By: Swadesh Roy
‘Next Asia’ is not just a slogan; this reality has also become clear in the world economy. Now there are questions about when Asia will rule the world of economy? But everyone has come to a close decision pretty much that it may happen after the next fifty years (maybe it’ll take more). Many people think confidently that in the next fifty years, China will have the number one economy in the world, not the United States. But what most analysts think is also the reality that the world was moving towards (as Corona’s previous economy, because what the next world will be like is not clear at the moment) into a changed world which will have no economic or military superpowers divided into unipolar orbipolar superpowers. There will be a world of multipolar economic and military power. Then, many Asian economies jointly will be the world’s largest economy. In that case, the economy of China, India, Japan and many countries in Southeast Asia together will be much bigger than the West. And the characters of the Asian economy will change a lot. For example, the first change will be a strengthened Asia’s own market. The Asian economy is getting better every day, but Asia is still a production house. Many products are being produced in Asia. The production orders of many small products from the West have come to Asia, and Asia produces it but the biggest market for this product is still in the Western world. Asian economy has yet to become the largest for its own products. But it has changed a lot in the last decade. And because of this change, the economy of most Asian countries is getting better. Asia also owns many of the goods manufacturing facilities in the West.
The Western world must try to obstruct this economic change in Asia. It is the religion of any politics and economy that the emerging economy must be blocked to retain the old economy and political dominance. Again, many emerging economies often create their self-destruction by doing mistakes. In particular, it happens involving itself in warfare. For example, before World War II, Germany had become a big European economy under Hitler. Europe’s economic and political history would have been different if Hitler had not engaged at war with his neighbor. Even without World War II, European countries would not have been able to maintain their colonies for long – but their economic structure would not have collapsed as much as World War II did. So, the declining state of Europe today, and the shift of the center of the world’s politics and economy from Europe to America and the Soviet Union since World War II, will also come in very large numbers if we look for reasons. And a more thorough search will reveal Hitler’s involvement in the war with his neighbor. Because war is a matter that can be started according to one’s wish but no one can say where it will end. For example, when Hitler started the war, he did not even know that one day he would invade the Soviet Union. On the other hand, almost half of the war was over, but no one had a clear idea that Japan would invade America and that the war would be an Anglo-American-Soviet alliance.
Asia must be the regulator of the ‘next Asia’ or the economy of the next world, keeping in mind about many more past histories of the world, including the history of World War II and this decay of Europe. It should be noted that until the seventeenth century, the economy of Asia including the economies of India and China, were much larger than the economies of Europe and America. But at that time, India could not defend its sovereignty and China could not adopt technology. For these two reasons, Asia lags behind Europe. Within Asia, only Japan keeps pace with Europe.
Nearly four centuries later, it is time for Asia to take the lead in the world economy. Europe and America will do everything to ruin this opportunity in Asia. But the Asian countries have to move forward in a very calm manner. And the biggest issue with this calm mind is the accountability of the government to the people. The more liberal government of a country to the people is, the responsible head of that government becomes. And this is where the deficit is in Asian countries. In very few countries in Asia, the government is accountable to the people. First of all, the largest economy in Asia is the Chinese Communist-authoritarian government. Moreover, in all other countries where there is democracy, there is a single leader-centered government. So even though they are elected government, they are very much authoritarian. Apparently the authoritarian government seems to be conducive to economic development; maybe even to some degree of benefit. But overall development and sustainable development requires a lot of liberal mentality. Because of its relatively liberal democracy, the United States has so far maintained a steady economic growth. And the decline they are experiencing is due to the authoritarian behavior as a result of their involvement in wars around the world. Many countries think, apparently, economy will expand involving in war and spreading dominance in extra space. But a review of history, even if taken from the Roman Empire to this day, shows that this excessive domination has been the root cause of the destruction of own economic and political dominance.
China is making the biggest mistake in Asia at a time when Asia is slowly moving towards becoming the next world economic leader. Their first mistake is getting involved in disputes with Southeast Asian and East Asian countries over the South China Sea. Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei also have claims on the South China Sea. But China does not want to accept the demands of any of them. It does not want to go into any discussion with them. Instead, a group of Chinese policymakers want to solve this problem in the face cannons. Although that is not the overall policy of China. Because, I have talked to very high level think tanks in China and they want to solve this problem through discussion. They even want to discuss the Silk Route that China wants to launch in the South China Sea. On the other hand, it has been said many times from the official level of China that all these problems will be solved in the face of cannons. At the heart of this supremacy is the 5 trillion dollars in trade each year and 26 billion barrels of oil and 26 trillion cubic feet of gas reserve in the South China Sea. China wants to own these assets alone. And China’s demand alone is forcing many changes in Asian politics. Vietnam and the Philippines have formed an alliance with the United States to counter China’s monopoly. On the other hand, a single domination in South China Sea is a threat to Japan as well, so USA has given Japan a lot of opportunities to regain military dominance. Also, if China adopts this aggressive policy in the South China Sea, it will not keep the Indian Ocean safe.
Therefore, the proposal to form ‘Quads’ of India-Australia, America-Japan came naturally. If Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan are dominated by the US and if this ‘Quad’ is formed, it will naturally hurt the Asians to reach in that Asia or that aspiring ‘Next Asia’. And for a long time this tension has been continuing for America and Australia including China and Asian countries. Even then, the Asian economy is moving forward with some obstacles, as the tug-of-war has not turned into a major conflict. However, economically, neither Asian independence nor Asian leadership has come to the fore in terms of political dominance. On the contrary, the West has a lot of dominance. One thing to keep in mind here is that even if Europe lags behind economically, Asia must move forward only if it integrates many of Europe’s social and political cultures with Asian culture, and even if many European philosophies integrate with Asian behavior. So a linguistic and psychological influence of Europe will remain in Asia. Which only needs to be defeated by the economy. So if any Asian country gets aggressive, the Asian economy will come to a halt.
For example, if China does not deal with India based on the current situation in the Golan Heights on the Indian border and resolve the issue through negotiations soon and does not back down from all forms of aggression, then the dream of ‘Next Asia’ will come to a halt. Because, whenever China takes an aggressive role, India will need to protect not only its land borders but also the Indian Ocean. Then the geopolitics of Asia will be changed completely. And that will change in the biggest way in South China Sea and Indo-Pacific. One could say that China will invade through Ladakh, Arunachal or through the Nepal border but instead the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific will change. Why? One thing to keep in mind here is that India is a country of one hundred and thirty crores people and the land of those who have about twelve and a half million active and about one million reserve land forces cannot be easily occupied. Stalingrad, Leningrad will be created to occupy the land there. So these wars remains as border wars and border tensions. But the results are far-reaching. In other words, as soon as China takes this path, the ‘Quad’ will quickly become a reality and the United States will increase its power in the Indo-Pacific. And then their power will increase through Vietnam, Philippines and Taiwan for sharing the resources of the South China Sea. Japan will increase its military power even more. And then naturally all the countries in Asia have to increase their military power. Every country will move away from building a sustainable and less discriminatory economy. This will naturally obstruct the path of ‘Next Asia’. If the Western world can pass at least two decades in this way, then the wheel of history can turn. Then it may be seen that Asia has been out of the rail. And if Asia is fallen from the rail, then many Asian countries and their leaders will be responsible. But those who search history very closely will blame Xi Jinping’s China for the destruction just as Europe did Hitler’s Germany for their destruction.
Therefore, thinking about the future of Asia and its inevitable economy, Asian countries must stop the border conflict between India and China. All forums including ASEAN should take initiative. (The writer is a Senior Journalist, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a highest state award winning journalist and can be reached at [email protected])