East Asia: The next Superpower
By: Dr. Poempida Hidayatulloh
The Undiscovered Unity
The East Asia region has shown distinctive economic growth
characteristics in recent years. The countries in the regions have
shown fast growing recovery in the beginning of this new millennium,
even though they were suffered due to the infamous economic crisis
There is none to argue that with China’s awakening economic power,
the world has seen another gigantic potential power, which may become
a determining factor to the global livelihood.
Japan has always been considered as one of the strongest economy
The fact that other countries in the region namely South Korea, North
Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore,
Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, and others (apologies for those not
mentioned) have also reflected massive potentials in the economic
These countries in the regions have enjoyed shares in good economic
relationships. However, such relationships have not progressed
further into firmer stages. Differences and turbulence in the
regional Geopolitics have highlighted most of the recent regional
Some would say that the vested interests of the “West” in the region
have become of an Importance, more than ever. Especially, after the
fall down of the Soviet Union just before the new millennium
commenced. Surely, the West will never allow a bunch of economic
potentials to exceed their proclaimed hegemony. Thus, they will do
anything to protect these potentials to become united.
This is why that the East Asia region needs to find a way of
reconciliation towards unity in order to rediscover further
tremendous potentials not only in economy but also in political power
The World of No Racism
One would still wonder what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Did
Japan really deserve to be the target of the “Fat Man” and the
“Little Boy”? Why did not Hitler’s NAZI get the same treatment? Just
to remind readers that the NAZI also did significant damages during
World War II.
Historically and culturally, the East Asia Region never recognised
the concept of racism. Surely, there have been wars and differences
among regional ethnics in the past. However, they were not driven by
skin colours and ethnicity issues. They were mostly related to the
fight for resources. Economic strength has always been the most
valued element in this regional culture. They respect most the one
that controls economy. Most of the regional ethnics also show they
bear significant hungers towards economic certainties. This is one of
the key elements of the recent regional economic revival.
If such element is combined with greater political endeavour, it will
result in an unimaginable supremacy. The West very well understands
this fact, and unquestionably they will prevent such combination to
Racism is a western artefact, which infiltrates the eastern norms for
No wonder the eastern point of view towards the Hiroshima-Nagasaki
bombing is solely based on racial-prejudice and not as a “pearl
harbour” pay back.
The East Asian Dream
The regional economy, as one of the most sought-after element in the
east, still needs to be repositioned. Multi-lateral economic
relationships are required to be encouraged towards healthier
competitions and partnerships. One way to achieve it is by
establishing an independent exclusive regional economic boundary.
Abundant natural resources, great human capital, gigantic market and
strong currencies would be the potential foundations towards an
independent regional economic zone, which can be very exclusive for
the East Asian people to enjoy. This hypothetical state would be
difficult to realise in this current regional environment. We have
witnessed unnecessary hurdles in the past few years among East Asian
countries. These definitely become drawbacks of what would be the
writer would call the “East Asian Dream”. The East Asian Dream is
about harmony among the nations within, which shares common economic
privileges to realize prosperity, welfare, economic justice and
improved social security. The region has still mountains to climb to
get rid of such drawbacks.
Towards The World’s Superpower
Wikipedia states that Superpower means a country that has the
capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the
world, and sometimes, in more than one region of the globe at a time,
and so may plausibly attain the status of global hegemony.
China has always been predicted to be the next world’s superpower and
jointly sharing such exclusive title with the United States.
The writer sees that China on its own will face steep hills in order
to attain such title.
Japan-China saga, China-Taiwan differences and including North Korea
affairs are summed up into more complex situation towards China’s
title pursuit. The sleeping giant has yet a lot to prove that it can
spread its influences in the region especially in sorting out the
mentioned issues. In addition, even though China’s position is well
supported by the overseas Chinese, still it has some barriers in
terms of global linguistic communications.
The East Asian people should take European Union as a good example.
Having a massive common economic boundary, which consists of various
economic potentials, has proven to be advantageous in strengthening
its regional economy. As a reminder, Europe never has the luxury of
exploiting abundant natural resources. However, they successfully
structure their economy with a strong regional market, strong capital
resources, technology product oriented, stable fiscal policy, low
credit interest and low inflation. This proves further by the fact
that EURO has beaten US Dollar in terms of Foreign Exchange.
Imagine if there is another Regional Union, The East Asian Union
(EAU). This would definitely result in an unbelievable impact in the
World’s economy. With one Currency of EAU, the Union will be lead by
its economic champions, China and Japan. The rest of the countries of
course must support them and together work hand in hand in
establishing stronger independent regional market, improving value
added technology products, exploiting sustainable natural resources
efficiently, and expanding capital network. These can only be done in
harmony socially and politically. Then, The East Asian Dream will
become a reality.
In conclusion, the super-potential East Asia region is undoubtedly to
be unchallenged by others, should the region become united
economically, politically, socially and culturally. However the
Undiscovered Union must focus on consolidation efforts to overcome
differences, dis-integrity, disparity, and destabilisation among the
countries within. On the other hand, simultaneously, the region must
promote more beneficial partnerships and cooperations in many sectors
in order to realize the East Asian Dream.
East Asia: The next Superpower