The past half-century has seen the astounding rise of Asia, from an underdeveloped region of war torn nations to some of the world’s most advanced economies, powerful militaries, and political heavyweights. Today, more than half the world’s population lives inside a circle that circumscribes the “Indo-Pacific,” while 40 percent of global output is produced in this region. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty as postmodern gleaming cities rise out of rice fields. The entire concept of “globalization” is inconceivable without Asia, the more so as Europe struggles, Africa remains consumed by problems, and Latin America is sidelined. We are assured by pundits across the globe that power is irresistibly shifting from West to East.
Despite these amazing successes, the twenty-first century may not be the “Asian Century” after all. As China’s stock market crashes and its economy falters, as navies confront each other in the South China Sea, and in the shadow of North Korea’s nuclear program, the world is waking up to the risks that threaten Asia’s future. Far from unending advances, Asia and the globe face a future of growing instability, lowered economic growth, and domestic challenges. Long used to celebrating a strong Asia, the world is almost certain to begin worrying about a weak Asia.
Former Yale professor, award-winning author, and Wall Street Journal and Forbes contributor Michael Auslin will discuss his new book, The End of the Asian Century (Yale). One of the country’s leading strategic thinkers, and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Auslin started warning about the threats to Asia’s future long before the zeitgeist began to shift.
In this talk, Auslin will give you a unique tour of Asia’s “risk map.” His discussion will provide a comprehensive and compelling account of the economic, military, political, and social dangers that bedevil Asia. Among the many questions the world needs to being asking are, how do demographic changes influence economic policy and political systems? Could nationalism plunge Asia into war, or will it be fears of strategic encirclement? Has Asia’s democratic moment passed? Based on his quarter-century of experience in Asia, Auslin will also offer a set of suggestions for how to manage and mitigate risk, including why the United States is the only outside power that can help avert catastrophe and make this a truly global century.
Fifteen years after 9/11, Americans face a future of continued armed conflict, economic weakness, and a renewed struggle between democratic and authoritarian powers. For a country that assumed it could put foreign policy on the backburner and concentrate on domestic issues, the next decade looks even more challenging than the one just ended.
Yet if the United States wishes to remain a superpower, it can neither turn its back on the world, nor recklessly waste its resources in fruitless policies that fail to solve the major problems facing the international community. Neither can we afford to muddle through, hesitantly addressing problems until they are no longer in the headlines, while letting them fester.
What will American foreign policy look like after Barack Obama leaves office? How will the next president deal with the unfinished war on terror and the rise of revisionist powers like China and Russia? What happens in Iran gets the bomb?
The time is ripe for a new foreign policy, one of “prudent realism.” Washington’s goal, above all, must be one of preserving global order. Unlike popular current interpretations of realism, a prudent American policy is not one of retreat or retrenchment. Rather, it must be to isolate the key threats to the liberal international order, and determine how to prevent them from further destabilizing the globe. A foreign policy of prudent realism must accept the need sometimes to intervene abroad, and sometimes the need not to. As controversial as it will seem, Washington needs to reboot U.S. foreign policy, showing strength and working with allies in Asia, helping blunt Russian adventurism in Europe and the Middle East, and far more forcefully destroying ISIS. The alternative is to accept growing risk over the coming decade.
International relations scholar, award-winning author, and Wall Street Journal and Forbes contributor Michael Auslin explains what to expect starting in January 2017, and how the next president will face a world more at risk than any time since 1945. Auslin’s unique vantage point as a former professor of history at Yale and as a leading strategic thinker at the American Enterprise Institute allows him to talk about the big issues while connecting them to up-to-the-minute events. A regular speaker on the lecture circuit, he will discuss the main global trends the next president will encounter, the key actors with whom the president will engage, and explore the best path forward for U.S. foreign policy.
The true extent of China’s troubles is just becoming apparent. The world’s perception of China is about to undergo a massive shift: from strong China to weak China. As it does so, global economics, politics, and security will be affected, as much as by what happens inside China as what happens in response to the new conventional wisdom.
Much like Japan did in the 1980s, China dominated the global consciousness in the 2000s. Pundits confidently asserted that China would soon be the world’s largest, most powerful nation – just as they did about Japan, thirty years previously. China’s undeniable growth from its low level of development during Mao’s years made it seem as if the next economic miracle had been found. Western economic behavior shifted to incorporate China into the global trading system, governments around the world overlooked China’s repressive government, and Western capital flooded into the country. At the same time, Beijing began building a military without peer in Asia, and started to assert its national interests, such as territorial claims in the region’s seas.
Yet hidden by the bright lights of Shanghai and Beijing, a different China was struggling to hold on to its achievements and ensure enduring growth. On one hand, China by 2015 was simply replicating the historical experience of other modernizing nations, as its growth slowed down and the costs of dealing with breakneck development became apparent. Beyond that, however, corruption, environmental disaster, massive waste, and malinvestment, combined to become a rot eating away at the core of China’s modernization. In the foreign arena, China’s coerciveness against its neighbors and its growing threat to principles like freedom of navigation raised doubts about how cooperative a powerful, but xenophobic China would be.
Asia expert, Wall Street Journal and Forbes contributor, and author of the forthcoming The End of the Asian Century, Michael Auslin will explore whether we have hit “peak China” and what it means for the global future. Is China already stagnating economically? Is slow growth the new normal? If so, how will the rest of the world adjust? Already, economies around the globe are reeling from the slowdown in China’s economy, while the idea of China’s “peaceful rise” has been eclipsed by its actions in the East and South China Seas. Will other Asian nations feel emboldened to gang up on Beijing in a bid to alter its behavior? How much more will Beijing repress civil society inside China, so as to crush any dissent and criticism of the government’s failings? These questions, and more, drawn in part from The End of the Asian Century, will shape global politics over the next decade.