The future is (of) Asia (minus MENA)

Globalization and the hunt for natural resources have made this vast continent compact enough to form competing blocks which hopefully will not fight hot wars (China just blinked on the off-shore rig off Vietnam). 

OTOH there will be plenty of hot-wars in the MENA which will make the region unbearable (for staying) and unprofitable (for trading anything except oil).

From the Pew charts we observe that for the most part Asians love the USA. The important exceptions are China, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesia manages to identify USA as the biggest ally AND as the biggest threat. For Pakistan the USA is a bigger threat than India. OTOH India is the biggest threat for Bangladesh.

What is interesting will be the upcoming role of Indonesia. It has just elected a populist leader who hails from the lower ranks (sounds familiar?). Given all the provocations from the Chicoms it is still fairly positive about China. As a fellow muslim medium-weight power (also Malaysia) it has a friendly outlook towards Pakistan.

The other country of interest is Bangladesh. As patriotic Bengalis are wont to say…it can be the next Switzerland. Bangladesh can play the Big Power game to its advantage (India against China and vice-versa). But that requires fairly astute political leadership and a national sense of purpose which seems to be missing right now. Bangladesh (as we see it) will be well-positioned in the Indo-China buffer zone, not as part of a pan-Arab empire (the Bangla expat communities will OTOH integrate comfortably with their cousins in the Ummah).

Following our imagination, the China-Pakistan-Malaysia-Indonesia combine balances nicely against Japan-India-Vietnam-Philippines. Bangladesh, Burma, Singapore, Australia and Korea occupy the co-friendship zone. It goes without saying that USA will play a key role but the countries involved may not need/want hand holding.





Brown Pundits