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The New Asian Order

And How the United States Fits In

Laborers work on the scaffoldings at a construction site in Kunming, Yunnan province, December 22, 2014. Courtesy Reuters

In November 2012, I found myself at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai—one of a tiny handful of Americans attending a forum, sponsored by prominent Indian and Chinese business organizations, on Asian financial integration.

There is something a bit unsettling about being nearly the only American at a discussion of financial order held not on the Potomac, East, Hudson, or Thames, but near the banks of the Mithi River. And surely there is something deeply symbolic about a forlorn group of Americans listening to power brokers from China, India, Japan, and elsewhere discuss how to remake the financial order on a pan-Asian basis. After all, the United States has dominated global finance in the postwar era, which is a byproduct of the unique role of the U.S. dollar, the United States’ weight in global institutions, and the best-in-class status of so many U.S. financial services firms, among other factors.

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