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Usa-united States of Asia: An Asian Union…

Usa-united States of Asia: An Asian Union Initiative (Asian Political,…

by Guang Wu

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Interesting book thinking about the concept of creating an Asian Union, starting with a dream of a "copycat" of the USA, and ending with something that is actually closer to the European Union less the union side (i.e. more on the economic and social integration, but without institutions such as the European Parliament), embedding Asian history, concepts, and motivation- but focused on economic issues.

Caveat: while we Europeans usually consider "Asia" as what lies beyond the Urals and south of Constantinople/Istanbul, but most often call "Middle East" (i.e. non-Asian) most of the countries up to Iran, within the context of the book "Asia" has to be considered as stretching from basically the Egypt to the Pacific Sea.

The interesting point is early on within the book, at it echoes the rationale of creating after WWII what was to become the EU: peace between countries that have been at war with each other for centuries- and start by increasing trade between Asian countries.

Across the book, many of the options discussed can be more easily understood if you forget the European "chessboard approach" and consider instead the "territorial expansion and balance" that is typical of Go/Weiqi.

Overall, the book is an interesting "What if" exercise that, while being less than 100 pages long, is more informative as an introductory work on the regional challenges for non-Asians than books lasting few hundred pages on Asia written through a non-Asian perspective.

As you can find many books in my library focused on European Union issues, it is also interesting to see how the author compares his proposal for an Asian Union with the European Union, and why he considers that the solution for "West Asia" (i.e. Israel and Palestine) isn't two, but three states, at least for one generation or two, and why it is better to see an economic zone blending North Korea with North-East China, expanding then to other areas in the region, than try to reunite the two Koreas.

A last interesting discussion is about the role of Russia and Turkey as "bridges" between Europe and, respectively, the Middle East or Arab world, and Central Asia.

How does the author suggest to implement it all? Not as a single union, but as a series of "clusters" with stricter cooperation within a cluster, slightly more relaxed between clusters, and trade-based with non-Asian countries.

It is just 80 pages long, at times difficult to read due to the unusual syntax (but the same could be said about my unusual syntax), but thought-provoking and worth reading.

PS Incidentally: the name of the author might or might not be true, as it is also, by accident or by choice, the name of one of the officers who lead the Dazexiang revolt :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazexiang_Uprising ( )
  aleph123 | Nov 8, 2014 |
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