Alternative Centres of Power Notes Class 12 CBSE

After the end of bipolar structure of World Politics in the early 1990s, it became clear that alternative centres of  political and economic power could limit dominance of America. Thus, in Europe, the European Union (EU) and in Asia, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) emerged. The rise of Chinese economy also have dramatic impact on world politics.

European Union

(i) After the end of the Second World War, there was a dilemma among many European leaders over the status of Europe. The Second World War shattered the structure on which the European states had based their relations.

(ii) The Cold War aided the integration of Europe after 1945. The European economy was revived by the extensive financial support by USA under the ‘Marshall Plan’.

(iii) The Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OECC) was established in 1948 to channel aid to the West European states. Another step forward in political cooperation was the establishment of the council of Europe in 1949.

(iv) The disintegration of USSR led to the formation of European Union in 1992 which laid the foundation for a common foreign and security policy, cooperation on justice and creation of a single currency.

(v) The European Union has evolved over time from an economic union to an increasingly political one.

(vi) The European Union has economic , political, diplomatic and military influence.

(vii) Economically, the European Union is the world’s biggest economy. It had a GDP of more than $12 trillion in 2005. Its currency Euro, can pose a threat to the dominance of the US dollar.

(viii) On the political and diplomatic ground, Britain and France, the two members of EU are permanent members of the UN Security Council.

(ix) In the defence field, the European Union’s combined armed forces are the second largest in the world.

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

(i) Before and during the Second World War, the South East Asia suffered a lot from repeated colonialism i.e. both European and Japanese.

(ii) There were problems of nation-building, ravages of poverty and economic backwardness and a pressure to align with any of the two super blocs.

(iii) The South East Asian Countries established the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967 as an alternative to Bandung conference and the Non-Aligned Movement.

(iv) On the ASEAN logo, the ten stalks of paddy (Rice) represent the ten South East Asian countries bound together in friendship and solidarity. The circle symbolises the unity of ASEAN.

(v) There were five founding countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

(vi) The objectives of ASEAN was to accelerate economic growth, social progress, promote regional peace, stability and cultural development.

(vii) The members of the association promoted ASEAN way, a form of interaction that is informal, non-confrontationist and cooperative.

(viii) In 2003, an ASEAN community was established comprising three pillars, namely , the ASEAN security community, the ASEAN economic community and the ASEAN socio-cultural community.

(ix) The member states promised to uphold peace, neutrality, cooperation, non-interference and respect for national differences and sovereign rights.

(x) The ASEAN economic community aims for a common market and to aid social and economic development in the region.

(xi) ASEAN has a vision 2020 which has defined an outward looking role for ASEAN in the international community.

Rise of the Chinese Economy

(i) China has been growing as an economic power since 1978. It is projected to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2040.

(ii) In 1949, the economy of the China was based on the Soviet model. It now relied on its own resources.

(iii) During the 1970s, China established relations with the US ending its political and economic isolation.

(iv) An ‘Open Door Policy’ was announced by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, which aimed at generating high productivity by investments in capital and technology from abroad.

(v) Special economic zones were set up. State had a centralised role in setting up of China’s economy.

(vi) Still the Chinese economy did not benefit everyone in China. The rate of unemployment has risen, working conditions and female employment is bad.

(vii) However, regionally and globally, China has been in limelight economic power.

India-China Relations

(i) India and China had a cordial relations since time immemorial. Both have political, economic and cultural relations.

(ii) After India gained independence, both the countries shared a peaceful relation. During this period the slogan of ‘Hindi-Chini-Bhai Bhai’ was popular.

(iii) Very soon both the countries involved in border dispute. The difference aroused from the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1950.

(iv) India suffered military reverses in the conflict of 1962. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were downgraded until 1976.

(v) It was during the visit paid by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in 1988 December, the relation between the two countries started improving.