[translations idioma=”ES” url=”https://archives.rgnn.org/2013/12/03/europa-y-la-irrupcion-asiatica”]
ASIA. Recent geopolitical tensions between Japan and China over the Sengaku islands, which are under Japanese jurisdiction yet claimed by China, have revealed again the veiled tensions between the two historic nations of the Far East, and only confirm that the region finds itself immersed in a constant process of change and transformation, concretely, in three major areas.

The first, and best known, is the economy. China is, without a doubt, responsible for major changes due to its enormous population, and its rapid and continual poverty reduction. For three decades, it has grown at rates of 10%, which dropped only slightly after the fall of Lehman Brothers and the internationally sweeping economic crisis of 2008. However, alongside China, there are other countries transforming their economies, pulling millions of people out of hardship and ultimately establishing dynamic markets. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia provides one of the best examples of this theory. Likewise, since the 70’s, South Korea, a global technological power par excellence, has witnessed exponential growth in their standard of living, further isolating their northern neighbor.

In addition to this economic transformation, an important social modification has been yielded, changing the county’s demographics, consumer habits, urban planning, relation with the environment, etc. In this way, the better part of global supercities are concentrated in Asia; the migrations from the farm to the city continue being enormous; consumption of food, water and other natural resources is exponential; and lastly, the population growth continues to be very high. The best example comes from India, a country that after its birth as an independent nation in 1947 had 300 million inhabitants, which today has exceeded 1.2 billion citizens. This has produced strong changes within the societies of present-day Asia, which contributes to the current Asian resurgence, and at the same time, has affected the rest of the world.

Finally, this economic and social transformation has introduced a new and decisive variable into global security, considering that the area’s unstable conditions have important geopolitical consequences for the rest of the world. In other words, social and economic transformations are generating military tensions that could be become progressively bigger in the next few years.

This threefold transformation in Asia is producing crucial consequences for the rest of the world, chiefly in Europe, a continent that finds itself at an important political and social crossroads, but also facing various emergent scenarios in its relationship with Asia.

Europe and Asia share common threats, and therefore, their mutual cooperation is key in overcoming it. Environmental protection, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or Jihadist terrorism are areas where both continents can develop joint policies that benefit them both.

Along these lines,Europe cannot miss the Asian economic emergence and thus must accelerate the presence of European businesses in Asia and the process of economic integration with the region. This would produce a major interdependence between both economies that would help to mitigate future political tensions, which, without a doubt, are bound to arise.

Lastly, Europe should rethink its current international policy regarding Asia in the sense that, even if there are sectors of collaboration in matters of common threats and overall economic development, there are areas that surely would produce friction between both continents. Among these, three stand out: the fight for energy resources, the distribution of world power, and the struggle for scientific talent and advancement.

These three areas of interaction between Asia and Europe will shape much of the evolution of world leadership and will position Europe in a situation of decline or preservation of their current power.

The world’s eye is now on the Pacific. The change in America’s attitude towards the region still has not received an answer from Europe, an answer that undoubtedly should confront the reemergence of Asia as a vital region in terms of economics, politics and security.

— Translation: Trey Calvin.