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PacNet #77A – Position Vacant: Nonproliferation and Disarmament Leader, Asia

During the past few weeks, there have seen some striking discussions in the international media about the future strategic order. One of the most interesting is an article by Ralph Cossa and David Santoro, which was originally published as a PacNet (PacNet #77, Nov. 26, 2012) and was then picked up by the Japan Times. Two short sentences half way through the piece particularly caught my eye: "The United States has limited power and influence to shape the major power agenda in the Asia-Pacific. The future of this agenda will be determined by decisions made in Beijing, New Delhi and Islamabad – not in Washington." This is true over the longer-term, and the implications for world order are significant. It brings to mind William Walker’s new book, A Perpetual Menace, which raises concerns about the weakly-defined Asia-centric system of military engagement that is likely to replace the Eurocentric one. The big questions are: how will peace and stability be achieved as US preeminence wanes, and what values will underpin the new Asia-centric system?