BOOKS - Asia becomes the throbbing centre of the world, again

"The new Silk Roads" by Frankopan tells the epochal change taking place in the BRI territories and recalls how the East was the crossroads of the first great civilizations

In his last work, "The new Silk Roads", the historian Peter Frankopan gives us his account of a transition, a shift that is already underway. The time we are living in, according to Frankopan, will be remembered as the tipping point when the global order swung back east, towards Asia.

Frankopan's work was initially conceived as a meaty sequel to his previous book, "The Silk Roads: a new history of the world", in which the author had (successfully) attempted  to trace an accurate historical picture of that section of the globe which Frankopan calls "the centre of the world", meaning the region stretching from Iran to China, predicting that in just a few years, particularly thanks to Beijing's efforts, it would progressively regain its central role.

The new work takes this as its starting point, kicking off with the new Silk Roads included in the Belt and Road Initiative, the huge network of infrastructural projects that will connect Asia, Africa and Europe. With the accuracy of a chronicler, Frankopan describes the changes that are taking place in the areas most affected by the BRI, outlining in great detail the imminent advent of the Asian century.

There is no doubt that Frankopan deserves to be praised for having realised, ahead of time, that the world's balance of powers will increasingly revolve around China and those remote Asian regions that at one time, when the ancient Silk Road was in full swing, was the true throbbing centre of the world.

This article is also published in the May/June issue of eastwest.

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