In popular discussions about the economic rise of Asian nations such as India and China, there is a mistaken assumption that gross domestic product (GDP) translates automatically into geopolitical influence, and that these emerging Asian powers will successfully challenge the global dominance of the West in the not so distant future. In most cases, these discussions confound economic and political power. But there is no necessary relationship between the two. One need not look far for examples. The continued inability of economic powers such as Germany and Japan to play a bigger political role in the international arena is a case in point.
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