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Podcast: The End of the Asian Century?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
March 16, 2017

Soldiers shout slogans as they march past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang October 10, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj Soldiers shout slogans as they march past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

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Observers frequently characterize Asia as “emerging”, “ascendant”, or headed for an “inexorable rise”. But what if demographic, economic, and security trends are instead propelling the continent in a different direction? On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Michael Auslin, resident scholar and director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, lays out the provocative arguments at the heart of his new book The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region. He suggests that while Asian countries have previously reaped demographic dividends from their large youth populations, governments now confront new challenges. Northeast Asian states must accommodate rapidly aging societies, while South and Southeast Asian states must find ways to accommodate younger generations’ demands for education, infrastructure, and opportunity. Beyond demographic risks, the threat of a regional arms race also looms large in Asia. Many would expect the likelihood of conflict to fall in an increasingly wealthy continent connected through a veritable alphabet soup of institutions from APEC to the SCO. Instead, it appears to be rising. Why is this and what steps can be taken to help avert conflict? Listen below to hear Auslin’s take on how the region can address its impending challenges and why active U.S. involvement in Asia is critical in doing so.

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  • Posted by Meryem

    US should have kept coming to geography with investments and economic partnerships. What east far countries are experiencing now is the result of 30 year policies. Western policies should have been revised with its allied countries after Cold War.
    It is a fact that China owed its growing economy to US. ASEAN is the heart of Far East. But It is very challenging thought how much US can solve macroeconomic and ancestor policies on East Asia.

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