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Saturday, June 1, 2024

Chinese debt trap diplomacy – Myth debunked

The problem with a few people in this country is that they buy the western media agenda hook line and sinker. Then they believe that agenda and promote it to get a few likes on social media and enjoy the acceptance of it by other ignorant people.

The beautiful thing about history and the more beautiful thing within history are numbers and figures. You cannot twist and turn the historical numbers and label them your opinion. You cannot say that in 1837 the world population was 64 billion inhabitants and the world consisted of 364 countries. No matter who you are, a famous television anchor or a common person, you would be lying.

“Freedom of Expression” allows you to render an opinion. It does not allow you to twist numerical facts and call them your opinion. You can say that you do not like the sun. That would be your opinion but you cannot say that the sun is purple and call it a factual statement.  And this especially applies to public figures who have a decent followership and who can influence millions with such baseless statements.

Moreover under the guise of “freedom of expression” you can gladly reveal your “opinion” but you cannot under any circumstances deny a fact based on that opinion. Especially a fact embedded in figures.

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Chinese debt trap diplomacy: The term and its origin

Never in my decades on international finance and running a Wall Street investment bank and being part of tens if not hundreds of sovereign financial deals had I heard the term “debt trap diplomacy”. This is neither a term used in economics nor in the financial lingo of the debt markets around the world. Hundreds of years of capital markets history never had such a word until a few years ago when an Indian scholar with a degree in arts, yes arts, and who is also responsible for writing the Indian Nuclear Doctrine as being part of the Indian National Security Advisory Group, coined this term “Chinese debt trap diplomacy”. His name is Brahma Chellaney.

A genius evil and Machiavellian twist of the simple term “debt” turned into “debt trap” and later on added the name “Chinese” into it. Debt has been used by nations and individuals from the time beginning. The total world debt is $300 trillion dollars as of December 31st, 2022. The total national debt of China is just $7 trillion dollars as opposed to the total American debt of $32 trillion dollars. The total amount of money lent by China to other countries is less than $300 billion dollars. An amount of $299 trillion 700 billion dollars less than the debt circling around in this world. Or otherwise in percentage, less than just 1% of the global debt.

So the real debt trap which is 99% higher is not being discussed or being called the real debt trap. No term is being used as a global debt trap by 99% of the world to manipulate those countries into political submission. But just a country that has lent 1% is being singled out and Anchors such as Kamran Khan are publicizing this anomaly as a fact. This is what I was speaking about in my first paragraph that numbers cannot be lied upon and not be challenged. I feel it my national duty to highlight what our friend China has done for us in the past and how it is being punished in the media by the western vested powers who control it, as a monster who in actuality is a loveable Panda.

China: A friend or foe of Pakistan?

The problem with a few people in this country is that they buy the western media agenda hook line and sinker. Then they believe that agenda and promote it to get a few likes on social media and enjoy the acceptance of it by other ignorant people. Nobody challenges them and they get encouraged by this fact and next time around they do it even more vehemently and boldly.

My reason for taking time out to challenge Mr. Kamran Khan’s tweet was my sheer love for Pakistan and whom I value as friends of Pakistan, China being the top of that list with a proven track record. No other country has helped as generously in these direly testing economic times for Pakistan as China has.

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It recently deposited $500 million dollars into the State Bank of Pakistan. This new deposit makes it a total of $1 billion in assistance within one month whereas the western-controlled International Monetary Fund has us chewing on steel balls for just $1.2 billion for 11 months. This was the much-needed lifeline as our foreign reserves have fallen to the point where it can kill our economy and render us bankrupt. Just in the recent past when floods were wreaking havoc in Pakistan, China had sent quick and swift assistance of $260 million dollars. Let us not forget the $200 million in assistance for building the Gwadar airport recently.

A total of $25.4 billion dollars has already been invested in Pakistan by China. An amount unmatched in 75 years of Pakistani history by any other country and all this without any political interference and demands. A simple investment that benefitted the people of Pakistan and created 192,000 new jobs. 192,000 new families are being taken care of in other words. This created 8000 megawatts of electricity. 510 kilometers of highways in Pakistan and 868 kilometers of the national core transmission network.

This investment of China brought $17.5 billion in new revenues to the Pakistani government and $2.12 billion in additional taxes for our country. 1320 megawatts Shanghai Electric Thar block K-1 coal project providing 85,000 new jobs during its construction and bringing fruits to 42 related construction industry sectors. 12,000 out of these jobs were created just in Thar. A remote area that never saw such an unprecedented job creation in 75 years of Pakistan’s history.

I can go on writing another ten paragraphs of factual numbers that are NOT my opinions. They are facts and I challenge Mr. Kamran Khan to deny challenging them. I shall wait for a response from him till the cows come home.

In these dire times for Pakistan we need to make our bonds with friendly countries much stronger rather than shinning them and driving them away. No western country has ever helped Pakistan with such numbers and on top of that without any political demands. China is our friend. China has always been a friend and China will always BE our friend. God has bestowed us with this geo-location and made China our neighbor. A neighbor who has proven to be a great one historically.

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When China prospers and if we play our regional cards correctly then we prosper by default. China rises and we rise along with it. China grows and we can grow side by side. But and there is a big but, only if we stop creating false narratives and do what America wants us to do and that is to make China an enemy because America considers it an enemy. Remember one thing, if you have studied American foreign policy then you would know that America has always created an enemy in their own thoughts to create an agenda that only benefits the Americans.

Enemies such as Columbia Venezuela Cuba Iran to Syria to Afghanistan to Libya to Iraq and have always demanded countries like Pakistan to join hands with declaring these countries our enemies as well. We have seen the results of such demands when we got involved in Afghanistan affairs on the behest of the Americans. The result was 90,000 deaths. $120 billion dollars of economic activity was lost and getting pushed decades behind.

So you decide. You are the real owners of Pakistan: Its people. You want to side with the time-tested friend China or listen to the rumors of some vested interests from within Pakistan and make our friends into foes.

The writer is the founder of an investment bank on Wall Street and the author of four books. He previously served as an advisor to the government of Pakistan. The views expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.