If you want to understand the negative reaction of the United States to China’s proposal for an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), you also need to understand how the US thinks about the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Of course, first and foremost, these institutions engage in ‘development,’ providing financing and knowledge to promote economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. But for leading shareholders like the United States, they are also important instruments of strategic influence. In fact, no country has benefitted more from the multilateral development banks (MDBs) in this regard than the United States, the largest shareholder in the World Bank and, with Japan, the largest shareholder of the ADB.

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