APAC—Top 10 Stories of Decade

By: The Diplomat

The Diplomat looks back over the past decade in the Asia-Pacific and selects the 10 events most critical to the region’s future.

War, terrorism, emerging power powers, natural disasters and blockbuster movies…..the Asia-Pacific created more than its share of headlines over the decade and bolstered the argument that we are living in the Asia-Pacific Century. The Diplomat takes a look back at some of the biggest stories of the past ten years and what they could mean for the decade to come.

1. The Rise of ChinaJanuary 1, 2000 –

image: Dennis Tan

After a miserable century, this was China’s decade. Overcoming viruses, earthquakes and myriad internal tensions, China enjoyed an astonishing economic boom–its GDP more than tripled over the ten years to 2009–and surged into global consciousness as a major power. With its shock-and-awe opening ceremony, the 2008 Beijing Olympics was an appropriate international coming out party. But it was the global financial and economic meltdown that soon followed that underscored China’s new place in the world order.

Conventional wisdom in 2009 is that China is ascendant and on its way to eclipsing a United States in relative decline. We’re sceptical. For one thing, as any Lehman Brothers shareholder will tell you, extrapolating past trends isn’t always a good predictor of future performance. For another, we’ve heard it before: remember the hype surrounding Japan Inc. 20 years ago? China’s economy in 2009 shows signs of the same industrial overcapacity and incipient bad debt that has hobbled Japan for much of the past two decades. And it has troubles all of its own–from corruption through pollution to a clutch of border disputes. Still, China’s growing strength–economic and military–is undeniable, and it’s a safe bet that all eyes will be on how it wields its growing power over the next 10 years. Will Beijing be a responsible member of the international community, or will it throw its weight around, ratcheting tensions up to excruciating levels in flashpoints around the region? And with unpaid workers rioting in late 2008, what happens when China’s growth slows? One sleeper issue: China’s interests in resource-rich Siberia.

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Vlad January 12, 2010

You are jumping the gun. The first decade of this century ends December 31st 2010.

Don January 14, 2010

Ah, but you wouldn’t consider 1990 to be apart of the 80s, would you?
There was no year “0″, yes, so one may be tempted to say that we do have a year until the “00s” are up. However, seeing as a decade can arbitrarily be any stretch of ten years, it ultimately boils down to personal preference (notwithstanding the fact that we haven’t officially entered the 201st decade). So, yes, we haven’t technically made it into the next decade. But, once again, I wouldn’t consider 1990 to be apart of the 80s. And so, as far as I, and possibly most people, care, we have entered the “10s”, and left the “00s.”

Ashley Gavin January 15, 2010

I don’t see how neither the war in Iraq nor 911 made it to this list…

Xilantro January 15, 2010

Vlad is right – what’s the difference, though? Living in the strikingly stupid and un-democratic US, the 99-year century was no surprise, and moving decades up one for the new millenium makes as much sense as having the electoral college install the wrong guy in the presidency because Fox news announced his victory before votes were counted (that would be Bush) or calling the slaughter of 1m Iraqis a ‘war’ – Welcome to idiocracy! ;-)

Joe January 16, 2010

The 9/11 attack is, without a doubt, the most important event of this decade.

Robin January 16, 2010

Ashley/Joe- Actually, I think this story is called APAC: Top 10 Stories of the Decade for a reason. APAC. It is only concerned with the Asia-Pacific region which would exclude both New York and Iraq.

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