Long regarded as a region of unbounded promise and rising prosperity, Asia has been sometimes the lone bright spot on a global balance sheet that featured turmoil in the Middle East, torpor in Europe and tilting at windmills in the US. There have been Asian uncertainties and occasional tensions, historic and regional rivalries, but these have been largely muted, generally, for well over a generation as investment, innovation and manufacturing on the continent shifted into overdrive.
However, this year interested observers and key players collectively confront a much more worrisome set of indicators across a diverse Asian scene. Tensions are up, uncertainties outweigh stabilising constants, and suddenly ominous and dark clouds hover on the Asian horizon. The signs of trouble that are stirring anxieties in boardrooms and senior political councils are no longer confined to any one sector or a single country. Many of the challenges are interconnected and even where they are not, there are worries of spillover and contagion. Continue reading »