Editor in Chief of New Eastern Europe, Adam Reichardt, sat down with Tod Lindberg, a Senior Fellow with the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, to discuss these issues and more.
The interview took place during the 2017 Riga Conference.
An interview with Sijbren de Jong, a strategic analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. Interviewer: Małgosia Krakowska
MAŁGOSIA KRAKOWSKA: When the Chinese president announced the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR), it was hailed as the “project of the century”. A report that you co-authored for the Hague Centre on Strategic Studies sheds much less optimism. What raises your concerns?
SIJBREN DE JONG: The answer is hidden in the modus operandi of the project. “The One Belt” refers to the land, economic belt, while the “One Road” refers to the maritime corridor. Under the scheme, Chinese financial institutions issue loans to countries in which the proposed OBOR related infrastructure will be constructed. Countries with a poor trade balance, for example in the Western Balkans, may benefit from the Chinese loans but also see their debt burden increase as a result.
Interview with Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at UMV, the Institute of International Relations Prague. Interviewer: Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska.
An interview with Charles King, professor of international affairs and government at Georgetown University. Interviewer: Aleksander Kaczorowski
ALEKSANDER KACZOROWSKI: You have written some excellent books on the Black Sea, Caucasus, Istanbul and Odesa. How did you first get involved in Eastern European issues?
CHARLES KING: Where I grew up, if you wanted to be strange at that time, the best way was by being interested in communism. I grew up in a rather conservative part of the United States, in the south, in Arkansas. During the Cold War in the 1980s this part of the world might as well have been on another planet, at least to the society that I grew up in. And I think I was always fascinated by the idea that people who live as far away as Europe or even in the Soviet Union must be real people, need not have two heads...
You know, “the Russians love their children too”?
You mention this song, of course it was a silly pop song, but in a way I think to the 15-year-old me that was a bit of a revelation: “Oh yes, I guess they must”. So then I just became fascinated by the communist world, as we used to call it, and my first time out of the United States was to the Soviet Union. I had never left the US before. I got my passport, they sent it to you through your post office back then, and headed to my Russian classes in Leningrad and Moscow.