Barnard College professor Dr. Alex Cooley and Wiley partner Kevin Muhlendorf discuss the risks of corruption in 5G telecom implementation through the lens of international telecommunications scandals.
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A trilogy of corruption and bribery cases centered around Uzbekistan’s telecommunications market have reverberated through international courts, highlighting just how severe the global risks can be of deciding to pay off politically connected elites in even the most closed and far-off countries.
While most heads were turned to the East-West transport arteries spearheaded by China’s Belt and Road investments, activity along the lesser known North-South corridors has been slowly gaining momentum. Like their East-West cousins, the North-South routes consist of a bundle of land and sea multimodal corridors and connect South Asia to Northern Europe via the Persian Gulf and the Caspian region. Unlike the China-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, however, the development of the North-South corridors follows a more multilateral and multi-stakeholder approach.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), examined in the first part of this series, has developed slowly but steadily during its twenty years of existence. Although mired by political and financial difficulties, including new sanctions on Iran (and Russia) placed by the Trump administration, the corridor will retain its potential for the actors involved. Today, the INSTC is complemented by two other initiatives: the Chabahar International Transport and Transit Corridor; and the proposed Russia-Pakistan (Ru-Pak) Corridor. The two projects are discussed below, followed by a brief evaluation of the potential impact of the full roll-out of these emerging North-South trade routes.
Given the wars in the Middle East, the muscle-flexing of China towards its neighbors, the strategic challenges to NATO and its allies posed by Russia, and the serious drug wars on the southern border of the United States, attention in Washington is clearly—and understandably—divided. However, a significant challenge to U.S. national security is looming in Eurasia and appears to be receiving limited attention from the U.S. government: Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative and its plan to connect China with Western Europe through overland routes across Central Asia.