The name Silk Road conjures images of caravans and desert steppes. Marco Polo was among the adventurers who navigated the ancient trading route connecting China with Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, spreading ideas along with exotic goods like silk, porcelain, horses and gold.
China’s modern-day adaptation of the Silk Road -- an initiative it calls “One Belt, One Road” -- aims to revive trade across Central Asia and into Europe via a network of railways, ports and highways. It’s being described as the biggest geopolitical play since the U.S. rebuilt Europe following World War II. China bristles at the comparison, and the implication it’s seeking to spread its political influence.