2019 Asia Power Index released

Global power shifting to Asia . . .

The Lowy Institute based in Sydney, Australia has released the second iteration of its Asia Power Index, confirming that both global wealth and power are shifting towards the Asia Pacific region. Lowy’s findings show that the United States still claims the top spot among Pacific nations, but China is closing the gap in several areas. Japan rounded out the top three Asia powers, and was singled out as the “leader of the liberal order in Asia.”

Oh Canada, where art thou?

Although the Index assesses the power of 25 countries and territories, Canada is notably absent from the rankings. The Index covers countries as far west as Pakistan, as far north as Russia, and as far south as Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. was the only country in the eastern Pacific to make the list. Given their influence over regional security, both the U.S. and Russia are logical choices. But Canada has a large and growing Asian diaspora, a key factor in the Index’s “cultural influence” indicator. For this, and many other reasons, we believe Canada should not be disregarded as an important strategic player in the Asia Pacific.

Asia’s middle powers rise . . .

The Index is a useful guide for Canada’s regional strategic orientation, as it identifies strengths of not only the most powerful regional players, but also of a diverse set of other middle powers, such as Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. All of these countries rose in the rankings this year, and all, like Canada, are part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).