Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 20171:30PM - 3:00PMThe Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
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Richard McGregor’s Asia’s Reckoning is a compelling account of the widening geopolitical cracks in a region that has flourished under an American security umbrella for more than half a century. The toxic rivalry between China and Japan, two Asian giants consumed with endless history wars and ruled by entrenched political dynasties, is threatening to upend the peace underwritten by Pax Americana since World War II. Combined with Donald Trump’s disdain for America’s old alliances and China’s own regional ambitions, east Asia is entering a new era of instability and conflict. If the United States laid the postwar foundations for modern Asia, now the anchor of the global economy, Asia’s Reckoning reveals how that structure is falling apart.

With unrivaled access to archives in the United States and Asia, as well as to many of the major players in all three countries, Richard McGregor has written a tale that blends the tectonic shifts in diplomacy with bitter domestic politics and the personalities driving them. It is a story not only of an overstretched America, but also of the rise and fall and rise of the great powers of Asia. The about-turn of Japan—from a colossus seemingly poised for world domination to a nation in inexorable decline in the space of two decades—has few parallels in modern history, as does the rapid rise of China—a country whose military is now larger than those of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and southeast Asia’s combined.

The confrontational course on which China and Japan are set is no simple spat between neighbors: the United States would be involved on the side of Japan in any military conflict between the two countries. The fallout would be an economic tsunami, affecting manufacturing centers, trade routes, and political capitals on every continent. Richard McGregor’s book takes us behind the headlines of his years reporting to show how American power will stand or fall on its ability to hold its ground in Asia.

Richard McGregor is an award-winning journalist and author with unrivalled experience in reporting on the top-level politics and economies of east Asia, primarily China and Japan, and also in Washington on national security issues.He was the Financial Times bureau chief in Beijing and Shanghai between 2000 and 2009, and headed the Washington office for four years from 2011. His book on the Chinese Communist Party published in 2010, ‘The Party’, was called a “masterpiece” by The Economist and won numerous awards in the US and overseas, including the Asia Society in New York award in 2011 for best book on Asia.A new book, on Sino-Japanese relations and the fate of US power in east Asia, tentatively titled “Asia’s Reckoning”, is due out in September, 2017, through Viking Press in the US, Penguin in the UK, and in Chinese and Japanese editions in Asia.He was a fellow at the Wilson Center in 2015 and a visiting scholar at the Sigur Center at George Washington University in 2016. McGregor has lectured widely, in the US and elsewhere, on Chinese politics and Asia.


Martina Mimica
(416) 946-8996


Richard McGregor
Journalist, Writer and Author

Rachel Silvey
Richard Charles Lee Director, Asian Institute Professor, Department of Geography

Louis Pauly
Interim Director, Centre for the Study of Global Japan

Lynette Ong
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Asian Institute

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


Munk School of Global Affairs

Centre for the Study of Global Japan

Centre for the Study of the United States

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