The end of the Vasco da Gama era

15 November 2007   |   Lowy Institute Papers   |   By Coral Bell

The new Australian Government will have to navigate some difficult diplomatic waters in a world where power is shifting away from unipolarity and towards an Asia-centric multipolar order. This Lowy Institute Paper by one of Australia's renowned international security scholars, Dr Coral Bell AO, sketches the probable future landscape of the society of states as it emerges from the twilight of US paramountcy. Dr Bell argues that the world is in transition to a multipolar balance of six great powers: the United States, the European Union, China, India, Russia and Japan. She analyses their respective interests and ambitions, and offers some observations on the options for Canberra presented by the end of the 'Vasco da Gama era' of Western ascendancy over Asia.