Where might conflict flare up in 2023?

Where might conflict flare up in 2023? | The Economist

Keep an eye on Taiwan and the South China Sea—and the Himalayas

THE ECONOMIST By Dominic Ziegler: Banyan columnist, The Economist, Singapore

The recent debate about whether a new cold war is playing out in Asia is beside the point. In 2023 rising tensions will underscore how for all the optimism in the early 1990s that the world was bending towards the West’s notions of an open, rules-based order, the original cold war never ended in the region. Just as Russia’s war in Ukraine proved that point definitively in Europe in 2022, the coming year will see the next iteration of a great global struggle between liberalism and autocracy play out in Asia.

Here, the contest is between the United States and China. Its roots go back decades, to the end of the second world war. The defeat of Japan in 1945 rendered America henceforth an Asian superpower. It let America project military force from the territory of its defeated opponent and shape events in the region. It also created, in Japan, a democratic outpost of the West. Today, the novelty is that a second superpower, communist China, vies for supremacy in Asia. But current tensions feed on old sources that spring from East Asia’s post-war turbulence.

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