fixated by details of the big ambitions (getting too technical) and competition/rivalry otherwise we’ll be developing a failed system from the outset.