Blue Dot Network is just Washington's delusion

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/24 21:09:56

Photo: IC

Washington's Blue Dot Network seems more like a delusion and a prelude to pointing fingers at the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) rather than a program to promote global infrastructure development.

Little is known so far about the new infrastructure program, which is being spearheaded by the US International Development Finance Corp (DFC), Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Maybe that's because DFC head Adam Boehler is busy defaming China's global infrastructure investment. In a Financial Times report on Monday, Boehler warned that China's $1.3 trillion spending spree on infrastructure is destined to collapse.

Since its launch in early November, the Blue Dot Network is widely seen as a new plan for the US and its allies to rival the BRI, but now it seems that such a view gives too much credit to some in Washington, who want to talk more and act less. 

Does the US really care about the infrastructure needs of developing countries? The answer is apparently "no." Washington is not interested in those infrastructure projects, otherwise the DFC head would not have overlooked the benefits that Chinese infrastructure investments have brought to economies along the BRI routes.

Even the US cannot deny that many developing countries need infrastructure investment to promote their development and improve people's living standards, which is why the Blue Dot Network is being  introduced as a promising alternative to the BRI to lure developing countries away from Chinese funding. The vision statement of the Blue Dot Network is to set a high standard for global infrastructure development. 

While it is not clear what the high standard is and how it will be achieved, the program is increasingly looking like a political tool. For instance, the DFC will fund advanced technologies like 5G in addition to traditional infrastructure projects, which is apparently following the political will of Washington.

Moreover, according to Boehler, the DFC ramped up its spending to $5.3 billion this year and received a funding boost from Congress that doubled its funding to $60 billion. These are no small numbers, but they seem meager compared with what China provided under the BRI. 

Since a single high-speed rail project linking Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia could cost at least $5 billion, it is quite doubtful that the DFC could make a splash with its limited funding, especially when China's investment in BRI economies has exceeded $100 billion, according to Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming.

The Blue Dot Network is more like an influencer project given the scale of its funding, which may not be sufficient to pay for even a major infrastructure project. The funding is, however, more than enough to issue some sort of report or analysis to indirectly defame Chinese investment.

While it remains to be seen whether such a report will be issued, the US needs to at least offer more to show its sincerity in pushing global infrastructure development, regardless of its other purposes.

Posted in: GT VOICE

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