Free «Contemporary Politics of the Asia Pacific Region» Essay Sample

"The decline of US hegemony in the Asia Pacific will see the emergence of a more confident Asia-Pacific able to determine its own future by its own standards." The United States of America became a super power immediately after the World War II. The US has been able to maintain its global control due to its large economy and uncontested military. It is after the fall of the Soviet Union that the control of the USA was much felt in the Asia pacific region (Layne , 2007).

The impact of the USA hegemony has been experienced in all parts of the world since the WWII and most of the international economic and political decisions are made in favor of it. For instance, the USA is in control of the world organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and other peace maintaining activities such as war against terrorism.( Philipp & Grondin, 2006, P. 48). According to political analysts from the Asia pacific region, USA has so much hegemony over the rest of the world to an extent that it could launch defensive attacks to other countries without consulting the rest of the international community (Philipp & Grondin, 2006, P . 78-79). On the other hand, any other country that could even attempt to launch attacks to another country is accused of violating sovereignty of that country. According to analysts the Asian countries have been at longer heads with the USA due to their resistance its policies and values. However the countries of the Asia pacific region have been seen to maintain good relationship with the US since they appeared not to conflict most of its hegemony policies.

According to Philipp & Grondin (2006), the hegemony of the USA has started to decline due to the recent economic crisis facing it. This has been confirmed by its current president Obama whose foreign policies advocates creation of a world of equal partners. Obama has even made efforts to make up differences with some of the US political enemies such as Cuba and other Asia Pacific region countries. Analysts argue that USA has sensed decline in its global supremacy and is now trying to establish good relationship with countries that it previously exerted excessive control on.  Historically, one can agree that the Hegemony of the USA is declining just like other powers of the world that have risen and fallen with time ( Philipp & Grondin, 2006, P. 28). It is worth noting that it is strenuous for a country to remain a global hegemony for long time due to the political and economic commitment involved. To be the overseer of the world order requires a lot of resources and it is obvious that USA is gradually running out of these resources due to its ever increasing internal expenses and the rise in demands of the international society ( Philipp & Grondin, 2006).

Political analysts argue that when one super power is going down, there is another one somewhere coming up ( Sato 2009, p. 56). In this context, it is evident that the decline of the US hegemony will see other countries rise into more influential positions. For a long time most of the countries have been living strenuous lives that are not determined by their own standards but those of the US. There are arguments that most of the international decisions are not made to meet the demands of the world but to satisfy the interest of the USA.  However, with the current decline of the US control over the world these countries are seen to rise and make decisions that are within their standards (Overholt 2001, P. 55). The Asia Pacific region countries are among the countries that are currently doing well and political analysts point out that the next superpower could be a country from this region. The most influential countries in this region include China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong among others ( Sato 2009).

The rise of china as threat to the USA hegemony 

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China is among the leading countries in the Asia Pacific in terms of economic growth and military superiority among other region countries such as the Japan and South Korea. (Agarwala, 2009, P.43).The success of China is also felt in frequent speeches of Chinese leaders and writings in documents such as CCP National Congress Reports and Government Works Reports (Overholt 2001, P. 66). People and governments from other countries have also noted that the China’s rapid economic development is a threat to the current world order. One of the most worried lots is the United State of America that is in fear of losing its hegemony over the Asia pacific region. According to a report submitted by Chicago Council on Global affairs in 2006, over 60% of the US citizens felt that GDP of US will be lower than that of China in the next 20 years contrary to the view by the Chinese people (Agarwala, 2009).

The rise of China comes with two implications; which are revival of the China nation and the second one is its contribution to globalization and global supremacy.  Political analysts argue that US is the one that has made most of the Asia pacific region countries to thrive both politically and economically ( Brown,  2000, P. 47).Unlike the middle Asia countries that have been into conflicts with USA due to their failure to give in to its hegemony, Asia pacific countries opted to embrace policies made by US thereby enjoying its protections. Asia pacific region countries such as Japan and China have used this protection to develop themselves to an extent that they can now challenge their leader (Overholt 2001, P. 28). From this point of view, one could say that Chinese political and economical development is an indirect success of the US policies to bring China to the world market by becoming his largest trade partner. According to a journalist Nathan Gardels, “Globalization in the modern world belongs to everyone who can figure out how to take advantage of its opportunities and minimize its dislocations”. He further adds that, “American- bred-technology may be its midwife, but Americans are no longer solely the parents” (Overholt 2001, P. 38). This is exactly the approach taken by China and other Asia pacific region countries. It is out of the cooperation and protection from the US wrath that the Asia Pacific region countries are currently among the leading economies in the world. For instance, China and Japan are the second and third largest economies in the world second to the USA (Agarwala, 2009, P.77).

The economy of China and other Asia Pacific region countries has continued to grow at an alarming rate to the rest of the world especially during the recent period of global crisis and this is a sign that the region is standardizing itself at the expense of the declining US hegemony. Leaders from the region especially those from China have taken decision that aim to keep growth rate higher and higher ( Brown,  2000, P. 77).Some of the countries from the region such as china have been very assertive in foreign policy terms within their region and this show how they no longer feel the weight of the US control. China is on one of the countries from the region that have send signals to the US that they too have say in the international community. This has caused tension to the USA and political activists point out that the Obama government is doing everything possible to ensure support of China in order to maintain its global supremacy (Agarwala, 2009, P.112).

