There are many ways a government can assert its interests on the international stage. Some use military muscle. Others use subversion or bluster. In Asia, Africa, Latin America and even in Europe, China is using investment to get what it wants from countries and governments in need.
The most obvious examples are in Asia. Pakistan's relations with the U.S. have deteriorated sharply in recent years, for many reasons, and President Donald Trump's warmer ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have given Pakistan's government and military good reason to invest more deeply in strong relations with China. In turn, Beijing's investment in Pakistan has gathered momentum. An infrastructure development project, the $55 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of China's broader "Belt and Road Initiative," is generating growth and creating much-needed jobs in Pakistan. In return, China is developing the Port of Gwadar, which will provide China a stronger presence in the Indian Ocean.