Three Tigers, One Mountain: China, Japan and the US in East Asia
Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU, Canberra
16:00 to 17:30, Friday, 4 August 2017
Richard McGregor will speak about his forthcoming book, Asia’s Reckoning, an account of the widening geopolitical cracks in a region that has flourished under an American security umbrella for more than half a century. The toxic rivalry between China and Japan, two Asian giants consumed with endless history wars and ruled by entrenched political dynasties, is threatening to upend the peace underwritten by Pax Americana since World War II. Combined with Donald Trump’s disdain for America’s old alliances and China’s own regional ambitions, East Asia is entering a new era of instability and conflict. If the United States laid the postwar foundations for modern Asia, now the anchor of the global economy, Asia’s Reckoning reveals how that structure is falling apart.
With access to archives in the United States and Asia, as well as to many of the major players in all three countries, the book blends the tectonic shifts in diplomacy with bitter domestic politics and the personalities driving them. It is a story not only of an overstretched America, but also of the rise and fall and rise of the great powers of Asia. The about-turn of Japan—from a colossus seemingly poised for world domination to a nation in inexorable decline in the space of two decades—has few parallels in modern history, as does the rapid rise of China—a country whose military is now larger than those of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and southeast Asia’s combined.
The confrontational course on which China and Japan are set is no simple spat between neighbours: the United States would be involved on the side of Japan in any military conflict between the two countries. The fallout would be an economic tsunami, affecting manufacturing centers, trade routes, and political capitals on every continent.
Richard McGregor is an award-winning journalist and author who has reported on high-level politics and economics in East Asia and on US national security issues. He was the Financial Times bureau chief in Beijing and Shanghai between 2000 and 2009, and headed the Washington office for four years from 2011. His book on the Chinese Communist Party published in 2010, The Party, was called a “masterpiece” by The Economist and won numerous awards in the US and overseas, including the Asia Society in New York award in 2011 for best book on Asia. McGregor was a fellow at the Wilson Center in 2015 and a visiting scholar at the Sigur Center at George Washington University in 2016. His new book, entitled Asia’s Reckoning, will be published by Viking Press and Penguin in September 2017.
The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the China Institute, the Research School of Asia and the Pacific, and the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University.