High stakes in Asian waters

Book review: Asian WatersThe struggle for supremacy in the South China Sea.

896_MW_P39_reviews_Asian-Waters

Buy at Amazon

Most experts agree that, whatever international crises currently dominate the headlines, the area with the greatest long-term potential for conflict is the South China Sea. China's policy of occupying obscure islands to claim their surrounding waters means it is now embroiled in maritime disputes with several countries. The stakes are high, since the winner could end up with effective control of one of the world's major trading routes.

Asian Waters, written by a long-serving foreign correspondent for the BBC, looks at this struggle for supremacy from the perspective of the major powers of America, China and Japan, as well as several other nations in the region. All face their own challenges based on the need to balance geopolitical goals while ensuring that their economy isn't wrecked by any conflict.

Hawksley doesn't provide any answers to the question of whether China's rise should be resisted or accommodated. But he offers a captivating account of the big changes taking place in the global political system and makes a convincing case that the Westphalian system based on markets, the rule of law and the promotion of democratic norms, is being gradually replaced by what he calls an "Eastphalian" arrangement negotiated by China at the point of a gun.

Recommended

Theatre review: The Visit
Films

Theatre review: The Visit

Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Swiss classic The Visit, transported to 1950s America, poses the question: how much would you kill for?
28 Feb 2020
Six contrarian books for Christmas
Films

Six contrarian books for Christmas

Merryn Somerset Webb picks six of her favourite contrarian books to help you look clever and perhaps win a few arguments over the Christmas dinner tab…
9 Dec 2019
Four excellent books to get your teeth into while you remain holed up
Books

Four excellent books to get your teeth into while you remain holed up

Whether you’re going on a staycation (or even an actual holiday) or remaining holed up at home. Merryn Somerset Webb has four perfect books to educate…
6 Jul 2020

Most Popular

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?
Sponsored

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?

In his recent articles looking at different aspects of the fixed-income investing world, David Stevenson looked at inflation. Today he looks at a clos…
19 Oct 2020
The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm
Bitcoin

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm

The Bank of England could win the race to create a respectable digital currency if it moves quickly, says Matthew Lynn.
18 Oct 2020
Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts
Bank accounts

Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts

Negative interest rates are likely to mean the introduction of fees for current accounts and other banking products. But that might make the UK bankin…
19 Oct 2020