Reader Mail

Asia indeed needs a megaphone, as long as it remains independent

Regarding Brad Glosserman’s May 13 opinion piece “Asia needs a megaphone,” I have often criticized Glosserman’s views as being slanted by and towards the political interests of the U.S. and the West. But in this case, I would like to support his proposal of a novel and needed addition to discourse on Asian international affairs.

Of course the devil would be in the details — like creating a truly independent editorial board and soliciting courageous cutting edge pieces from the Asian intelligentsia. Such pieces exist, but often not in English — and not in a style that Western thinkers may consider appropriate or sufficiently “academic.” So there would be a need for excellent translators and copy editors to present them to the world in English. Significant honoraria for articles may be necessary. More fundamentally, such a publication could only survive and succeed if the funder is wealthy, like-minded, far-sighted and in it for the long term.

Nevertheless, if such conditions are met, such a publication could indeed become a “rallying point” as well as a stimulus and testing ground for perspectives and ideas from Asians in Asia about Asian affairs. I agree with Glosserman that it is time for the “hegemony of Western thinking (regarding) power, process and order” to be challenged. Such insights could help the West better understand Asian thinking and aspirations instead of trying to interpret them across cultures.

Mark J. Valencia
National Institute for South China Sea Studies
Haikou, China

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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