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Asia Alone: The Dangerous Post-Crisis Divide from America

ISBN: 978-0-470-82582-2
256 pages
July 2010
Asia Alone: The Dangerous Post-Crisis Divide from America (0470825820) cover image


An insightful examination of the changing relationship between Asia and the United States

In this lucidly written and thought-provoking book, author Simon Tay highlights the accelerating trends that point to Asia increasingly forging its own path, independent of the United States. He also describes the fundamental changes and new policy directions needed to maintain and strengthen the bonds between Asia and the United States that have been beneficial to both since the end of the Second World War.

On the eve of the global financial crisis of 2008, the economies of the United States and its Asian partners were deeply interdependent. But the different approaches taken to the crisis by Asian and Western leaders point to a new separation that may have negative consequences for the economies and businesses of both regions. To avoid a dangerous divide that may make us all the poorer, Tay reveals what leaders, policy-makers, companies, and citizens can do to find a balance that enriches us all.

  • Written by a leading public intellectual CNN's Fareed Zakaria describes as "one of the most intelligent and reliable guides to the region"
  • Touches on major issues in foreign policy and economics that will impact Asian nations and the United States over the near future
  • Explains the changing nature of economic relations in the global economy

For foreign policy followers, politicians, and businesspeople, Asia Alone charts a path forward—together.

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Table of Contents



1. From Interdependence to a Dangerous Divide: How is the Crisis Changing Asia and America?

Langfang and Interdependence.

Origins in Crisis.

A New Asian Balance.

Meeting Mr. Post-American.

The Blame Game.

From American Soft Power to Chinese Charm.

Why It Matters.

What Can Be Done.

2. Two Crises, One Asia: Is Asia Coming Together as a Region Without the United States? Why?

Asia as One.

The "Asian" Crisis and America.

How America Lost Asia.

Asia Decoupling.

3. Leading Asia's Rise: Who's In and Who Leads?

China and Southeast Asia: From Alarm to Charm.

Gaining from Crises, Gaining from China.

ASEAN's Example.

The Problem with Japan and Others.

ASEAN's Limits and the Regional Mess.

4. When Buffalo Fight: Can Rivalries Be Resolved as Asian Powers Emerge?

Tribute to China.

Contested Histories, Future Doubts.

Enter India.

The Status Quo: Containment and Balance.

Economic Logic and Political Insanities.

5. American Adjustments and Continuing Interests: Does the United States Really Want and Need Asia?

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough (Don't) Go Shopping.

Chinese Trading Junk, Globalization Blues.

The Asian Opportunity (Again).

From Americanization to Global-as-Asian.

"Buy American": Investment as Invasion.

6. Bridging the Divide, Rebalancing the Region: How Can America and Asia Adjust to Their Post-Crisis Relationship?

Eight Days in Asia: Kowtowing and Not Being Kennedy.

A Risen China and the Power of &.

The City of &: The Equi-Proximate Policy.

Asia's Normative Community.

7. A Shared Future?: What Can Go Wrong?

A Dubai-ous Global Future.

Getting Asia on the Global Stage.

What Can Asians and Americans Do?

American Presence Not Past.

Asia Alone and the Options.

The Post-Crisis World.



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Author Information

SIMON S.C. TAY, LLM (Harvard) LLB Hons (NUS) is a public intellectual focusing on international and public affairs. He chairs the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, a leading independent think tank in Asia. Simon is concurrently an associate professor in the National University of Singapore at both the Faculty of Law and the LKY School of Public Policy, and has taught at Harvard Law School, Yale University and the Fletcher School. In 2009, he was based at the Asia Society in New York City as the Schwartz Fellow and continues as the Society’s Global Council co-chair. He has previously written or edited five books on international law and public policy. Simon has appeared on CNN, BBC, CNBC, and Bloomberg and published in leading newspapers and academic journals. He has spoken at many international meetings, including the World Economic Forum (Davos) and the APEC CEO Summit. Simon has served as a Member of Parliament in Singapore and initiated the Singapore Volunteers Overseas, the country’s equivalent of the Peace Corps. He is also an award-winning author of stories and essays.
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Press Release

June 14, 2010
A Rising Asia Needs Balance

Asia divided from America: a scenario many hope will not happen. However, such a division is becoming increasingly probable as post-crisis trends seem to point toward a divorce of the two economies as Asia steams ahead in forging its own path, without America. The Asia-America partnership, valuable and indeed critical to both since the end of the Second World War, may cease precipitately if a new engagement and rebalancing act is not reached.

Author Simon Tay shares his perspectives gained from many years of observation and involvement at the highest levels in his new book, Asia Alone: The Dangerous Post-Crisis Divide from America (ISBN: 978-0-470-82582-2; John Wiley & Sons). In this lucidly written and thought-provoking book, Tay highlights the accelerating trends toward America’s decoupling with Asia and presents a penetrating analysis of why Asia and America are still and shall continue to be codependent. He also describes the path forward, including new policy directions as well as shifts in underlying attitudes on each side required to avoid this separation and to achieve a shared future.

As Asia develops economically and begins to cooperate and take a greater stake in the regional and world order, America must engage with Asia in context and as co-equals. Asia, on the other hand, would have to be more united as a region but still interdependent with a powerful and confident America. Both sides must be ready to shift from the status quo of a dominant America and a disunited Asia in order to continue to gain from their interdependence in economics, business, politics and security.

The future will be fundamentally different from the past, and new ways must be found to bridge the emerging divide between Asia and America and rebalance their relationship. This balance will shape, for better or for worse, the coming years for Asians and Americans in the post-crisis world. Policy-makers, strategic managers, and commentators need to understand the past, present and future of this Pacific basin relationship which, if managed well, can survive the Great Recession, the growth of Chinese power, and the end of unipolarity.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria describes Simon Tay as “one of the most intelligent and reliable guides to the region.” Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Susan Shirk says “Tay’s vision of how to remake the partnership so that it works better for both the United States and Asia should be essential reading for businesspeople and diplomats alike.”

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