RSIS Distinguished Public Lecture by Dr Kent Calder, S. Rajaratnam Professor of Strategic Studies, RSIS; and Director, Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
The New Continentalism: Implications for the Global Future
The past quarter century, and especially this past three years, have radically re-configured the geopolitical and geo-economic profiles of Eurasia. What had long been a segmented hodgepodge of discrete sub-regions – Southeast, South, Central, and Northeast Asia – is becoming a much more integrated entity. Yet public understanding and even much conventional diplomacy has not kept pace.
Four particularly auspicious critical junctures re-configured Eurasia three decades ago: Deng Xiaoping’s Four Modernizations (from 1978); the Iranian Revolution (1979); India’s economic reforms of the early 1980s; and the collapse of the Soviet Union (late 1991). The Ukrainian and southern European financial crises of the past three years hold prospect for provoking further realignment and re-integration within Eurasia as well, intensifying the involvement of Western Europe.
Ultimately, the emergence of Eurasian continentalism, which significantly predated “One Belt, One Road”, but on which that Chinese strategy shrewdly capitalizes, has significant global as well as regional implications, especially given the European Union’s increasing involvement. Continentalism presages a more plural and potentially fluid global system, in which decision-making could grow more complex. Although the full contours of that system remain undefined, there will likely be increasing scope for middle powers, in both mediation and agenda setting. And the maritime world that Japan, India, and insular ASEAN share has its own dynamism, which will have global consequences as well.
About the Speaker:
Kent Calder is currently Director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, D.C. He also serves as Director of Japan Studies. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in the Fall of 2014. Before arriving at Johns Hopkins SAIS in 2003, he taught for twenty years at Princeton University, was a Visiting Professor at Seoul National University, and Lecturer on Government at Harvard University. Calder has served as Special Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1997-2001), Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (1989-1993 and 1996); and as the first Executive Director of Harvard University’s Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, during 1979-1980. Calder received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1979, where he worked under the direction of Edwin O. Reischauer.
A specialist in East Asian political economy, Calder has spent eleven years living and researching in Japan, and four years elsewhere in East Asia. His most recent works include The US, Japan, and the Gulf Region (August 2015), Asia in Washington (Brookings 2014) and The New Continentalism: Energy and Twenty-First Century Eurasian Geopolitics (Yale, 2012). He has also authored Embattled Garrisons: Comparative Base Politics and American Globalism (Princeton, 2007), co-authored The Making of Northeast Asia (Stanford, 2010), and co-edited East Asian Multilateralism, with Francis Fukuyama. Among Calder’s major works on Japanese politics and public policy are Crisis and Compensation (Princeton, 1988); and Strategic Capitalism (Princeton, 1993). He has also written extensively on Asian energy geopolitics and U.S.-Japan relations, including Pacific Alliance (Yale, 2009); and Pacific Defense (William Morrow, 1996). Calder’s first book, The East Asia Edge, co-authored with Roy Hofheinz, Jr., (Basic Books, 1982), was one of the early studies of comparative East Asian public policy, based on a seminar first co-taught with Hofheinz at Harvard in the fall of 1979.