In a recent contribution to this paper, Straits Times editorial writer Asad Latif poses the fascinating question: Which system is more likely to produce peace? By system, he meant the diplomatic system that the powers-that-be rely on to regulate inter-state relations.
He contrasts two systems, a hierarchical one typified by the Chinese tributary system and its tianxia aspirations (of ruling all under heaven), and a horizontal one per the Westphalian system privileging "the formal equality of sovereign states independent of any external, higher authority".
We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles. But a log-in is still required for our PDFs.