Which SCT scenarios are possible and which are not in Asia? Given the level of development of the region, the unstructured scenario is ruled out for all parts of it. Overlay is also ruled out other than existing US commitments in Japan and South Korea. No outside state, not even the USA, now has the capacity to overlay the region, and no state within the region has the capacity to establish suzerainty over it. China would be the only possible candidate for that role and, whatever traditional inclinations to seek regional suzerainty might still live within its political instincts, it lacks both the coercive capability and the civilisational attractiveness that it once possessed. As Van Ness (2002: 143) notes, China has no real soft power resources, and its communist government is now mostly a liability in terms of international image and attractiveness. Like Europe before it, Asia now has too many substantial powers within it to allow any one of them to take over the whole, and it has collectively become too big a centre of power for any one country to dominate it without that domination having major repercussions at the global level. Asia's future is thus as some form of RSC, which leads to questions about its shape, and about its essential structure in terms of polarity and amity–enmity.
Asia has already seen one internal transformation (Southeast Asia) and one external one (the merger of the Northeast and Southeast Asian complexes). A second internal transformation looks close in South Asia, as it moves from bipolarity to unipolarity. There are no conspicuous interregional dynamics suggesting that external transformations between Asia and either the Middle East or Russia/CIS look at all likely. What remains a distinct, though uncertain, possibility is that the interregional dynamics linking South and East Asia will strengthen, transforming the supercomplex into a fully fledged Asian RSC (more on this below).