Ever since the cold war ended in the early 1990s, Asia has had a steady rise to economic and political significance. Countries such as India, China, Japan, South Korea and Philippines have all gained much from their association with the Western world and the U.S. Dollar still has not lost its popularity in the region. However, some say that although these nations have long been trading partners of the U.S., it is not entirely their fault. Many say that the unbalanced trade structure of the past decades has caused major imbalances in the international monetary system, leading to various unfortunate events. Still, despite the hardships and political upheavals involved in these shifting relationships, there is no doubting the fact that these emerging nations will continue to be major players on the world stage.
In fact, a recent study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) actually showed that if current trends continue, the three most powerful countries in the world will be the EU, Japan and the US, while the remaining lesser nations will be emerging nations like Vietnam, Indonesia and others. This means that the regional power shift will continue to occur as long as globalization remains the current course. In the past, many economic textbooks have envisioned a future where developing countries would outsource most of their technological advances to Asian nations. While this has not happened yet, the trends are changing dramatically. Instead of relying on the U.S. for technological advancement, Asian nations are fast catching up, especially in information technology.
As globalization continues, there will be an increasing need for open and free societies. The political systems of these nations have always been open to religious and political freedoms. This means that the people living in Asia can freely worship as they wish, and have freedom of assembly and association just like every other person in the rest of the world. While this may seem like a benefit in and of itself, it also presents unique problems, such as political stability. It also means that the security of these countries is constantly in question, and that both their security and prosperity are inextricably linked to the stability of the political system in their country.