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(October 5, 2021) Asean can live with Quad and Aukus

The current strategic situation is not quite the same as Asean faced in its early days, but there are several similar characteristics. The rivalry between the two then superpowers -- the US and the former Soviet Union -- was visible and rising incrementally and would soon reach its peak. Fuelling the enmity was their ideological differences -- free world versus orthodox communism. Today, the fight is about technological supremacy and governance.

Another feature was the grouping of friends and allies. Not much has changed today in terms of the divide we last witnessed seven decades ago. The West is still the West and the East is still the East. The US continues to be the dominant power without any challengers in the West. Europe, under the banner of the European Union (EU), has spent the seven decades since World War II ensuring that there will be no more wars between them and that "One Europe" including unified Germany can live in peace and prosper together. Their unity and ability to retain power was not in question until Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016.