Globalization and major power rivalry are creating a China-centric integrated Asian strategic system, drawing together the once-discrete theatres of Northeast, Southeast, South and Central Asia. In his new Centre of Gravity Paper ‘Integrated Asia’, Professor Nick Bisley explores this changing strategic geography. He argues China will sit at the heart of a strategic system which will have maritime and continental dimensions but it will not be able to dominate it or replicate US primacy. US influence in Asia will decline in relative terms and its ability to provide order will be constrained. Nationalist ambition among the region’s giants will make integrated Asia an unstable place where cooperation among the great powers will be much harder to achieve than in the past. As such, Australia needs to reorient its strategic policy to reflect a more integrated Asian strategic system, one that is likely to be much less conducive to its interests than the international environment it has enjoyed over the past four decades or so.
Nick Bisley is the Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University. His research and teaching expertise is in Asia’s international relations, the diplomacy of great powers and Australian foreign and defence policy. Nick is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, a director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, a member of the Council for Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and has been a Senior Research Associate of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the East West-Center in Washington DC. Nick is the author of many works on international relations, including Issues in 21st Century World Politics, 3rd Edition (Palgrave, 2017), Great Powers in the Changing International Order (Lynne Rienner, 2012), and Building Asia’s Security (IISS/ Routledge, 2009, Adelphi No. 408). He regularly contributes to and is quoted in national and international media including The Guardian, The Economist, and Time Magazine. Nick writes the Asian Affairs column for The Conversation and also regularly hosts Asia Rising, the podcast of La Trobe Asia which examines the news and events of Asia’s states and societies.
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