Anarchic East Asia Amid a Flourishing Regional Economy: Why State to State Relations Are So Bad, and Economic Prospects So Good

May 29, 2015

Abstract:Dr. Bruce Cumings will examine recent conflicts over islands – more often piles of rocks – in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. He argues that China, for unclear reasons and without much success, has embarked on a policy of bullying its neighbors. Meanwhile the Obama administration has been trying to get Japan and South Korea to work together to contain North Korea and China, again without much success. None of this, however, has had much impact on the extraordinary health of the economies in this region, which are likely to constitute (together with the American Pacific Coast) the core of the world economy for the rest of the century. One reason, he suggests, is that East Asia is still on an American tether, 70 years after the Pacific War ended in Japan’s defeat. In other words, the US provides essential security for the region and so towers over any possible antagonist as to make war or even significant military conflict unlikely.Speaker:Dr. Cumings is Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of History at the University of Chicago. His research and teaching focus on modern Korean history, twentieth-century international history, US–East Asian relations, East Asian political economy, and American foreign relations. He has just completed Dominion from Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power, published by Yale University Press. He is currently working on a single volume on the origins of the Korean War, and a book on the Northeast Asian political economy.UBC Robson Square, Conference Room, 800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC