Atlanta (September 7, 2023) – The Carter Center China Focus is pleased to announce the third book talk in its Chinese Politics & Society book talk series. This event is organized in cooperation with the China Research Center, East Asia Collective, and the Department of Russia and East Asian Languages and Cultures at Emory University. The book series has previously featured Bin Xu, associate professor of sociology at Emory University, on his recent book The Culture of Democracy: A Sociological Approach to Civil Society (Polity, 2022) and Fei-Ling Wang, professor at Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, on his recent book The China Record: An Assessment of the People’s Republic (SUNY Press 2023).
This book talk will feature Dr. Brantly Womack, Professor Emeritus of Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, on his new book Recentering Pacific Asia: Regional China and World Order (Cambridge University Press, 2023).
The magnitude and gravity of the transformation of the Pacific Asian region (East Asia, Greater China, and Southeast Asia), and more generally of the post-2008 global order, require a reassessment of our basic framing of regional and global dynamics. At the global level, we are now well beyond a situation of accepted American leadership, and a transformational “rising China” has morphed into a more troubled–and troubling–“risen China.” While China is the largest obstacle on the American horizon, the two are not boxers in a ring, but rather rivals with very different ecologies, assets, and challenges. China is primarily a regional power. While “regional power” might sound demeaning— “only a regional power,” its region has become key to the prospects of the global economy. By contrast, the United States has been global from its beginnings and has been the major global power for a century. The rivalry between the two is asymmetric in every respect: situations, dynamics, histories, and resources.
China has again become the central presence for its Pacific Asian neighbors and, taken as a whole, the regional economy of Pacific Asia is now bigger (in PPP terms) than the American and EU economies combined. While China has also become a global power, the cohesiveness of Pacific Asia will be the major determinant of any larger roles for China. Currently regional economic connectivity is impressive, but politically China’s growth, economic centrality, and domestic illiberality cause deep concerns among its neighbors about its intentions. Meanwhile, a higher dimension of uncertainty is added to the region by emerging great power rivalry between the United States and China.
The major task facing the United States is not to counter China’s centrality in Pacific Asia, but rather to understand it.
Join us for this book talk with Dr. Brantly Womack on September 7, 2023 at 5:30 PM ET. To attend in person, please register here and visit Emory Student Center (Multipurpose Room 6), 605 Asbury Cir, Atlanta, GA 30322. To attend the event online, please register on Zoom here.
Pizza and refreshments will be served.