(This post has been temporarily removed, pending consideration. I am happy to email you a preprint if you contact me directly D.Quah@nus.edu.sg )
Asia and the New World Order
Thoughtful as always, Dr. Quah. But was the idea of a Washington Consensus created after it had already happened or was it carefully nurtured and structured decades before it came to be? Perhaps terms like Washington Consensus come to reflect realities that happen through more complex historical processes than we are able to forecast beforehand. American soft power was already a fact even prior to the civil rights movement and during wholesale slaughter in Vietnam. The benign view of American soft power depended on suppression of one set of facts simultaneously with the projection of another. Finally, Asia is far less cohesive an entity than America ever was…
Certainly, what emerged included shadings of exactly what you describe on American soft power, Washington Consensus, and the many different streams that merged into the eventual Western narrative. As for cohesion, yes, on a scale of 1 to 10, most of us would likely rank Europe and Asia differently – however, there is no logical need for a fixed threshold on that scale to determine whether leadership and collaboration can be effective. Also, my hunch is that, going forwards, leadership won’t be about sending in aircraft carriers and boots on the ground to fix an outcome. Instead it will be just about calling a meeting and setting down signposts in a complex uncertain global environment. And there’s no reason Asia or some subset of it couldn’t do that.
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