Author: S. Saaler, C.W.A. Szpilman.
The economic and political power of Asia, the world’s largest continent, is increasing rapidly. According to the latest projections, the gross domestic products of China and India, the world’s most populous nations, will each surpass that of the United States in the not-too-distant future. China’s economy, like Japan’s, is already larger than that of any single European country. With this new economic might comes growing diplomatic influence. The twenty-first century, many pundits agree, will be an Asian century. This undisputed Asian success story, together with its accompanying tensions and discontents, has attracted much media and scholarly attention. Yet for all this talk of Asia, there is no consensus on what Asia actually stands for as a whole. Is the vast Asian landmass a single entity? There has never been—and perhaps never will be—universal agreement on this question.