Courtesy Reuters

The transfer of power from West to East is gathering pace and soon will dramatically change the context for dealing with international challenges -- as well as the challenges themselves. Many in the West are already aware of Asia's growing strength. This awareness, however, has not yet been translated into preparedness. And therein lies a danger: that Western countries will repeat their past mistakes.

Major shifts of power between states, not to mention regions, occur infrequently and are rarely peaceful. In the early twentieth century, the imperial order and the aspiring states of Germany and Japan failed to adjust to each other. The conflict that resulted devastated large parts of the globe. Today, the transformation of the international system will be even bigger and will require the assimilation of markedly different political and cultural traditions. This time, the populous states of Asia are the aspirants seeking to play a greater

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe
  • James F. Hoge, Jr. is Editor of Foreign Affairs. This article is adapted from a lecture given in April at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
  • More By James F. Hoge, Jr.