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Power and Primacy

A History of Western Intervention in the Asia-Pacific

A.B. Abrams

Today the Asia-Pacific region stands on the verge of major change, with centuries of western dominated regional order being seriously challenged and quite possibly nearing its end. The emergence of a potential new order dominated by regional rather than extra-regional powers - an «Asia for the Asiatics» in the words of Japan’s pan-Asian scholars - means it is now more than ever essential to understand the history of the current western-dominated system, the full implications should it continue and the nature of the West’s intentions towards the region.

This book undertakes the task of elucidating the complex and little-known history of western intervention in the Asia-Pacific, providing information critical to understanding contemporary developments

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Chapter 15: Asia Divided: Unifying Economic Initiatives in the Asia-Pacific as a Threat to Western Primacy

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Chapter 15

Asia Divided: Unifying Economic Initiatives in the Asia-Pacific as a Threat to Western Primacy

A kingdom divided in itself cannot stand.1

— Thomas Hobbes

Divide and Rule: The Western Imperative of Preventing an Asian Power Bloc from Forming

The Asia-Pacific has all the prerequisites to form a power bloc to challenge Western primacy in its economic, technological, military and soft power on the world stage. These include the region’s unique endowment of what Michael Cox, professor of international relations at the University of London, LSE, listed as: ‘intangible, but important assets, including a culture of hard work, a system of entrepreneurial values, a plentiful supply of labour, a huge reservoir of capital, and a set of political and economic structures that allow the state to play a critical role in engineering successful economic outcomes.’2 The rise of the Asia-Pacific to eclipse the West has since the era of European colonialism been seen as the greatest threat to the Western centric world order. Fears of the potential of the ‘little yellow man’ led to what came to be known as the ‘yellow peril,’ leading to further repression by European imperial powers against Asian populations under their control.

For the Western Bloc to maintain its global primacy today it is essential that no independent Asian powers be permitted to modernize economically, technologically and culturally independently of the West – something which Imperial Japan had set out to achieve with...

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