Italy has expressed support for China's one belt and road initiative in hopes to bolster their own fledgling economy. Though Italian explorer Marco Polo may have been part of the original silk road, many of Italy's western neighbors and the United States are deeply concerned for Italy's newfound interest in the "new silk road". Just a few months ago the European Commission and the EU’s diplomatic service put hefty restrictions on Chinese investments fearing the danger such investment could pose if left unchecked.
It should come as no surprise that internally Italy is not completely behind the decision. Other parties and politicians within Italy have pushed back claiming that unless there are equal terms the Chinese market could pose a threat to Italy, not support.
The complete reaction of other western powers is to be seen, but what is clear is that there are political and economic forces at play. China's economic expansionism could lead to increased trade and investment throughout Eurasia. On the other end, it could lead to coercive power plays by the increasingly powerful Chinese government. The United States may have great reason to be concerned if Italy sets a new precedence for cooperation with China. The United States has already left the TPP so a shift in the European spheres of economic influence could mark a shift in power abroad.