MoA—The authors of the Atlantic piece, who are professors at John Hopkins and Harvard, conclude that there is no Chinese ‘financial imperialism’. The whole concept is wrong:
The notion of “debt-trap diplomacy” casts China as a conniving creditor and countries such as Sri Lanka as its credulous victims. On a closer look, however, the situation is far more complex. China’s march outward, like its domestic development, is probing and experimental, a learning process marked by frequent adjustment. After the construction of the port in Hambantota, for example, Chinese firms and banks learned that strongmen fall and that they’d better have strategies for dealing with political risk. They’re now developing these strategies, getting better at discerning business opportunities and withdrawing where they know they can’t win. Still, American leaders and thinkers from both sides of the aisle give speeches about China’s “modern-day colonialism.”
‘Financial imperialism’ and ‘modern-day colonialism’ is what the U.S. exercises when it blocks IMF and Worldbank loans or binds them to political conditions. China is so far not known for doing such.