Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2009

Crisis and Consensus; America and ASEAN in a New Global Context

Donald K. Emmerson

February 2009

Asia-Pacific Research Center


No crisis is uniformly global. The suffering and the opportunity that a “global” crisis entails are always unevenly distributed across countries, and unevenly across the population inside any one country. That said, one can nevertheless argue that we—not the old royal “we” but, more presumptuously, the new global “we”—are in January 2009 experiencing the latest of four dramatic changes that major parts of the world have undergone over the last twenty years. In 1989, of course, the Berlin Wall was breached, ending the Cold War, followed by the implosion of Lenin’s Soviet dystopia two years later. Nor did the 1989 massacre of proreform demonstrators in Tiananmen Square revive a command economy in China. Instead it kept the polity shut so that Deng’s economy could continue to open.