Can Asia lead the world? Some Asian writers have begun to argue that the time has come for Asia to champion the liberal world order that allowed it to develop and prosper. But how?
To begin, Asia can simply support that order and talk it up. But Asia already does that, and powerfully. Asia provides proof of concept by showing how economic success comes with being part of that liberal world order.
But more, Asia can champion the liberal world order by rising to lead it. Leadership does not mean brandishing more guns and bombs, wielding greater economic and financial firepower, or having a bigger geographical and population footprint. If that were what it takes, world order would be liberal only as farce, and already damaged beyond repair.
Danny Quah is Li Ka Shing Professor of Economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, at the National University of Singapore. This article was first published on South China Morning Post on 7th April 2017.