Which Asian Century?

Asia has the population and economic potential to dominate the 21st century. Yet Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, points out that Asia confronts two paths – continuing economic growth while avoiding conflict or increasing tensions. Haass suggests that Europe during the 20th century offers a model: During the first half, the continent engaged in two world wars with huge economic costs, yet during the second half, reduced tensions with the Soviet Union and enjoyed prosperity. Europe’s “political leaders demonstrated great vision and discipline” by forming regional communities that eventually led to the European Union – with integration that emphasizes regional diplomacy and trade. Asia is “notable for a lack of meaningful regional agreements and institutions, particularly in the political-military and security spheres,” Haass explains, and “long-standing disputes” between India and Pakistan, or China and Japan, could contribute to a small military incident cascading into a larger war. The US can assist Asia by promoting free trade, diplomacy and other forms of integration. – YaleGlobal

Which Asian Century?

Asia confronts choice on direction for 21st century – focus on economic prosperity and trade or regional tensions that increase chances for conflict
Richard N. Haass
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, previously served as director of policy planning for the US State Department (2001-2003), and was President George W. Bush’s special envoy to Northern Ireland and coordinator for the Future of Afghanistan. His most recent book is Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America’s House in Order.

(c) 1995-2013 Project Syndicate

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