Is Asia Ready for a Bigger Role?

Ann Florini
Ann Florini Former Brookings Expert, Professor of Public Policy - School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University

November 3, 2006

Asia has begun to claim a stronger voice in defining and managing global affairs. But it is still struggling to define the larger role it wants to play.

In September, China won itself a (slightly) larger voice at the International Monetary Fund. Asia is also poised to take its turn at the United Nations, with the appointment of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon as the next secretary-general. Japan and India continue to push for permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

Clearly, it is past time for Asia’s growing global importance to be reflected in the world’s governing institutions. But these minor steps will make little difference to the world or to Asia’s role in steering globalisation. By focusing on such trivial, Asia’s governments are missing out on what could be Asia’s opportunity to reshape and improve how the world is run.