Can Asia Challenge Chinese Dominance and Avoid Europe’s past?

Professor Amitav Acharya
12 August 2015

The spectacular rise of China has kindled fears about an epic power struggle in Asia whereby a Chinese move towards regional hegemony is challenged by the US and its allies, causing a breakdown of Asia’s security order in a manner similar to Europe’s two “World Wars”. But challenging traditional geopolitical thinking – especially neorealism, Amitav Acharya argues that rising powers do not shape regions, but regions shape rising powers. His argument rests on the fact that Asia has seen several other fundamental changes, other than and predating China’s recent rise, including expanding economic interdependence, regional multilateral norms and institutions, and domestic political consolidation and openness in key Asian nations. There is also an emerging military equilibrium in Asia brought about not only by the US ‘rebalancing’ strategy, but also by the defense policies and interactions of others like India, Japan, Australia and ASEAN nations.

About the Speaker: Professor Amitav Acharya is the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance and Professor of International Relations at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C., and the Chair of its ASEAN Studies Initiative. He is also a Research Associate of the Centre for International Studies, Oxford University. He was previously the Chair of Global Governance at the University of Bristol, Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, and Professor of International Relations at Nanyang Technological University. He was also a Fellow of the Asia Center, Harvard University, and a Fellow of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the first non-Western scholar to be elected as the President of the International Studies Association (ISA). His books include Whose Ideas Matter? (Cornell 2009), The Making of Southeast Asia (Cornell 2013), Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2001, 2009, 2014) Rethinking Power, Institutions and Ideas in World Politics (Routledge 2013) and The End of American World Order (Polity 2014, Oxford 2015, Shanghai People’s Press 2016). His articles have appeared in the premier journals in the field of international studies, including International Organization, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Asian Studies and World Politics. He was elected to the Christensen Fellowship at St Catherine’s College, Oxford University in 2012 and held the inaugural Nelson Mandela Visiting Professorship in International Relations at Rhodes University, South Africa during 2012-13.