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Belt and Road: The Sinews of Chinese Power

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  33 reviews
China's Belt and Road strategy is acknowledged to be the most ambitious geopolitical initiative of the age. Covering almost seventy countries by land and sea, it will affect every element of global society, from shipping to agriculture, digital economy to tourism, politics to culture. Most importantly, it symbolizes a new phase in China's ambitions as a superpower: to rema ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 6th 2018 by C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
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Bruno Maçães' book offers a thoughtful and well positioned overview of the Belt and Road Initiative along with some considered projections on potential outcomes 30 years' ahead.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China's huge strategic transcontinental investment and policy project covering some seventy countries that aims to facilitate and create global economic integration (and indeed Chinese power).

Mr Maçães is a well-informed having been educated at Lisbon and Harvard universities and spen
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-politics
The Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI”) also known as One Belt One Road (“OBOR”) was unraveled to the world for the first time by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September and October 2013 during visits to Astana in Kazakhstan and Jakarta in Indonesia. This mega initiative was thereafter enthusiastically promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during state visits to Asia and Europe. The Chinese government calls the initiative "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future.” Touted to ...more
A Man Called Ove
2.5/5 First things first, I was stunned by the concept of "Belt and Road". I earlier thought "Belt and Road" or "One Belt One Road" was just the CPEC - China-Pakistan Economic Corridor connecting West China to Gwadar with a few sub-routes thrown in West Asia. Now, in my humble (and ignorant) opinion, it is the greatest project of imperalism since the British Empire or the Nazi attempt under Hitler.
Massive projects which will be paid for by the host govt (say Pakistan), with contracts awarded op
Carlos Martinez
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: china, multipolarity
A useful if somewhat dry primer on the Belt and Road initiative - the China-led alternative globalisation project that poses the first serious threat to US hegemony since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Maçães is a seasoned Portuguese politician and academic, and clearly has a detailed understanding of the complexities of international trade and global value chains. As such he is well placed to explain the scope of the Belt and Road initiative and to uncover the complex mix of challenge and opp
Avinash Chhetry
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book talks about how China has evolved over a period of time, specially post the century of humiliation. The author has structered the contents of the book in a commendable manner which enables the reader to comprehend about the ever evolving dynamics of global polity with the rising China as the epicenter. The book talks about how Belt and Road initiative of China will shape the world order incase it goes on to be a success, which i personally doubt.
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
What is the Belt and Road? Why is it of significance? How likely is it to be achieved? These are the questions that this book seeks to address. An important part in understanding the book is to accept that the strategic design of Chinese foreign policy is westwards rather than eastwards. If we ask where the US fits into this plan, the simple answer is that it doesn't. If we can accept that rpemise, the rest of the account falls into place.

The Belt and Road is the blueprint by which China seeks t
Raumil Suthar
Oct 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Well structured but a map would help. It contains what is already available in news articles with added opinions of the author. It does not cover any historical aspects of Chinese ideas which would have helped in tracking the overall development. Though most of the issues have a political backing, the author does not go into the political ideas of the CCP.
Madikeri Abu
Oct 28, 2020 rated it liked it

The belt and road initiative by China is a much, much more ambitious, expensive and expansive infrastructure project than that of Marshall plan initiated by the USA in 1948 to rebuild western Europe after the world war 2. As per one estimate the cost of the BRI is 8-10 trillion dollars, yes you read it right, 8-10 trillion US dollars! That is more than three times the GDP of India, a country of 1.35 billion people.

In this book, Belt and Road: The Sinews of Chinese Power by former European Union
Milan Assies
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book, interesting insights. Somewhat too detailed here and there, but no major criticism furthermore.
Bill Leach
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Macaes examines China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, known in the West as the Belt and Road (B&R). The book starts with some of the history leading up to the B&R, and looks at some of the proposed works including transportation links for goods, energy flow and communications infrastructure. Most of the book is devoted to the bigger picture of China's objectives, the choice of partners for the B&R, and the ensuing global strategies. Finally, good material is included on the difference between ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
China’s entry into the WTO set-up back in 2001 was seen by the strategists of neoliberalism as a great way to tame the communist beast and shackle the country to the free market. The stirring up a new round of global super-power tension seems to be a marked departure from a line of development and progress that was intended to take the world in other directions.

