The scale and geographic range of the Belt & Road initiative clearly means that numerous factors will affect its intended aims of cross border trade and economic growth for the many countries along its path. Chief among these factors is the complex security reality which will influence investment and risk assessment related to the Belt & Road. Israel’s knowledge of global risk factors and diverse security experience seem to align well with the immense challenges in managing complex security situations involved in a diverse multinational, economic policy on the scale and scope of the Belt & Road.
In this SIGNAL Note we will evaluate how Israel’s cutting edge technological and human resources can be utilized in building a more economically viable implementation of the core goals of the Belt & Road. We will specifically address how Israel’s expertise can produce a less risky investment environment while laying the foundation for strong long term ties between the Chinese and Israeli security establishments.
As with other sectors, Israel’s acclaimed innovation culture influences heavily into the critical approach to handling security realities, resulting in a pragmatic and creative strategy in managing a complicated security environment. In order to best harness the tested solutions proven through experience that are offered by Israeli security experts, China may wish to seriously evaluate the research of these leading professionals. This would facilitate the formulation of a more comprehensive view of the security realities facing the implementation of various projects and the investment goals of the Belt & Road initiative. The question become; who will provide the practical knowhow in addressing security issues and how can this expertise be applied in the field?
Case Study: Europe
During the current ongoing ‘European Immigration Crisis’ where over 1.2 million people have applied for asylum status in Europe during the 2015 calendar year, Israeli experts and their cutting edge technology have been used to both control and maintain border areas, while providing important insight into preventing the escalation of humanitarian issues associated with a population influx of this magnitude.
As a public recognition of Israeli technological advances in security and risk assessment, Hungary and Bulgaria have sought Israeli expertise in; monitoring the influx of immigrants, building surveillance systems, security check points, border walls and defenses, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the situation on the ground. Israeli security assessments are data driven and developed in line with policy analysis providing a high standard of integration to create an effective security strategy.
As many of the most practical thinkers in the European security establishment have already realized, Israel’s conflict tested counter terrorism policies have produced qualitative and quantitative results, leading to decreases in civilian casualties, while expanding the basic understanding of the conflict or objectives at hand. As a direct result of Israel’s international status as the center of security innovation, Israeli security officials are often the first contact for certain related security events.
In the wake of large scale attacks in Paris (2015) and Brussels (2016) Israel has worked in close contact with officials at all levels of the security and intelligence community to minimize terrorist action while preventing any avoidable loss of life to civilian populations. Israel’s practical and tactical experience has proven to be some of the most important in maintaining security, promoting stability while preventing significant loss of life in the fallout of terrorism incidents.
How does this Impact the Belt & Road?
To implement the infrastructure and broad policy aims in the Belt & Road initiative, it is best if realistic security assessments are undertaken and critically assessed to ensure a prompt and situation driven response to the various complicated security challenges that projects may face. If the security assessment is done with a core philosophy addressing regional historical tensions, risk assessment can be done, promoting a solid investment environment. Without synthesizing these forces dictating the security reality, the various mega projects involved in the Belt & Road could face significant challenges.
This is where Israeli security expertise intersects with broader Chinese aims of win win success for the Belt & Road initiative. By implementing Israel’s tested security and intelligence experience, China has the ability to mitigate many of the security challenges that can be expected to be faced in any of the infrastructure and other projects planned across Asia in the Belt & Road strategy. As European and American experts have learned through careful consultation, the Chinese security establishment can gain through collaborations with Israel’s top minds. In essence, the Belt & Road requires broad strategic thinking to address the varying potential security risks associated with significant investments in strategic infrastructure elements (Trains, ports, highways etc.) across Asia and beyond.
Planners of the Belt & Road may take note that Israel has practical experience advising global leaders and national security institutions across the world on the complex reality of ensuing security. This perhaps makes Israel a candidate to provide value input on ways to safeguard projects across the broad spectrum of national and multi-national collaborations of the Belt & Road initiative.
How can this impact Sino-Israel Relations?
Critical connections across projects result in closer ties and tangible trust building between individuals and nations. Israeli security knowledge and policies have proven successful in securing civilian populations. This, in turn, helps promotes a more stable climate for investment. As such it seems logical that planners of the Belt & Road projects may choose to utilize these resources to build a security strategy that impliments Israel’s practical experience and innovative approaches to solve security challenges. This will lead to closer ties between the Middle Kingdom and the Jewish state while promoting the broader goals set forth in the Belt & Road initiative.