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Finally, Some Sanity on the Silk Road from the U.S. Media

Dec. 1, 2015 (EIRNS)—A fascinating article by Andrew Browne of the Wall Street Journal today, titled "Can Beijing Sell Silk Road as a Marshall Plan against Terror?", calls for the U.S. to join China in the Silk Road as the necessary means to provide development for the Islamic world, and as the only way to bring peace to the region.

"In the aftermath of the Paris massacre," Browne writes,

"a question worth asking is whether China can get the West to work with it on a network of highways, railways, power stations and industrial parks stretching all the way to Europe. The Silk Road Economic Belt represents the most significant economic proposal any country has put forward to help stabilize chaotic parts of the world. Moreover, it’s backed by hard cash: China is putting its $3.5 trillion of foreign-exchange reserves behind the effort to kick-start growth and create jobs in Muslim areas....

"At stake is an immensely ambitious Chinese initiative that is critical to Beijing’s effort to secure its vulnerable western flank. The project is twinned with an equally sweeping concept, the Maritime Silk Road, that’s meant to have a similarly transformative economic impact along sea routes from China to Europe via Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa....

"Almost everybody agrees that bombing Islamic State won’t deal with the underlying problems that breed murderous fanatics. Here’s China, then, with a critical missing element, a plan that some compare with the U.S. effort after World War II to rebuild the shattered economies of Europe and Japan. William H. Overholt, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Asia Center, writes that like America’s visionary program, China’s Silk Road initiative is impressive not just for its geographic scope but also for its integration of economic, political and national security considerations....

"Lifting the economic despair that sustains Muslim extremism is a vision that should naturally bring China and the U.S. together; terrorism challenges them both equally, like climate change or pandemics, where they have a good track record of cooperation. And unlike East Asia, where American and Chinese strategic interests collide, in the Muslim world they largely coincide.

"Xinjiang could become the place where China’s internal security unravels. Or it could be the launchpad for a global effort to counter the appeal of Muslim death cults. But for that, China needs to convince the West of the value of its Silk Road plans."