China's big foray into global finance is causing nervousness on Wall Street while helping to exemplify how dysfunctional Washington has become.
The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank is positioning itself as an Asia-centric alternative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, even though the head of the World Bank on Tuesday tried to cast the AIIB as a partner, not a rival.
However, some prominent U.S. voices recently have been expressing alarm both at the AIIB's growth, and its ability to attract U.S. allies even though the Obama administration has been seeking to discourage membership. The U.S. holds the largest voting bloc in the IMF/World Bank structure, but has not signed on to the China effort.
With the addition of Iran and the United Arab Emirates, the roster of prospective AIIB members has grown to 35, according to the Xinhua News Agency. In addition to multiple Asian countries—Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam to name three—the amount of European countries is on the rise. Germany, France and Italy are on board for when the bank is officially chartered later in the year, and outside the region Australia just joined as a high-profile partner, despite the White House's wishes.
If the situation is starting to create an outside-looking-in scenario for the U.S., then the country has no one but its policymakers to blame, according to a widely circulated blog post Monday from former White House economic advisor Larry Summers.