The rapid rise of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) should be a wakeup call for the United States, and requires a well thought out response. The AIIB and other Chinese development agencies represent a new form of strategic competition that can help to drive progress at the multilateral level. Its emergence was spurred forward by growing infrastructure needs in Asia, and a lack of strategic vision to ensure that our existing multilateral institutions fit the changing global landscape.
The AIIB, however, will undoubtedly face challenges and growing pains. There is an opportunity for the United States and its partners to help the new institution face these implementation challenges, and establish the fledgling infrastructure fund as a positive player in global development. An effective approach will require coordinated action with Japan and other allies. The good news is that with some legislative actions, increased U.S. leadership within existing multilateral development banks (MDBs), and relatively small amounts of money, the United States could respond in a serious and constructive way to the AIIB.
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