Asia has a geographical reach and cultural diversity unlike any other continent. It stretches east from Turkey’s Bosporus to the shores of Hawaii and south from the Russian Far East to the southern tip of East Timor, or to Antarctica if we want to take in Australia and New Zealand.
Unlike with Europe, there is no pan-Asian shared value, no predominant religion, no one-fits-all political system. The name ‘Asia’ does not even originate from there. It comes the Greek word Ἀσία, coined by Herodotus, meaning east of the Aegean Sea – in other words, a conglomeration of sea and land that is not Europe.
As Nayan Chanda writes in The Future of East Asia, this is ‘an extraordinarily diverse set of states, communities, and cultures that have interacted for millennia via trade, migration, cultural transmission, religion, as well as harsher means such as military conquest and political subjugation’. […]