Will the Belt and Road Initiative Bring World Peace?

Many of you are familiar with this initiative — The Belt and Road initiative. let’s look at this initiative from another angle, an interesting relationship between international trades and political peace. We know that the Belt and Road is related to the economy. It has also been given a certain political meaning since Present Xi Jinping’s speech in Kazakhstan in 2013. The public also discussed whether the Belt and Road can alleviate the recent tensions and challenges in certain areas. So, to what extent that the economy can affect political peace. Can the belt and road progress bring real benefits to world peace through the economics developments?

let’s start with the trade peace theory and see what the relationship between economy and politics is.

Liberals insisted that “the country’s trade relations will lead to international peace.” This thought came from Montesquieu in 16th century, maybe even earlier. They believed that trade between the two countries could promote peace and create common interests. The common interests make it harder for the two countries to resolve conflicts with war.

As political scholars have pointed out, this value arising from trade acts as a “hostage” between any conflicting countries. If the “hostage” is of considerable value and is threatened by war, then the sovereign state is no longer completely independent and autonomous. Since the benefits of trade are likely to be lost in war, the common expectation of loss can serve to prevent conflicts between trading partners. To put it more bluntly, if people on one side of the border have assets or valuable customers on the other side, they are less likely to support the destruction of those assets or trading partnerships, and more likely to support for peace.

Until the First World War, the school of realism in international relations was gradually emerging. People thought that the economy belongs to low-level politics and the security belongs to high-level politics. Low-level politics and high-level politics could not be compared. Power was the primary pursuit of the state. Research that had continued for hundreds of years on the link between trade and peace has postponed, until the 1970s that the oil crisis and stagflation led to turbulence and war between countries. Since then, the relationship between economy and politics has once again raised by the public.

Trade peace theory is an important aspect of Neoliberal Institutionalism. It believes that the distinction between high-level politics and low-level politics is no longer obvious, and the interdependence between countries will reduce the war crisis to a certain extent. The embodiment of the economy is the trade peace theory.

So why would people think that trade will promote peace? Well, let’s take a look at the logic behind ‘trade leading to peace’.

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