The growing strategic rivalry between the United States and China is driven by shifting power dynamics and competing visions of the future of the international order. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a leading indicator of the scale of China’s global ambitions. The intent behind the initiative—either economic or strategic—has raised significant concern in the United States and elsewhere. While Beijing portrays the infrastructure development initiative as a benign investment and development project that is economically beneficial to all parties—and in certain cases clearly has been—there are strategic manifestations that contradict this depiction. Washington is skeptical of the initiative, warning of the risks to recipients and the harm it will cause to America’s strategic interests abroad. But many of America’s partners reject the U.S. interpretation and are forging ahead with Beijing. Ahead of China’s second Belt and Road Summit in late April 2019, Brookings Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Bruce Jones convened seven Brookings scholars—Amar Bhattacharya, David Dollar, Rush Doshi, Ryan Hass, Homi Kharas, Mireya Solís, and Jonathan Stromseth—to interrogate popular perceptions of the initiative, as well as to evaluate the future of BRI and its strategic implications. The edited transcript below reflects their assessment of China’s motivations for launching BRI, its track record to date, regional responses to it, the national security implications of BRI for the United States, as well as potential policy responses. The highlights:FP_20190419_bri_interview
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