Tags: Roubini | China | US | war

Roubini: Global Peace Teeters on the Edge in Asia

By    |   Thursday, 01 May 2014 02:08 PM EDT

If the global order blows up, the explosion is not likely to come from the Middle East or even the percolating Cold War II that is brewing over Ukraine. The real international risk is in Asia, according to noted New York University economist Nouriel Roubini.

In a column for Project Syndicate, Roubini said the world's biggest geopolitical challenge is accepting the economic rise of China while fostering its "peaceful character."

"The disputes between China and several of its neighbors over disputed islands and maritime claims (starting with the conflict with Japan) are just the tip of the iceberg," he wrote.

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"Historically, whenever a new great power has emerged and faced an existing power, military conflict has ensued. The inability to accommodate Germany's rise led to two world wars in the twentieth century; Japan's confrontation with another Pacific power — the U.S. — brought World War II to Asia."

Roubini, a former official at both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, noted that it is "particularly disturbing" to hear Japanese and Chinese officials compare their nations' relationship to that of Britain and Germany's on the eve of World War I.

He compared Asia to Europe, where historic conflicts have been eased by monetary union via the euro, and where national borders are dissolving with the European Parliament. "No such institutions exist in Asia, where long-standing historical grievances among China, Japan, Korea, India and other countries remain open wounds."

The reasons for rising tensions in Asia include the recent elections of more nationalistic leaders, the need for structural reform because traditional economic order has been disrupted and the perception that U.S. leadership has been weakened, Roubini asserted.

"If leaders in one or more of these countries were to fail on the economic front, they
could feel politically constrained to shift the blame onto foreign 'enemies,'" he predicted.

"Given the feeble U.S. response to the crises in Syria, Ukraine and other geopolitical hot spots, the American security blanket in Asia looks increasingly tattered. China is now testing the credibility of U.S. guarantees, raising the prospect that America's friends and allies — starting with Japan — may have to take more of their security needs into their own hands."

President Obama denied on his just-completed Asia diplomacy tour that the United States is retreating from its global leadership role, Stars and Stripes reported.

Japanese officials voiced concerns before Obama arrived in Tokyo whether the White House would intervene on their behalf if China seized disputed islands in the East China Sea. Obama said the United States would "absolutely" honor its defense pact with Japan.

Bruce Jones, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Obama is correct to resist reacting to each short-term crisis with threats of force.

"I think he's wise to do it, but he's not managed to communicate an effective narrative," Jones told Stars and Stripes. "At one level he's right, and at another level he's unsatisfying."

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If the global order blows up, the explosion is not likely to come from the Middle East or even the percolating Cold War II that is brewing over Ukraine. The real international risk is in Asia, according to noted New York University economist Nouriel Roubini.
Roubini, China, US, war
509
2014-08-01
Thursday, 01 May 2014 02:08 PM
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