8 December, Shanghai – The Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS) and the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC RI, DOC) have held a joint seminar themed ‘At the Confluence of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union: Transnational Development on the Eurasian Continent’.
The main subjects under discussion were the prospects for implementing mega-infrastructure projects as part of the Eurasian Economic Union, One Belt One Road initiatives, identifying key trends in the creation of a single economic space, establishing socio-economic infrastructure, and developing human capital.
DOC RI Co-founder Dr Vladimir Yakunin gave a presentation that focused on the contradictions inherent in the Westphalian world order and current trends in globalisation. Acknowledging the phenomenon’s clear benefits, such as the boundless communications space with all its interconnectivity, meaning that the overwhelming majority of politicians rightly seek engagement – not isolation, he looked at which model of globalisation is most able to meet our needs in terms of global development.
Dr Yakunin also considered the potential for the US presidential election results to impact the current dominant model of US-led globalisation – due to President Elect Donald Trump’s reluctance to intervene in other states’ affairs.
Vladimir Yakunin noted that China’s involvement in the global economy has meant that this neoliberal model of globalisation is, in any case, defunct, but stressed that key elements of the system of global governance – such as the IMF, the Federal Reserve, and even the UN – remain and cannot be described as under China’s control. He questioned whether China should be left to take up this burden of global leadership alone, given the substantial financial-economic resources required.
In considering alternatives to a US-led or China-led globalisation process, Dr Yakunin highlighted how competition is held to be the driving force in global development. It is important to acknowledge the fact that in any competition there are winners and losers. The collaborative approach of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union is a relationship between equal responsible partners, and represents Russia’s vision of a different kind of globalisation in Eurasia, rooted firmly in our shared values.
The question Dr Yakunin then posed was – how do we make sure that the simultaneous development of these different centres of growth leads to synergy, not conflict? The Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union may yet show us the way.
Li Xin, Professor at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, Member of the Supervisory Board of DOC, noted that China is a proponent of the New Silk Road and Sea Silk Road initiatives as ways to ensure we do not fall into the ‘static’ trap of becoming overly reliant on an established understanding of spheres of interests and alliances that fundamentally limit the development of new growing economies. He also noted that there is potential for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union collaboration to take place under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).