Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


Political Science

First Advisor

Jonathan Hassid


Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping China is taking ambitious strides towards greater economic and political influence globally, seeking to establish itself as great power by all definitions. Recently, one policy pushing towards that goal is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiative which will expand on trade routes and resource pipelines over land and sea reaching to Africa, the Middle East, and even Europe. The land leg of BRI is the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) which passes through Central Asia before reaching the desired destinations, making the region critical to China’s goals for BRI. Through an analytical review of China’s past behavior in similar developing regions I will identify a pattern which indicates how China will develop Central Asia for its Belt and Road Initiative. Additionally, I will explore the connection between trade, FDI, and political influence using a statistical test of UN voting behavior. I will also discuss how BRI presents China with the opportunity for growth of political influence in the region on top of the economic benefits, but that new costs and challenges, potentially increased by Russian efforts, will limit China’s political gains.

Copyright Owner

Darrell James Carter



File Format


File Size

87 pages