Realising Eurasia. Empire and Connectivity during Three Millennia
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, all roads led to China. Europe’s demand for Chinese silks, ceramics, and tea led European traders to the Orient. Then as Europe industrialized, Europeans came to dominate world trade, building a string of bases and colonies around Africa, across the Indian Ocean, and in China. Today, China is seeking to reverse this “deviant” trend and restore China to its “normal” position as the world’s dominant economy. Seeking leadership in wind and solar power, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, and quantum computing to become the dominant power among twenty-first century economies, China is also building its own set of bases across the Indian Ocean and into southern Europe to reassert its control of these trade routes. If China succeeds, it will reverse the last two hundred years of world economic history and reassert its earlier role as the core actor in the global economy.