Why has leadership in the Asia-Pacific proved so elusive?

Mark Beeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Of the many things that distinguish what we now think of as the 'Asia-Pacific', one of the most striking is the absence of effective regional leadership. The fact that there are a number of 'great powers' with potentially competing claims to leadership is one of the principal causes of overall leadership failure. The recent election of Donald Trump looks likely-whether by accident or design-to transform America's traditional relationship with East Asia and its role in the Asia-Pacific, with potentially profound long-term consequences. This paper examines the possible implications of both the rise of China and the advent of the Trump era for regional development in general and leadership in particular. I suggest that the combination of China's reemergence and Trump's more instrumental attitude to international relations presents China with a possibly unique opportunity to reassert itself at the centre of regional, if not world affairs. Whether it has the capacity or the unequivocal desire to do so, however, is another question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-581
Number of pages15
JournalChinese political science review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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