Monday, January 24, 2005

Asia and International Law

For public international law types, East Asia is a relatively barren place. There are no regional international tribunals and barely any regional international organizations of any importance. It is interesting to compare East Asia to, say, the Andean Community in Latin America, or the African Union. There is simply no suggestion or hint of any aspirations toward creating such a regional institutional framework among the countries of East Asia despite their cultural ties and relative wealth. There is no E.U. brewing in East Asia.

This is why Francis Fukuyama's latest essay in Foreign Affairs ($) is so interesting. Perhaps oddly for a card-carrying neoconservative, he is calling for the U.S. to, among other things, push for the creation of some sort of multilateral organization for East Asia. Not that this would solve everything and of course this would not be an Asian Union of any sort, but Fukuyama thinks such an organization could usefully deflect coming conflicts over North Korea and Taiwan. Maybe, maybe not, but if Fukuyama's advice is taken, public international lawyers will have a whole new set of institutions to build in the near future.