With political and economic power in international politics shifting towards Asia, especially with the United States and Europe in the midst of economic crises, an Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor and alumnus argue that the power and ideas of Asian countries may be altering the nature of world affairs.
David P. Fidler, the James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law and the director of the IU Center on American and Global Security (CAGS); Sung Won Kim, SJD'08, an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea; and Sumit Ganguly, Rabindranath Tagore Professor of Indian Cultures and Civilizations at IU, recently co-authored "Eastphalia Rising? Asian Influence and the Fate of Human Security" in the Summer 2009 issue of the World Policy Journal.
The authors argue that the shift in power and influence towards Asia gives Asian countries, especially China and India, an opportunity to shape world affairs in ways the historic global dominance of the West previously prevented. How Asian countries exercise their growing material power and what ideas they support or oppose in international diplomacy will significantly affect the fate of international order, democracy, human rights, and the protection of human security.
China's and India's strong support for sovereignty and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other states challenges directly Western preferences for universal adoption of Western models of democracy, free markets, and human rights. The more conservative Asian approach to international politics could compete better than Western strategies in many regions around the world, especially Africa, where both China and India are increasingly active.
The article asserts that the ability of China, India, and other Asian nations to affect international relations positively will face problems stemming from the return of multipolarity, the spread of transnational problems, and the worsening of domestic problems within their own borders.
"In coming decades," the authors argue, "prospects for cooperation to improve human security will face an adverse pincer movement from the convergence of multipolarity and the accelerating pace of transnational problems." In addition, "China and India continue to have severe domestic problems that require urgent attention. Both countries are being pulled simultaneously towards greater global engagement and towards a more concentrated domestic focus."
These and other problems might mean that the rise of Asia "could end up producing destabilizing competition among the great powers, fragmenting ideas about how to address critical common problems, and severely weakening institutions and regimes needed for effective collective action."
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