David Fettling reviews 'Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s decline: From Obama to Trump and beyond' by Gideon Rachman

David Fettling reviews 'Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s decline: From Obama to Trump and beyond' by Gideon Rachman

Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s decline: From Obama to Trump and beyond

by Gideon Rachman

Other Press, $US25.95 hb, 310 pp, 9781590518519

Competing with Middle Eastern wars, terrorist attacks, and presidential tweets, Asia still tends to receive less attention than it merits. Furthermore, while geopolitical tectonic-shifts are occurring in the Indo-Pacific, it can be difficult to step back from daily headlines to assess the current transformation in its entirety. In Easternization, Gideon Rachman, a Financial Times journalist, argues that an epochal shift in power is occurring from West to East, especially in China. Some significant problems with his execution should not obscure the vital importance of his thesis.

The ‘root cause’ of Asia’s transformation, Rachman tells us, has been its ‘extraordinary economic development’. It began with Japan and the Asian ‘Tigers’ from the 1950s. China and India followed after undertaking economic reforms from, respectively, 1978 and 1991. Economic growth matters because economic power leads to political power: Asian states’ high GDP growth is allowing them to erode the West’s military, diplomatic, and technological dominance. ‘The consequences’, Rachman argues, are now ‘defining global politics’.

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Published in December 2017, no. 397