Why the idea of an “Asian century” is steeped in exaggeration

Someone has taken a chill pill and examined whether the idea of an “Asian century” has any bearings to reality.

The way those arguments go, not so much.  It turns out that advantages accumulated over centuries will not disappear over night, or even decades, for that matter.

As much as the Asian economies have shocked and awed the rest of the world in their speed of growth, a rapidly aging population, wealth disparity, income inequality, political turmoil, and the lack of any kind of “Asian consensus” will make the emergence of a united Asian block highly unlikely.

Whether measured by military prowess, education ranking, level of innovation, or simply, coolness appeal, it is doubtful that Asia will ever overtake the West.  Moreover, it is arguable that the world will default to trusting the devil it knows, than the devil it doesn’t.

With Asian nations still squabbling amongst themselves, many look to the United States as a neutral power broker, a role America plays around the world. German writer and scholar Joseph Joffe calls the United States today the “default power”: No one in the world trusts anyone else to play the global hegemon, so it still falls to Washington.

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