Shifting Dynamics - Next Generation Assessments on Asian Security
The 2016 Young Strategists Forum edited volume reflects on the existing security environment, addressing pressing questions and issues facing policymakers in Washington, Tokyo, Brussels, Jakarta, Manila, and elsewhere.
The first paper, “Alliances, Extended Deterrence, and Managing Escalations in East Asia,” examines the complexities of the U.S. nuclear security umbrella and its role in shaping both an ally’s national security posture and assumptions surrounding conflict escalation. Perhaps most notably, the authors analyze Beijing’s perceptions of the U.S. alliance network in the Asia Pacific, the degree to which the United States influences its allies’ behavior, and ultimately the question of whether Washington would willingly risk nuclear war in order to uphold its alliance commitments.
No examination of today’s most pressing security challenges would be complete without an analysis of rising tensions in the South China Sea. The co-authors of the second paper, “The Quest for an Effective Regional Mechanism in the South China Sea,” one hailing from Japan and the other from the Philippines, offer a unique joint perspective and surprisingly optimistic vision for the design of a regional mechanism to mitigate tensions between regional claimant states.
The third paper, “Hedging against Strategic Rift,” addresses the prevailing skepticism concerning Europe’s ability to play an active role in Asian defense and security issues. Given the immediate, monumental challenges within Europe and along its borders, many question whether Europe currently has sufficient political will and resources to assume such a role, particularly since one of the only two European nations with a meaningful defense presence in the region is on its way out of the EU.
The final piece in the collection examines the role of middle powers in conditioning geopolitical dynamics. The author argues for countries such as Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Indonesia to take a more active role in shaping an inevitably new and forthcoming international and regional order.