America and the Asia-Pacific Region
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Change is a word heard so often that it has lost its impact. Most of the attention to change in Asia has been focused on dynamic economic growth. It would be almost impossible to miss a shift as dramatic as that in the global economic axis reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific basin. The worlds highest growth rates are in Asia and huge markets are opening throughout the region. One must aggregate the member nations of the European Union to equate Europe with Japan or, increasingly, with greater China which includes both Taiwan and Hong Kong. No single nation in Europe, not even a reunited Germany, comes close. To Japan and greater China must be added South Korea and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN which have a growing regional economy with more than 300 million people. If the region is expanded to include South Asia, India is added with almost a billion people and a growing middle class. Centers of international power and leadership have historically been aligned with the global economic axis. In the age of Greece and Rome that axis centered on the Mediterranean. In the age of European colonial dominance and the rise of America, it moved to the Atlantic. At some point in the late 1980s and without fanfare, the GNP of the Asia-Pacific region exceeded that of Europe. With Japan and America accounting for more than 40 percent of world GNP, the axis shifted again. But economic change is only part of the dynamic. It could be overemphasized while more significant strategic changes are ignored. Japan is grappling with a fundamental identity crisis that it avoided facing in the Cold War.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Government and Political Science