A new world order in East Asia?
The outcome of the war in Iraq served as a stark reminder that the US perceives its unrivaled military superiority as largely freeing it from the imperative to take account of the views of its allies. At the same time, the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region is shifting, as Chinas economic rise continues and Japan's mounting fiscal woes erode its influence overseas. Kusuma Snitwongse, chairperson of the advisory board of Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Security and International Studies, Thailand, paints a vivid picture of a region whose future is clouded by uncertainty. Can the growing threat from a nuclear North Korea be contained? Will economic integration alleviate tension between China and Taiwan? Is ASEAN capable of playing an effective role on the world stage? The order that emerges will be shaped by numerous forces and, the writer hopes, will be one that is based on the precepts of multilateralism and on the traditional Asian virtue of abiding by the consensus.