“The Rise and Fall of a Contested Strategic Narrative: The Belt and Road Initiative, Geostrategic Elites, and the US-China Relationship”

In Students by General Account

This research considers how strategic narratives are deployed by Chinese and US geostrategic elites to promote or undermine China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), by examining key publications from governments, think tanks and scholars in the US and China in addition to interviewing key authors of these publications.

It seeks to explore the trajectory of BRI discourse among US and Chinese geostrategic elites, and to interrogate the interaction of these narratives between the two countries, with a particular focus on contestation of narratives and the recent decline in BRI’s prominence among both countries’ geostrategic discourse.

As such, this research promises both empirical and conceptual insight – empirically, on how China has sought to promote and adapt the BRI amidst geopolitical uncertainty, and how the US has sought to exploit this to undermine the BRI’s promotion.

Conceptual insight is found at the intersection of political geography and international relations, with contributions to literature on geostrategic elites and their use of strategic narratives, as well as wider literature on US-China relations as the frame for BRI narratives.