Asian security in an asian century

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Asian security in an asian century

  1. 1. ASIAN SECURITY IN A NEW ASIAN CENTURY Keshav Prasad BhattaraiAsian Century has become a buzz word these days. Industrial revolution preceded by educational power,commenced the global domination of Europe that pushed Asia aside from similar domination of about oneand half millennium. The European dominance continued for about 500 years until the end of World WarII, when United States became the most powerful country of the earth. The massive economic, politicaland military influence coupled with its deep cultural penetration worldwide has helped America govern thecourse of events in human history till now.A report- named “Global Trend 2025” prepared by U.S. National Intelligence Council in 2008 said “Interms of size, speed and directional flow, the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way– roughly from West to East- is without precedent in modern history”. In a multi polar world both China andIndia will become two poles with their economic and military power with increased global roles to play.Russia, the largest country of the world extending from Asia to Europe,” has the potential to be richer,more powerful and more self assured in 2025 if it invests in human capital, expands and diversifies itseconomy , and integrates with global markets”, the Report says .The resurgence of Asia was first marked by Japan. In 1970 it reached to the level of Germany andcontinued its journey until it became the second largest economy of the World after America. Since 2010,although it has slipped to the third largest, overtaken by China, the per capita income of China is about onetenth of Japan. Japan‟s elevation to an economic super power – within the life span of a single generationwas the first greatest success story of humanity.South Korea – a country that was as poor as Sudan and Nepal in 1960 followed Japan and came into globalprominence. Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore achieved similar feat.Then China came with “breathe taking speed” of its growth. This caused enormous rise in the livingstandard of average citizens – that brought 400 million Chinese come above the poverty line, in just aperiod of 30 years starting from 1978. It was the first such greatest achievement in the recorded historyof mankind.Another Asian country India – branded as a static, inert, corrupt, immobile land of the millions of poor andmost deprived,- started its journey to economic liberalization 13 years later than China. Surprisingly inanother 20 years it succeeded in uplifting another 200 millions into a modern middle class and itstechnological advancement has turned “a brick country” to a “click country”.According to a German academician Dr. Theo Sommer when the economic dynamism of two Asian Superpower pushed their bid for their place under the Sun, it “has created insecurity and anxiety” across Europeand America.HOT SPOTS AND DANGER ZONES IN ASIA 1
  2. 2. Asia that extends from Arctic to Australia and from Japan and Indonesia to Turkey and Saudi Arabia doeshave no core territory, no unified geography, culture, ethnicity or religion –quite different than others. Thewide extending maritime and continental realm that joins all the other continents except South Americamake Asia a peculiar a continent of continents.Compartmentalized into five major regions- Northeast, Southeast, South, Central and West Asia, thecontinent does not belong to a sense of regional unity and cohesion as experienced in other continents.Besides, it reflects the stark diversity of geography, values, language, culture, political and social systemsand type of economy.These, combined with all the major religions and their numerous sects that surprisingly were originated inAsia- has made it a natural corridor of conflicts among countries and people. Next to Africa, Asia is themost volatile region of tribalism. Moreover, Asia represents some of the world‟s most vibrant and stabledemocracies to unstable proto democracies, façade democracies to brutal medieval theocratic state anddynastic communist rule. Furthermore, it houses quite a number of world‟s largest economies, largestarmies and largest weapons importer countries that collectively have put tremendous pressure upon Asiansecurity studded with some most critical hot spots and danger zones.Take note of some cases -India Today recently has mentioned Prime Minister Manamohan Singh‟s positiveresponse to Pakistan‟s Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani‟s appeal to India to sit together and resolve alloutstanding issues including Siachen. Following it, Defense Minister A. K. Antony also told the Parliamentthat “India was engaged in meaningful dialogue with Pakistan to demilitarize the Siachen Glacier” – theWorld‟s highest battleground that costs India an estimated Rs. 5 crore a day to maintain its troops there.According to the same weekly, immediately after the idea of demilitarization of Siachen as floated by thePrime Minister and Defense Minister, Indian Army in a