Perceptions of the South Pacific as a peaceful political backwater belie the complex and often intractable security challenges the island nations confront. While mostly marginal to the global economic and political order, these countries are highly susceptible to the changing tide of world events, and the shifting balance of global power. The Commonwealth, a body comprising a significant number of small island countries, encapsulates this security problematic with the notion of vulnerability. This is defined as the consequence of two sets of factors: one being the incidence and intensity of risk and threat, the other being the ability to withstand risks and threats (resistance) and to recover from their consequences (resilience). 1
The end of the Cold War gave way to new definitions of security and to broader notions of what constitutes a security threat. The 1997 report of the Commonwealth Secretariat referred to the “expanding domain of security in the Post–Cold War world”—the need to embrace human, economic, and environmental dimensions, and involve actors other than the state. 2 While adding depth and detail, this development has complicated not only the study of security but also the way in which security may be
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Publication information: Book title: The Unraveling of Island Asia?Governmental, Communal, and Regional Instability. Contributors: Bruce Vaughn - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 61.
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