Primacy and Leadership in East Asia
Edited by Michael Heazle and Andrew O’Neil
Chapter 5: Building a Pacific Order: binding the liberal spokes
After the Second World War, the United States established a remarkably successful hub and spokes system that has persisted for more than half a century. Today, for the first time in recent memory, the hub and spokes system is in question not because of the spokes, but because of the hub itself. Without the hub, this ordering system would inevitably collapse and would be replaced by an alternative system. Two often discussed alternatives – a Chinese-led order and an unled order – would be so damaging to the interests of Asia’s liberal states that they should be avoided at all costs. Instead, it is preferable that the region’s states bind themselves together, transforming the US-led order into a Pacific Order. Doing so would require urgency from Asia’s leading liberal states, but the alternatives are dire. To safeguard their own interests, Asia’s spokes must become hubs.
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