Economists have carried several studies on the economic growth of China in order to determine the future of the Asia Pacific region. They point out that the expectation that the Chinese GDP will exceed that of US in the few years to come is not a thing to worry about since this is a historical happening to all super powers ( Kevin, 2009). A good signal of the Chinese economic rapid growth is shown by the striking statistics provided by economists from the region. For instance, in the year 2003, the China’s net foreign assets overcame those of the USA. China also surpassed the US in terms of Export in the year 2007. In the years 2009, 2010 and 2010, China was leading in fixed investment, energy consumption and manufacturing output respectively (Agarwala, 2009, P. 90). Analysts also point out that by 2014 China retail sales and imports will be greater than those of the US. The Chinese stock market capitalization is also anticipated to be bigger than that of the US in the year 2020.  As if this is not enough on how China is going to grow in the next few decades to come there are expectations that the Chinese defense expenses are going to overcome those of the US in absolute terms by the year 2025 ( Brown,  2000, P. 109).  This is a clear indication of how China is influential stakeholder in the Asia Pacific region and on determining the next superpower.    

Although China is currently a powerful state, research shows that it lacks what it takes to qualify to be a superpower (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies 1997, P 12).  Regardless of the fact that it is the second largest economy in the world, does not qualify it as the world superpower. China and the rest of the Asia Pacific region countries are considerable away behind the US in terms of economic and military spending ( Kevin, 2009, P. 44). For instance, the GDP of China (the most influential country in the Asia Pacific region) is roughly $4500 pa. This constitute only one tenth of the US GDP.  In terms of military expenditure, in the year 2009, US expenditure constituted 43% of the world military expenses and China Military constituted only 7% of the world Military expenses ( Kevin, 2009, P. 45). This clearly shows that China in its current state does not qualify as super power and neither any of the countries in the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, China and other Asia Pacific region countries do not have foreign bases from which they can operate aircraft (Agarwala, 2009, P.56).  They totally rely on their commercial air fields and this is not a characteristic of a super power. There are arguments that the Chinese military has grown more powerful under the leadership that is less authoritative when compared with its previous military command. This is not good since it is not easy to centralize messages from the military force as it is with the USA ( Kevin,2009, P. 67).

American hegemony in the Asia Pacific

The United States of America has been able to maintain control or dominance over the Asia pacific like it is in the rests of the world due to its military, economic and political superiority since the WWII (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies 1997). In terms of nominal GDP according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate of 2010, USA had a GDP of $ 14657800 million which is greater than the Asia Pacific countries $ 13,291,198 million (Jayasuriya, 2007, P. 122). It is therefore evident that USA alone is economically strong than the all the Asia Pacific region countries combined together. Research shows that economic supremacy is one of the major requirements of a super power. USA of America has used its economic abilities to maintain control over the Asia pacific countries and the rest of the world. This means that America makes more contributions in international organizations shared between it and the Asia Pacific region countries hence being more influential (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies 1997).

The USA has also used it political superiority to extend it hegemony over the Asia pacific region countries. According to Yahuda (2011), the political systems used in the USA are the strongest in the world in terms of efficiency. The USA political system has maintained all the states in the America in a one influential region. This has made USA to extend the same political influence to the rest of the world especially to the Asian countries where USA vision and policies are not welcome (Jayasuriya, 2007). Most of the political systems used in the Asia Pacific region countries are indirectly run according to the wish of the American government. According to a political analysis and author from China, any political system that does not embrace the US supremacy is doomed to fail. This is as result of the USA concern to make sure that all political systems in the region are run in respect of it foreign policies. It is therefore evident that USA has control of the politics of the Asia pacific region countries. Lastly, USA has also used its military superiority to extend it control over the Asia Pacific region. Research shows that USA far much equipped in terms of armed forces than any other country in the world since the WWII. USA has for a long time used its military to dictate and prevent Asia Pacific region countries from making or implementing policies that are a threat to it being a super power (Ikenberry, 2003).

According Connors & Dosch (2004), the American hegemony is sustainable in the Asia Pacific only for short time. The world order is taking another dimension and there is likelihood that the next superpower will come from the Asia pacific region. Political scientist point out that this could not more than the next 50 years if the political and economic trends in the Asia pacific take the pattern of the trend in the last 50 years (Yahuda, 2000, P. 113). This shows that Asia pacific region need to remain loyal to the USA so that it can continue to enjoy its protection as it concentrate on the development of the region. For the Asia pacific to be able to emerge the most influential region in future, it has to remain loyal to the USA and it Hegemonic activities so as to remain political and military destruction similar to those are happening in the middle Asia region (Jones, 2004,P. 32-33). Currently the Asia pacific region countries have allowed being under the control of the USA due to the protection that they get from it. Some of them are for the idea that without the presence of USA civil wars could arise in the region (Jayasuriya, 2007, P. 87). However the region is gradually changing its view for the US hegemony due to the US decline as superpower in the recent past. This has seen the region producing 2nd and 3rd biggest economies in the world thereby threatening the supremacy of the USA (Jayasuriya, 2007, P. 89).  It is therefore evident that "The decline of US hegemony in the Asia Pacific will see the emergence of a more confident Asia-Pacific able to determine its own future by its own standards."


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