Monday, May 25, 2015

Asia Watch

Yuriko Koike

Is China Asia's new hegemon, or is a balance of power emerging among China, India, Japan, and the United States? Is Japan breaking away from American tutelage? Will the rise of the consumer transform Asia’s export-led economies? Can Asia’s giants cope with climate change without choking off growth? Is a cooperative regional infrastructure such as exists in Europe possible?

Forty years ago, the Swedish Nobel laureate economist Gunnar Myrdal entitled his inquiry into Asia’s malaise The Asian Drama. Today’s Asian drama concerns the region’s spectacular race to the top, with a billion people being pulled out of poverty and new global powers emerging.

Indeed, for perhaps the first time in history, Asia is not dominated by a single country or by outside powers. Its giants – China, India, and Japan – are large and economically muscular, with interests and ambitions that span the region and the world. On the fringe stand Russia and the United States, with Indonesia emerging as another economic power.

As global political and economic power shifts from West to East, these countries’ rivalries and shifting alliances will determine the future of the world economy, and of international stability. And that means that understanding Asia’s dynamic societies – and its rival powers’ relations with each other and the world – has never been more important.

In her monthly series Asia Watch, written exclusively for Project Syndicate Yuriko Koike – the first woman to serve as Japan’s Minister of Defense, a former Minister of the Environment, and her country’s first-ever National Security Adviser – meets this need head on. Who better than one of Asia’s leading statesmen, an Arabic-speaking Middle East specialist, and geo-strategist, to explore the often bitter histories dividing Asia’s giants and their neighbors, the likely trajectories of the region’s rising powers, and the impact of their interactions on the rest of the world?

Yuriko Koike famously shook up Japan’s politics, challenging her country’s vested interests and elite bureaucrats. True to form, she pulls no punches in Asia Watch.

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