A Power Play Across the Pacific

Published on Author bednart15

Economist Bridge Over Troubled Water
Photo Credit The Economist “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”

This week the Economist had an incredible cover-featured story on the APEC summit and relationship of the United States and China. One of the most notable observations was that the entire region of the Pacific Rim “has become too prosperous and too complex for the ocean to be either America’s lake or China’s.” The two nations may compete for markets, favorable trade deals, security agreements, and influence in the nations around the Pacific, but neither can successfully seek to assert true dominance. This is in line with a quote by President Xi that “it is for the people of Asia to…uphold the security of Asia.” Self determination will certainly make a more prominent role in the near future of the region and its component nations.

The entirety of the Economist piece offers a wide-view picture of Chinese economic growth, U.S. security concerns, vying trade deals, and regional tensions. These issues paint the picture of international political economy across the Pacific Rim and will be a prime issue in U.S. foreign policy ( and the prime issue in Chinese foreign policy) for at least the decade to come.



3 Responses to A Power Play Across the Pacific

  1. I think this is exemplified by the recent events in Australia. The United States considers Australia one its closest allies, yet Australia’s largest trading partner is China. The United State pressured Australia into not committing to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member, yet Australia earlier this week signed a major free trade agreement with China. I wonder is Australia will spurn the U.S. pressure and instead appease China and join the bank.

  2. Almost all of the articles I have come across on economic progress only really focus on China or the United States, and to a small extent Japan. I am curious to what role smaller countries, especially southeastern nations like Singapore, are really playing. Even if they do not have the same negotiating power, it seems as though they are often ignored in discussions about Asia’s future in economics and politics.

  3. First, Japan’s biggest trading partner is China. Ditto for Korea. I have a senior doing their EAS capstone on China-ASEAN ties, but don’t have his empirical results yet. For most the US is either #2 or #3 … with the EU the same. So it really should be a global not a Pacific story.

    Second, political theory can handle models of hegemony and to a lesser extent two-party “Cold War” models. But we now have 3 major blocs: the EU, NAFTA and China. How does that work? (Or doesn’t…)

    Third, what of those not tightly bound to one or another major player. So yes, what are the implications for Singapore or Myanmar? Or a Fiji — as their tourism base is shifting from the US and Europe to a more Asian base [talk to Tuwi Rokodulu!].