Is US Primacy Durable in an Asian Century?

By David Bruce Lundberg.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Two issues are addressed. Is a shift from U.S. primacy to a multipolar global power structure likely? If so, is it likely to be peaceful or conflictual? Discontinuities could disrupt linear trends but by 2050, China, the US, the European Union, and India are likely to be the four largest economies. Asian integration will reinforce Asia's increasing global economic share, suggesting the prospect of an Asian century from the mid-21st century, ending U.S. economic primacy. U.S. military primacy is massive and more durable than U.S. economic primacy, but the power conferred by it is limited in scope. A peaceful power shift is most likely because of four mutually reinforcing factors. Firstly, nuclear deterrence makes the consequences of major power conflict catastrophic, so political solutions are the only viable modes of dispute resolution. Secondly, complex interdependence based on economic integration confers major benefits from peaceful commerce. Thirdly, norms and practices in East Asia over three decades of peace are reinforced by East Asian Summits and other forums for peaceful dispute resolution, confidence building, and security cooperation. Fourthly, human agency is inherently unpredictable, but a gradual power shift need not involve existential conflict over vital Chinese, EU, Indian or U.S. interests.

Keywords: Asian Century, US Primacy, Power Shift, Interdependence, Cooperative Security

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.13-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 315.019KB).

Dr. David Bruce Lundberg

Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Dr. David Lundberg’s tertiary qualifications are a BA (honours) from the University of Adelaide, (1970), a Bachelor of Divinity from Melbourne College of Divinity (1993), a graduate diploma in social science from the University of Stockholm (1975) and a PhD from Flinders University (1978). David was a Parliamentary Political Science fellow, a ministerial adviser, an intelligence analyst, a federal government policy analyst and an educational researcher. He has taught politics and international relations at four Australian universities. David has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia for twelve years. He has published 3 books, 9 monographs or reports, and 18 book chapters or conference papers. He is researching Asian regional integration, and U.S. global primacy. David has successfully supervised several doctoral, honours, and master’s graduates.