M-RCBG Faculty Working Paper No. 2012-17

China, the USA and Asia's Future

Tony Saich

November 2012


Abstract

Two major trends will define the future of Asia in this century: one economic, the other geopolitical. While economic integration has proceeded apace, there has not been the same kind of political integration that has marked Europe since the Second World War. At the core of both trends is the relationship between the US and China. China’s economic rise and its more assertive diplomacy has created a new environment for neighboring countries to react to. This has necessitated other powers in Asia to work within a regional order that is no longer based on US primacy as the key guarantor of global and regional public goods. Despite relative decline, the Obama administration first with its unwieldy phrase of a pivot to Asia and the later notion of rebalancing has indicated clearly that it intends to retain a key role in Asia.

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