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

Biden confidants see VP choices narrowing to Harris and Rice

Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images

Confidants of Joe Biden believe his choices for vice president have narrowed to Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice — and would be surprised if he picks anyone else.

The state of play: This is a snapshot of the nearly unanimous read that we get from more than a dozen people close to him.

An election like no other

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus will make the 2020 presidential election different from any in modern history: Voting that begins earlier, results that take longer, mail carriers as virtual poll workers and October Surprises that pop in September.

The big picture: Perhaps 80 million Americans will vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, tells Axios. That's going to set up more of an Election Season than an Election Day — and increase the odds of national turmoil over the vote count.

Exclusive: Inside McCarthy's new GOP messaging platform

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has given his GOP colleagues new marching orders for stump speeches between now and November, as incumbents worry about how President Trump's own challenges may strain their re-election bids.

Driving the news: McCarthy delivered a PowerPoint presentation to the GOP conference in person last Thursday at the Capitol Visitor Center, with several members joining via Zoom, lawmakers and aides familiar with the gathering tell Axios.