The first aspect which proves to be surprising is the culture of Asian countries, which differs significantly from that in Europe or the US and has influenced the development of economies. Many Asian countries have shown a significant level of growth over the past decades while they were not adhering to the liberal model of governing. Secondly, Smith provides a great overview of the relationship between two powerful Asian states – China and Japan. The surprising aspect is a possible improvement of the relationship between the two displayed by an exchange of goodwill. However, historically, China and Japan have had many disputes over national differences, territory, Taiwan’s status, China’s military power, and Japan’s alliance with the US. The broad perspective on the issues that remain unresolved would suggest that the countries would continue their rivalry. Smith states that it is crucial for the two to have a good relationship because it influences entire Asia.
Another surprising aspect is possible peace between the other two critical countries in Asia – India, and Pakistan. Historically, India and Pakistan have been feuding over the territory of Kashmir, with both sides accusing each other of ceasefire violations. Aggarwal states that the war between India and Pakistan began in 1947. The distinct feature of the conflict is that both countries possess nuclear weapons, which have not been used. The author argues that back-channel diplomacy carried out by newly elected governments could serve as a resolution to the problem. Considering the long history of the issue, it is surprising that the two countries can find a solution. Additionally, historically, Pakistan used to be part of India’s territory, which means that the existence of the country is a threat to India’s unity. Another surprising aspect is that both India and Pakistan suffer from similar problems such as overpopulation and poverty. Despite this, they were able to continue the military conflict for years. Therefore, signs of possible resolutions to both China-Japan and India-Pakistan problems and the region’s economic growth can result in Asia’s position becoming even stronger in interstate relationships.