A Let­ter from the Ed­i­tors

Global Asia - - NEWS - Chung-in Moon Edi­tor-in-chief David Plott Man­ag­ing Edi­tor

Dear Reader

It mat­ters Im­mensely who leads a na­tion, par­tic­u­larly in pe­ri­ods of ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion, when long dor­mant ten­sions or trends as­sert them­selves and be­gin to re­shape po­lit­i­cal dis­course. the chron­i­cles of his­tory are filled with tales of lead­ers who rose to the oc­ca­sion un­der these cir­cum­stances and re­de­fined the des­tiny of their coun­tries, as well as those who were over­come and ul­ti­mately felled by events.

the world to­day is fac­ing a back­lash against glob­al­iza­tion; an un­set­tling of the lib­eral demo­cratic or­der that has pre­vailed since the end of the sec­ond World War; the rise of pop­ulist and na­tion­al­ist pol­i­tics; and an emerg­ing chal­lenge by China to the world lead­er­ship of the United states. the signs of those changes are play­ing out loudly in the Us and europe, where na­tion­al­ist, anti-im­mi­grant and anti-glob­al­ist politi­cians are chal­leng­ing long-held as­sump­tions and be­gin­ning to rock the foun­da­tions of ex­ist­ing po­lit­i­cal and gover­nance struc­tures.

In asia too, lead­ers are fac­ing a raft of new chal­lenges, seek­ing to come to terms with rapidly chang­ing do­mes­tic cir­cum­stances while also nav­i­gat­ing po­ten­tial tec­tonic shifts in the in­ter­na­tional or­der. In the cover pack­age of this is­sue of Global Asia, we ex­am­ine the rise of pop­ulism and iden­tity pol­i­tics, par­tic­u­larly in the Us and europe, and then pro­file the lead­ers of a num­ber of key asian coun­tries to ex­plore how they are man­ag­ing these emerg­ing forces and other do­mes­tic chal­lenges. the fact that al­most all of these coun­tries are democ­ra­cies only un­der­scores the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of these lead­ers to pop­u­lar opin­ion. But even in China, lead­ers are keenly aware of the volatile na­ture of pop­u­lar opin­ion, par­tic­u­larly na­tion­al­ist sen­ti­ments.

else­where in this is­sue of Global Asia, our Fea­tures sec­tion in­cludes a de­tailed ac­count of China’s Belt and road Ini­tia­tive and how it aims to forge an in­ter­na­tional vi­sion of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s “Chi­nese Dream;” a look at how and why the trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is plac­ing greater em­pha­sis on Cen­tral asia, which Wash­ing­ton has long ne­glected; an es­say on how the Us and China could mit­i­gate the neg­a­tive as­pects of their great power ri­valry and achieve greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for co­op­er­a­tion; an ex­am­i­na­tion of the risks of war over dis­puted claims in the south China sea and why that could prove so costly; and fi­nally, why In­done­sia should step up to a lead­er­ship role in the Indo-pa­cific re­gion.

Our In Fo­cus sec­tion dis­sects the af­ter­math of the sum­mit diplo­macy with north Korea ear­lier this year and ex­plores the hard chal­lenges ahead to achieve de­nu­cle­ariza­tion. It also raises the in­trigu­ing ques­tion of whether trump’s sum­mit with Kim Jong Un was re­ally aimed at buy­ing time to fo­cus on the Us stand­off with Iran. In our De­bate sec­tion, mean­while, we present two views on the emerg­ing trade war be­tween the Us and China, both of them sug­gest­ing a trade war is ul­ti­mately a bad idea for ev­ery­one.

as al­ways, we also fea­ture re­views of some of the best re­cent books on asia.

sin­cerely yours,

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