Asia-Pacific Security: Policy Challenges

Asia-Pacific Security: Policy Challenges

Asia-Pacific Security: Policy Challenges

Asia-Pacific Security: Policy Challenges

Synopsis

This work examines the developing strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, and clarifies the dilemmas for Australian policy makers as they try to balance genuine engagement with the region against a long-standing and valued alliance with the United States.

Excerpt

This collection began its life in discussions held in Canberra in August 2001 between the School of Politics of the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy (UNSW@ADFA) and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS). the results of that very productive dialogue seem to have struck a chord both among readers of the book, because their demand for it has led to a substantial second printing, and among the contributors themselves. I am pleased to record here that a second set of discussions was held in Shanghai between siis and UNSW@ADFA in May 2004, focused on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region since the ‘war on terror’ began. It is clear that Chinese scholars of international relations have much to add to the general understanding of AsiaPacific security. We need to do more to ensure that their voices are heard.

This book first went to press just before the war against Iraq in 2003 was officially declared. There was enough information available even then to suspect that the advertised reasons for starting such a war were weak, dubious, or dangerous. Those suspicions have now been confirmed. What was perhaps less appreciated before the war was that as a result the United States would be on trial as much as the terrorists it sought to pursue, if not more so. This is not to say that international terrorism is not a major problem. But it highlights a key message of this book: that putting terrorism into its context, not forgetting the abiding security concerns, and responding appropriately, are central to the security challenges of the current period. Foreign-policy professionals, to whom this book is first and foremost addressed, must always keep an eye on the larger—regional, international, conceptual and historical—pictures. I have addressed these matters in an ‘Epilogue’ written especially for this second printing.

This book remains a tribute to the participants in the original discussions of 2001. I was impressed by the good spirit evident in those discussions, and that spirit remains in all my dealings with my colleagues in the siis. the collection does not speak with one voice, but I think that is one of its strengths.

I want to record again my thanks to the original contributors, and those who helped me bring this work to completion. I continue to be grateful to the excellent editorial staff of iseas in Singapore, especially for the opportunity they have now provided to update this work and give it an even wider distribution. As always, any errors that remain are my responsibility.

David W. Lovell

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