Thursday, December 18, 2014

The New Power Game

Jaswant Singh

Is a new Cold War emerging among Asia’s powers – China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea? Can Pakistan ever be weaned off its support of the Taliban? Is Asia’s role in managing Iran’s nuclear ambitions being neglected?

The world’s balance of power is changing, almost by the day. Western dominance has ended; Asia is demanding a greater say in resolving global issues.

But Asia itself is divided. While China’s economic miracle has ended a half-century of American regional dominance, there is much more to Asia’s rise than China. Indeed, Asia is becoming an arena of balance-of-power politics with no clear leader, as mounting wealth increasingly pits one country against another in a struggle for resources and influence – and as all Asian powers seek to strengthen their positions and maximize their long-term advantages.

Few statesmen have played as great a part in trying to shape order in Asia as Jaswant Singh, the only man ever to serve as India’s Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, and Defense Minister. As foreign minister, Jaswant Singh initiated the most daring diplomatic opening to Pakistan since India’s independence, and also revitalized long-strained relations with the United States. As finance minister, he deepened India’s commitment to economic reform and initiated the first free-trade agreement (with Sri Lanka) in South Asia’s history. As defense minister, Singh reoriented India’s military, abandoning its old Soviet-inspired doctrines and weaponry for closer ties to the West.

Each month in The New Power Game, written exclusively for Project Syndicate, Jaswant Singh charts the implications of Asia’s rivalries and internal dynamics – fueled by robust economic growth, coupled with an awareness of increasing strength – for global politics, including the world’s hot spots.

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