The Lowy Institute’s annual index measures geopolitical influence on the continent. The pandemic has weakened all the countries considered. Washington will maintain the lead throughout the decade. Japan in decline. The same is true of Russia, conditioned by the aggression against Ukraine.
Beijing () – The United States remains the leading power in Asia, closely followed by China. Southeast Asian countries on the rise, Japan on the decline and India with strong untapped potential. These are the main results of the Asia Power Index, which the Lowy Institute of Australia has been preparing since 2018 to measure the influence capacity of 26 countries and territories.
The study is based on eight indicators, including economy, military strength and diplomacy. The United States tops the rankings in six areas, standing out broadly in military might and the ability to build and sustain alliances.
Most of the countries studied have weakened in the last year, mainly due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Among them, China is the one that has had the greatest repercussions: the strict confinement health policies in force until the beginning of December weigh heavily, which have resulted in less economic and human exchanges. For Beijing, having less interaction with other countries means weakening its strong point, economic diplomacy.
Right now the data says that in all probability Washington will maintain the lead throughout the decade, and that neither of the two powers will be able to prevail over the other in Asia. The perspective is a long-term competition, a scenario that for various reasons, mainly demographic, could benefit the United States.
The podium of the index is completed by Japan, which nevertheless continues to lose positions in economic and technological terms, reducing its general influence on the continent. In fourth place is India, which, given its resources, has room for significant improvement, with strong economic and military potential that can be harnessed to exert greater influence in Asian countries.
Russia maintains 5th place, greatly weakened by the aggression against Ukraine. They are followed by Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. From a diplomatic point of view, the ASEAN bloc (Association of Southeast Asian Countries) registers a growing importance. It highlights the ability of its members not to be overwhelmed by the US-China power contest, although the pressure on this front will inevitably continue to grow for the foreseeable future.