Eurasia is an idea whose time has come around again

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With the humbling of the west and the converging interests of China and Russia, could the New Silk Road lead to a vast free-trade area?

The Chinese are the most historically minded of people. In his conquest of power, Mao Zedong used military tactics derived from Sun Tzu, who lived around 500 BC; Confucianism, dating from around the same time, remains at the heart of China’s social thinking, despite Mao’s ruthless attempts to suppress it.

So when President Xi Jinping launched his “New Silk Road” initiative in 2013, no one should have been surprised by the historical reference. “More than two millennia ago,” explains China’s National Development and Reform Commission, “the diligent and courageous people of Eurasia explored and opened up several routes of trade and cultural exchanges that linked the major civilisations of Asia, Europe and Africa, collectively called the Silk Road by later generations.” In China, old history is often called to aid new doctrine.

Economic and political developments have created an opportunity for Eurasia to emerge from its historical slumbers

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