Power Dynamics and the “Two Asias”: A Conversation with Evan Feigenbaum

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By: Bonnie S. Glaser

This episode examines the development of two competing conceptions of Asia - an “Economic Asia,” characterized by trade integration and a rising tide of interconnected growth, and a “Security Asia” beset by powerful nationalisms and clashing security concepts. After reviewing the predictions he made in a co-authored 2012 essay about Asia’s trajectory, our guest, Evan Feigenbaum, discusses how China and the United States exert influence and the evolving roles of each in the region. He examines current trends to explore whether the model of two colliding “Asias” remains valid and where he believes the region is headed in the future.

Dr. Evan Feigenbaum is Vice Chairman of the Paulson Institute at The University of Chicago and the Co-Founder of its new digital venture, MacroPolo. In October 2012, Dr. Feigenbaum’s essay, co-authored with Robert Manning in Foreign Policy and titled, “A Tale of Two Asias,” attacked the idea of a supposed “Asian Century." Dr. Feigenbaum leads the Paulson Institute’s political economy and investment-related programs, including the Institute’s think tank. He was twice a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the George W. Bush Administration.