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The Belt and Road Initiative in China’s Emerging Grand Strategy of Connective Leadership
2017-10-19 10:16:00

China & World Economy / 4–22, Vol. 25, No. 5, 2017


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The Belt and Road Initiative in China’s Emerging Grand Strategy
of Connective Leadership

Giovanni B. Andornino


Abstract

As Chinese leaders endeavor to maintain the international environment aligned with their strategic aim of realizing the “dream of national rejuvenation,” the remarkable increase in China’s capabilities, coupled with uncertainty in the global economy and the ambivalent attitude of the USA toward the international order, poses fresh challenges to Beijing’s foreign policy. The present paper argues that a lexicographic preference for the mitigation of the risk of pushback against China’s core interests underpins the Belt and Road Initiative. Pursuing a strategy of credible reassurance commensurate to the shift in the distribution of power in China’s neighborhood and globally, President Xi Jinping’s administration has been cultivating a form of connective leadership that commits China to the encapsulation of the Belt and Road Initiative for transregional connectivity into its own national development strategy, generating an octroyé, non-hegemonic, type of international social capital, and integrating the existing order without corroborating the position of its founder.


Key words: Belt and Road Initiative, China, connective leadership, grand strategy, international order, social capital