Asian Values

Power and values: A Rohingya survivor of genocide in Myanmar pleads for food, and Hungary’s rightwing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán finds common cause with China’s Premier Li Keqiang

Countries that join together through multilateral organizations, whether the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or the United Nations, must determine the values required for pursuit of common goals. Yet there is stark contrast between Asian and western values – with Asia generally focused on order and the collective interest and the West traditionally emphasizing democracy and individual rights. Asia’s many governments – caught between two rivals, China and the United States – could have some influence over which ideals prevail for the continent: “if Asia cannot define its values more clearly, it risks a replay of the Cold War, where it suffered in confrontation between superpowers with deeply opposing ideologies,” explains journalist and author Humphrey Hawksley. A charter on Asian values could provide guidance on a rising China, prevent polarization and reduce hypocrisy of democratic nations failing to respect human rights. A united and thoughtful voice would strengthen Asia. Hawksley urges the continent’s leaders to forge a path in articulating values that contribute to reducing tensions and increasing prosperity. – YaleGlobal