When Joe Biden became President, everyone thought that he would be taking steps for the betterment of the world; but it seems like everyone was wrong. China, which is a global competitor of the US, launched the Belt and Road Initiative that contains 2600 projects with a combined value of $3.7 trillion and is scattered across 140 countries. It is one of those projects that has tremendously increased Chinese influence across the world. The US decided to counterbalance BRI with the help of its western allies and launched Build Back Better World (B3W). B3W is a global infrastructure initiative that will help narrow the $40 trillion infrastructure across multiple countries having negligible growth by 2035. It will also focus on climate health, health security, digital technology and gender equality. The accountability will be according to the rules of the Blue Dot Network that was launched by the Quad member apart from India in 2019.

Both BRI and B3W has some advantages and disadvantages. According to some reports, BRI led projects are causing debt unsustainability. Countries like Ethiopia, Egypt, Yemen, Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan are at a greater risk of being unable to pay back the loan. Secondly, as BRI is totally funded by China, what if political instability takes place in China? Covid-19 impacted 20% of BRI projects with delays. Similarly, B3W has some disadvantages as well. Firstly, it lacks clarity and there is no proper plan of investing $40 trillion. Secondly, it is a multilateral initiative and involves members of the G7. Germany, Italy and UK will find it harder to project B3W as an alternative to BRI. China is the largest trading partner of Germany for five consecutive years. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel clearly stated that EU and US interests in China were not identical. Italy opposed the anti-China stance at the G7 summit and Mario Draghi suggested that such actions against China must be avoided. Boris Johnson at the NATO summit said that no one wanted to be a part of a new cold war. EU was the top trading partner of China in 2020 surpassing the US.

There are some other hurdles in front of B3W as well. The west has not undertaken any major infrastructure project since 1948. The west has a poor track record on infrastructure development. Now what does the BRI bring? BRI was not launched to contain US influence. It was an economic plan. The investments under BRI are being made in strategic infrastructure like ports and telecommunications that would definitely help intra-regional connectivity.

Pakistan enjoys a strategic partnership with China. Prime Minister Imran Khan said many times that the future of Pakistan was with China. CPEC, which is the flagship project of BRI, is implemented in Pakistan. US tried its best to convince Pakistan that CPEC was a debt trap but Pakistan stood firm with China. B3W.

The current projects of CPEC have a combined value of $25.2 billion and generated 75000 jobs. Pakistan would continue to resist any attempt to halt or scale back the progress of CPEC projects. Thucydides’ trap seems to be the only justification for rapidly deteriorating US-Sino ties.