Stratbase ADR Institute’s 2018 Fourth Quarter SPARK: “Thinking About Transitions in Asia: The Uncertain Nature of Order in a Changing Region”

It is with pleasure that we share with you our SPARK paper for the month of December, entitled “Thinking About Transitions in Asia The Uncertain Nature of Order in a Changing Region” written by Dr. Alek Chance, a Non-Resident Fellow of Stratbase ADR Institute.

Discussions about change in the international system and challenges to international order have escalated recently. This is particularly the case with respect to Asia. For countries like the Philippines, this discourse is often simplified in such a way that it presents options of either acquiescing to the inevitable unchecked hegemony of a rising China or being presented with the dilemma of choosing (or attempting to evade or defer such a decision) between a United States and a China destined for regional or even global hegemonic struggle.

While current US-China relations have undeniably taken an increasingly negative turn, including in just the last few weeks, the broader significance of this growing competition may be contextualized in different ways, suggest differing levels of anxiety, and ultimately recommend different policy responses, depending on one’s theoretical bent.

While this paper will not seek to settle any of these theoretical disagreements, it hopes that identifying these differing premises can provide some clarity and help to determine some signposts with which to understand future events. By doing so, it seeks to map out potential traps caused by theoretically-imposed blinders and highlight alternative potential policy responses.


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