Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)


Interest in the possible impact of the rise of Asia in world affairs has been growing for a number of years. Asia’s emergence has become one of the most important developments in the post-Cold War international system, and it has drawn attention from scholars and practitioners who study the balance of power in international politics, the process of economic growth and competition, and the acceleration of globalization. Although definitions of what constitutes “Asia” differ, there is little disagreement that the epi-center for the rise of Asia sits in eastern and southeastern Asia, with China as the most prominent nation in Asia’s on-going political and economic transformations. Predictions that the 21st century will be the “Asian century” provide food for thought about the implications of Asia’s future role in world affairs. Policy debates and controversies about Asia’s significance now and in the future have many different facets, but they all point to an underlying consensus that, for 21st century international relations, Asia will matter more than the region has ever previously done, and will matter in ways significantly different from how Asia had political importance in earlier historical eras.

This thesis explores one aspect of this larger, vibrant phenomenon of Asia’s rise to global prominence—the potential impact of Asia’s political and economic transformation in world affairs on international law and global governance. This thesis argues that the outlines of an Asian perspective on international law and global governance can be detected through analysis of aspects of the Asian philosophical tradition, the Asian historical experience, and Asia’s contemporary importance. More specifically, this Asian perspective reflects Asia’s historical exploitation at the hands of Western imperialism, insights and values captured by Asian philosophical traditions, especially Confucianism, and the potential impact that the growth in Asian political, economic, and military power may have on international relations. In short, philosophy, politics, and power are the main drivers of an Asian perspective on international law and global governance.