Multilateralism and regional order in contested Asia
The dramatic increase in wealth and influence by the PRC meant that the old balance of power and the old rules of the road would need to change to reflect the emerging dispensation. In conventional international relations scholarship multilateralism promises to reduce the likelihood of competition and improve the prospects of cooperation because of the way it changes the incentive structures states face. One of the most striking features of East Asia’s recent international history is the speed with which it moved, in the late 1970s, from being a place beset with high intensity conflict to one of relative geopolitical tranquility. While Asia’s multilateral institutions may have been inspired by liberal ideas, as the region has become more contested these bodies have become part of and are ameliorating East Asia’s competitive dynamic. The easing of the Cold War’s geopolitical tensions and growing trade and investment networks led the region’s countries to recognize the need to develop multilateral policies and practices.