With the United States bogged down by economic troubles at home, wriggling to organize its departure from Afghanistan and grappling with a variety of crises in the Middle East, it comes as no surprise that China is using the opportunity to invest considerable time and money into reviving the so-called Silk Road.
The concept of rejuvenating the Silk Road route that would, among other things, give a boost to Afghanistan’s struggling economy, has been paraded around for years by the U.S. State Department. Yet little actual progress has been made aside from ensuring the construction of reliable routes out of Afghanistan. Rather than pervasive regional economic development, the U.S. has spent its resources solidifying the longer, albeit more stable, land route out of the war zone through Central Asia. The effort, however necessary for the United States in a military sense, is hardly a substitute for broader economic investment and development in Central Asia.