formal meeting with National Security AdvisoryBoard expressed their concern over the greater strategic disadvantages of demilitarization of SiacahenGlacier against Pakistan and China.Next to East Asia where UN Security Council has banned to help North Korea with its nuclear and ballisticmissiles program, but U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted before the House Armed ServiceCommittee that North Korea was receiving some help from China. It is a matter to note that China occupiesa permanent seat in UNSC with Veto power had consented UN ban. Before that western media sources hadpublished reports with photographs of an advanced Chinese missile transporter seen in military parade heldin April to mark the 100th anniversary of its founding father Kim Il-Sung of North Korea.Similarly, China - the most powerful country of Asia has long time territorial disputes with another greatAsian power - India. Likewise China has both territorial and maritime disputes with almost all country inEast and South East Asia. India too has number of territorial disputes with its other neighbors. Same isthe case between Pakistan and Afghanistan.Most terribly, dozens of Islamic terrorist organizations with networks extending from India to Yemen andSaudi Arabia have made the region awful hotspots and danger zones. Coupled with political adamancyexhibited by North Korea and Iran on Nuclear programs, almost all major countries in the region fromBurma and Philippine to Pakistan, Iran, India and China are living with separatist movements with linkages 2
  3. 3. and bases in neighboring countries. Accidentally or deliberately, this for any reason it may flare up intomajor war any day any time.NEED FOR STRONGER POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC FRAMEWORKMany Asian countries seem lacking national framework to manage the hot spots within their territories andaddress the challenges looming large over their national unity, political stability, social harmony, territorialintegrity and economic progress. Political leaders of some Asian countries take pride on the great economicsuccess they achieved in a short length of time. And they really deserve it. However, the greatest tragedyprevailing with them is that they do not have any overarching political or economic ideology that binds themtogether.Noted Indian Strategic analyst Brahma Chellaney puts it vividly -“Whereas Asia is coming togethereconomically, it is not coming together politically”. If the gulf between the politics and economics goeswidening, Asia will become politically more divided. In absence of any security architecture or a structuralframework for regional security, the continent will continue to live with weakened regional consultationmechanism and this will make Asian power dynamics remain fluid, Chellaney comments.Obviously, trade has integrated all the major economies of Asia, but more than among themselves they areintegrated with America. Huge trade surpluses Asian economies gained against America, have worked as amajor source of the exceptional growth, development and prosperity in their countries.Quite naturally, U.S. President Barrack Obama, exhausted with war in Iraq and Afghanistan and burdenedwith its soaring costs while its economy was suffering with huge deficit, sketched out a new strategicfocus on Asia and Pacific that for years will contain some of world‟s most dynamic and vibrant economies.Therefore as Obama side by side with his troop withdrawal plans from the World‟s most troubled lands, hascalculatively spelt out his „Asian Pivot‟ theory and got Hillary Clinton to define and articulate it with hersharp intellect and diplomatic mastery.With its redefined Asia- Pacific policy, America is to deepen its relations with traditional allies likeAustralia, Japan, South Korea and Philippine. Interestingly, it has also found a prosperous Communistcountry Vietnam – eager to develop close ties with America. Evidences claim America for years to come will receive no challenge from any other country than China. Butthe rising economies like Indonesia, India and Vietnam along with established economic power like Australia,Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all are making strong demand with U.S. to remain in their region and playcrucial strategic role to meet the challenge posed by China both ideologically and strategically.Therefore, it is times for China start soul searching on its neighborhood policy and play a cohesive andreassuring role towards its neighbors. Until it develops a comprehensive political and security frameworkunifying all countries in the region, Chinese economic power could hardly give much political influence itaspires.Undeniably, Chinese leaders have a fine grasp over “The Art of War” and “The Art of Warfare” but theWorld expects China revisit its thousands of years of national history where other Sun Tzu and Sun Binsmust have authored many splendid books on the art of confidence building among neighbors . 3
  4. 4. kpbnepal@gmail.com The reporter, weekly, (May 21-27, 2012)4

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