Asian powers ponder options as America turns inward

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak in New Delhi
With America in retreat, Asian leaders like China's President Xi Jinping (L) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) know that they have to step up (source: dpa)
  • The emerging “post-globalist” order leaves more space for regional powers
  • China hankers for a bigger global role, but its bully-boy tactics have won few followers
  • India has become more active but appears unconvinced it can make a difference

A United States president says protectionism “will lead to great prosperity and strength,” and a Chinese president says there is “no justification to write economic globalization off completely.” There was a worldwide double take at the contrasting views on globalization expressed in January by Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, the former at his inauguration and the latter at the World Economic Forum in Davos. What made it noteworthy was that Washington, traditionally the champion of open borders and open economies, was the one calling for barriers.

This seeming role reversal raises a question. Is the world economic order shifting, with support for globalization now to be found primarily among emerging economies like China and India, rather than in advanced economies such as the U.S. and the European Union?

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