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The new globalists (AP/Lintao Zhang)

Americans and Europeans are again riveted on intelligence leaks, cyber hacking and the latest surge of inward-looking fervor. In Beijing, though, the talk the last couple of days has been of globalization on a historic scale — the construction of a more than trillion-dollar global web of roads, ports, railroads and energy projects, all of them leading back to China.

The One Belt, One Road project would connect about 65% of the world's population and a quarter of its GDP, according to McKinsey, the consultant firm. If the project is realized as envisioned, much of world trade would be linked to Chinese economic strategy.

That may turn out fine for the US and the rest of the world — or it may not, since China's aim isn't the free movement of goods, the basis of the US-run trading system of the last half-century. "It's about selling their stuff," a European official attending a two-day Beijing summit on the project told The Wall Street Journal.

Expand chart
Data: Xinhua; Map: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

One Belt, One Road spans Asia, Europe, Africa, with links to South America. Since jettisoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership — the Obama administration's trade treaty meant to insinuate the US at the center of Asian trade — the Trump administration has offered no answer to One Belt, One Road.

Jonathan Hillman, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me that China may be seriously over-extending itself — it may be financing transportation projects with no economic viability. But the project envisions decades of spending and the jobs related to it, while officials in Washington can barely agree on six months of spending. "The West is kind of consumed with its own domestic issues and in some cases paralyzed and politically fragmenting," Hillman said. "While that is going on, China is trying to connect with the world."

Go deeper

53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Group of 20 bipartisan senators back $1.2T infrastructure framework

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) arrives for a meeting with Senate Budget Committee Democrats in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol building on June 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Majority Leader and Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee are meeting to discuss how to move forward with the Biden Administrations budget proposal. Photo: Samuel Corum / Getty Images

A group of 10 Democratic and 10 Republican senators (the "G20") tasked with negotiating an infrastructure deal with the White House has released a statement in support of a $1.2 trillion framework.

Why it matters: Details regarding the plan have not yet been released, but getting 10 Republicans on board means the bill could get the necessary 60 votes to pass.

DOJ drops criminal probe, civil lawsuit against John Bolton over Trump book

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Justice Department has closed its criminal investigation into whether President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton disclosed classified information with his tell-all memoir, “The Room Where it Happened," according to a source with direct knowledge.

Why it matters: The move comes a year after the Trump administration tried to silence Bolton by suing him in federal court, claiming he breached his contract by failing to complete a pre-publication review for classified information. Prosecutors indicated they had reached a settlement with Bolton to drop the lawsuit in a filing on Wednesday.

Fed may raise rates sooner, as inflation is higher than expected

Feb chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Susan Walsh/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged at its latest policy meeting, but a shift in sentiment emerged as to how soon it should begin raising rates.

Why it matters: The Fed's rock-bottom rates policy and monthly asset purchases helped the U.S. markets avoid a meltdown during the COVID-19 crisis last year. But as the economy recovers, a chorus is growing for the Fed to at least consider a timeline for pulling back its support before things get overheated.