Ashley J. Tellis, testifying before the French White Paper Commission on Defense and National Security, said that there is widespread acceptance of Asia’s rise as an international player. In fact, said Tellis, Asia’s rise is really a resurgence, a return to the economic and political dominance that it enjoyed before the 16th century.
Asia’s resurgence is revolutionary; Asia will contribute 43% of world GDP by 2020, is the second global hub of innovation, and has amassed a tremendous amount of military power. But the resurgence is also incomplete. Large swaths remain outside of Asia’s economic “miracle,” political systems remain at various stages of development, and Asian nations face many religious and ideological challenges.
The combination of the strength and weakness of Asian states implies both challenges to and opportunities for cooperation with Europe and the United States, noted Tellis. The U.S. will remain engaged in Asia, as Asian issues continue to be inextricably tied to global issues and the U.S. maneuvers to maintain its primacy. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether Asia’s multipolarity leaves it “ripe for rivalry” or “primed for peace.”
Tellis said that the four central challenges posed by Asia’s to U.S. and European interests are:
• Will the region produce new rising powers that could disturb the existing power configuration in global politics?
• Will the region’s weaknesses produce threats to our common security and well-being?
• Will the region’s behaviors produce collective action problems that undermine our common security and well-being?
• Will the region produce new partners that can collaborate in the attainment of common goals?
You can watch the video of Tellis' testimony, in French, here.