Does the geopolitical advantage of China's Belt and Road Initiative outweigh the financial costs of the loans? Would the loan be better spent internally or kept unused?

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    I'm sorry, but the way it is currently written, this is a question asking for personal opinions. We generally do not handle opinion-based questions. But if you have any factual questions about the political aspects of the Belt and Road Initiative, feel free to ask. – Philipp Sep 20 '18 at 7:29
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    @user4012 Yes, there are. But the way the question is currently written invites speculative and politicized answers and not objective analysis. – Philipp Sep 20 '18 at 12:58
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    Hi, how do I go about making it more neutral or objective? I have made some changes to the question. – Michael Sep 21 '18 at 4:53
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    @Michael There is still no way to really answer this question objectively, because "geopolitical advantage" can not be expressed in money. This question is really not a good fit for this website. We are a question&answer website, not a discussion forum. It would be better to ask more objective questions about what gepolitical advantages the initiative brings for China and then leave it to the reader to decide whether or not these advantages are worth it. – Philipp Sep 21 '18 at 11:27
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    Or maybe I should ask, why does the Chinese government feel that the geopolitical advantage of China's Belt and Road Initiative outweigh the financial costs of the loans. It seems like this is still not completely objective. The biggest reason why I asked this question here is that most of the discussion around the web revolves around the benefits of China doing this, instead of a thorough and weighted* pro-con analysis. * as in larger pros given more weight than smaller cons, instead of just listing them – Michael Sep 21 '18 at 14:33

This is not answerable because not even the costs of BRI can be well accounted for. E.g.

But for all the attention the BRI receives, there is little reliable information about how it is unfolding in aggregate. A major challenge is that the BRI label evades classification. There is no agreed-upon definition for what qualifies as a BRI project. There are roughly 70 countries participating in the BRI, according to Chinese state media. Yet there are Chinese-funded projects in non-participant countries that share many of the same characteristics. The BRI was officially launched in November 2013, but projects started years earlier are often counted. The BRI banner hangs over a wide and ever-expanding list of activities. There are BRI fashion shows, concerts, and art exhibits. By design, the BRI is more a loose brand than a program with strict criteria.


One cause of confusion is that the BRI is not a single plan at all. A visitor to its website would click in vain to find a detailed explanation of its aims. There is no blueprint of the kind that China’s leaders love: so many billions of dollars to be spent, so many kilometres of track to be laid or so much new port capacity to be built by such-and-such a date.

Chinese maps show the belt and road as lines that trace the routes of ancient “silk roads” that traversed Eurasia and the seas between China and Africa (see Briefing). That was the original conceit, but these days China talks about BRI as if it were a global project. The rhetoric has expanded to include a “Pacific Silk Road”, a “Silk Road on Ice” that crosses the Arctic Ocean and a “Digital Silk Road” through cyberspace.

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