Deng Xiaoping’s reforms back in the 1970s led to China becoming a supplier of cheap goods to the developed world which was beginning to
Kaitlin Oujo
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
An outstanding (and short) review of the history and politics of One Belt One Road. What I think differentiates this book from other writing about the Belt and Road is the reliance on primary sources (such as speeches by Chinese political leaders and investment records). This is not a “sky is falling” book about the rise of China, but a well-researched and well-written overview of this topic.
Terrific, detailed analysis of the Belt and Road and the implications for Chinese power and the formation of a new world order.
Trey Shipp
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A captivating and insightful book on the many dimensions of One Belt, One Road

I like how Mr. Maçães first gives the details of the enormous investments in roads, railroads, and ports, and then explains how they fit with China’s more aggressive economic strategy. The book has four sections:

• The physical and political details of Belt and Road.
• How Belt and Road changes the world’s economy.
• How Belt and Road challenges the US-dominant power structure.
• Speculation on what the world will look lik
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short book, but full of insightful analysis of where the most significant international initiative is likely headed. Maceaes's work is neither dismissive nor alarmist, but lays out with admirable objectivity the components of what is an amorphous concept rather than a detailed plan. His emphasis on China's aim of capturing global value chains to avoid the middle income trap was particularly eye opening. If you want to get a glimpse of several possible futures for the international global order ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it with a detailed map of Eurasia next to you

This book provided a worthwhile foray into a set of projects that may shape large regions of the world over the next three decades. It does have room for improvement when it comes to organization , avoiding repetition, and enriching its descriptions with visual aids (maps) as appropriate. Maps are referenced indirectly and even overtly stated to be useful throughout the book but none are provided.
Varun Kannan
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, a very informative Book on what China plans with the belt and road initiative.

However, some parts of the Book seemed very very general, and the author could have given more specific details and anecdotes. But keeping that aside, a very informative read in light of current world developments concerning China.

The book released in 2019, so foreign policy developments over the last one year have not been covered. Please keep this in mind while reading.
Eddie Choo
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent discussion of the Belt and Road

Macaes does a good job in describing the Belt and Road from an official-like perspective the first half seems to be a positive introduction of what the initiative is followed by the second half of criticisms and responses. Indeed the coherence of this China megaproject has not yet been met with an alternative. That is the tragedy. Too rosy about a China-centrjc world, though.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book explain the Chinese version of globalization. There are some interesting narratives regarding China and it's mega project BRI.
The book explains why the global east is crucial for the complete global philosophical orientation.
The writer talks about the geo economics of the BRI, and how BRI is a solution to the middle income trap in China and the rest of the world.
Terry Moseley
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This author is Portuguese, thus his expressions of complex ideas in his writings in English can be a bit of a struggle. I found myself reading sentences repeatedly. However, once in the flow in mid-book, I found this book fascinating and enjoyed the level of diplomacy it delivered.
Akash Kaushik
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew OBOR was important to the Chinese (thanks to the Sino Reddit community), but this book revealed the scale of its possible impact.
Brace yourself for the new world order.

Well researched book. Enjoyed the chapter dealing with India's view point particularly.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars out of 5. The subject matter was hugely interesting but the author frequently lapses into being too subjective. The last chapter was brilliant - but I felt could have done with more depth on how China sees this. I much preferred the Richard McGregor book



3.75 / 5.0
Mallika Saharia
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like how this book gives you a nice roundup on this subject. A little heavy, more factual than opined, very informative as a whole
Kathleen Anderson

Thorough presentation of the Chinese initiative. Very surprised Trump’s pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was not discussed, allowing a clearer path for China.
Joanne McKinnon
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Facts, not over-dramatized tidbits

A deeper look of the changing world. And why those changes are needed. We need to see the world outside our borders.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Informative and well written.
Vincent Wen
Poorly organized book.

Was hoping to learn more about the policy and potential aftermath. Instead I found the arguments hard to follow and demonstrated certain degrees of bias.
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Really good overview of the Belt and Road Initiative. Easy to digest, and not too long. Ideal if you know nothing about Chinese politics, and want to see where they, the Chinese are heading.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this book much less insightful than the previous one from the same author "The Dawn of Eurasia". Maybe it's because I'm following this topic more closely in the press. It's a good coverage of the topic and I learned some things. Since I saw Macaes had been partially financed by a Chinese institution, I was afraid he would be biased but in the end it's fine: he gives an unbiased view. Both the pros and cons.

I wasn't very convinced by the conclusion/previsions given in the last chapter. It
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“The Belt and Road is global in nature. Its ruling principle is interdependence, a close network of common interests by which every country’s development is affected by the development path in other countries. In his Jakarta speech, Xi called it a “community of shared destiny.” The expression featured in Chinese official pronouncements since at least 2007, when it was used to describe relations between Taiwan and the Mainland. Applied to relations outside China’s borders, it was a reformulation—a modern version—of the traditional concept of Tianxia (天下), which scholars such as Zhao Tingyang had been popularizing with extraordinary success. Zhao argued that the most important fact about the world today is that it has not become a zone of political unity, but remains a Hobbesian stage of chaos, conflict, noncooperation and anarchy.16 Looking for a way to frame new political concepts distinct from Western ideas of world order, the Chinese authorities quickly appropriated Tianxia—a notion that originated about three thousand years ago—and made it the cornerstone of their most ambitious geopolitical initiative. The idea of a community of shared destiny and the Belt and Road develop the two sides of every human action. Both have their own emphasis: the former belongs to the idea, the concept or type, the latter is aimed at practice. Together they form the “dialectical unity of theory and practice, goals and paths, value rationality and instrumental rationality.”17” 1 likes
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