Debt is an intoxicating and potentially devastating drug. This is as true for countries as it is for individuals. China, the Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, wants its neighbors indebted to it. Seems a move right out of Sun Tsu’s Art of War.
(From The New York Times)
But where Malaysia once led the pack in courting Chinese investment, it is now on the front edge of a new phenomenon: a pushback against Beijing as nations fear becoming overly indebted for projects that are neither viable nor necessary — except in their strategic value to China or use in propping up friendly strongmen.
At the end of a five-day visit in Beijing, Malaysia’s new leader, Mahathir Mohamad, said on Tuesday that he was halting two major Chinese-linked projects, worth more than $22 billion, amid accusations that his predecessor’s government knowingly signed bad deals with China to bail out a graft-plagued state investment fund and bankroll his continuing grip on power.