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  • Author: Brendan Taylor
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Australian diplomacy could ease rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait, if Australian policymakers rediscovered an appetite for involvement in the flashpoint. Tensions between Taiwan and China are rising, driven in part by an increasingly assertive government in Beijing, growing Taiwanese estrangement from the Chinese mainland, and deteriorating US–China relations. If key regional governments fail to help de-escalate tensions, the consequences are likely to be serious. Rather than continue the debate about Australia’s position on its ANZUS obligations should the United States invoke the treaty in a Taiwan conflict, Australia should work with other regional powers to advocate for more robust risk avoidance and crisis management mechanisms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Multilateralism, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Australia, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the second in the Senior Study Group (SSG) series of USIP reports examining China’s influence on conflicts around the world. A group of fifteen experts met from September to December 2018 to assess China’s interests and influence in bringing about a durable settlement of the North Korean nuclear crisis. This report provides recommendations for the United States to assume a more effective role in shaping the future of North Korea in light of China’s role and interests. Unless otherwise sourced, all observations and conclusions are those of SSG members.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Conflict, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Kanwal Hayat, Rehana Saeed Hashmi
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: China claims South China Sea as its sovereign domain where it possesses the right to intervene militarily and economically. However, USA considers South China Sea as a common global passage where rule of law and freedom of navigation should prevail.These diverging viewpoints coexist in a wobbly peace environment where both US and China want their own version of international law to be applied and have occasionally resorted to minor armed conflicts over this issue. Every state claiming authority over South China Sea is willing to use coercion in order to get what they want, however, the extent of how far they are willing to go is not clear. This is resulting in a show of gunboat diplomacy involving maritime force of influential states that strives to manipulate the policy makers of the relevant nations (Costlow, 2012). The paper will focus on the situation in the South China Sea. South China Sea is not only claimed by China but various other Asian nations. Does this territorial strife possess the power to turn the region into a war zone? Being one of the most active trade routes in the world having complicated geography and the diverging regional and international interests makes it very sensitive area. China being the emerging economic giant gives competition to the USA in many spheres. Although America has no territorial claim in the South China Sea, it has strategic and economic interests. Where China wants a complete hegemonic control of the area, USA wants to find a way where free unchecked trade could be the future for all.Accompanied with numerous other South Asian nations claiming various portions of the region, a constant tension exists in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereignty, Territorial Disputes, Hegemony, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, Oceans
  • Author: Euan Graham, Chengxin Pan, Ian Hall, Rikki Kersten, Benjamin Zala, Sarah Percy
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian National University Department of International Relations
  • Abstract: In this Centre of Gravity paper, six of Australia’s leading scholars and policy experts debate Australian participation in the ‘Australia-India-Japan-United States consultations on the Indo-Pacific’ - known universally as the ‘Quad’. A decade since its first iteration, the revival of the Quad presents significant questions for Australia and the regional order. Is the Quad a constructive partnership of the region’s major powers to safeguard regional stability, uphold the rules-based order and promote security cooperation? Is it a concert of democracies seeking to contain China? Or is it an emerging strategic alignment that risks precipitating the very confrontation with China it seeks to avoid? Or is it something else entirely? Euan Graham opens the debate by arguing that the Quad represents a rare second chance for Australia to cooperate with regional powers who have a shared interest is the maintenance of stability in Asia through the preservation of a balance of power. In addition to constraining China’s strategic choices beyond its maritime periphery, Dr. Graham argues that the Quad’s revival aims to send a concerted strategic signal to China along the four compass points of the Indo-Pacific region, but sufficiently restrained to avoid significant blowback from Beijing. Chengxin Pan responds that instead of forcing China to change tack, the Quad, by exacerbating China’s strategic vulnerability, will achieve precisely the opposite: prompting it to further strengthen its military capabilities. Dr. Pan argues that the nature of China’s challenge to the existing regional order is actually geoeconomic in design, as evidenced by the Belt and Road Initiative. To meet this challenge, however, the Quad’s military response is far from the right answer or an effective alternative. Ian Hall next argues that the Quad is neither a proto-alliance nor an instrument for containing China. Given that these states have so far failed to advance a coherent and coordinated line on Chinese initiatives to transform the region, Dr. Hall notes that the Quad offers something more prosaic and evolutionary: a forum for discussion and information exchange intended to lead to better policy coordination between like-minded states with a stake in the rules-based order. Rikki Kersten notes that the Japanese government wants Quad 2.0 to be seen as a Japanese initiative because it aspires to lead an ethical endeavour that reaches beyond the Asia-Pacific region. This represents a stepchange in post-war Japanese foreign and security policy thinking. Japan under Abe is seeking to harness rising insecurity to underpin its own regional leadership credentials and enhance the geographical scope of its security policy ambition. Benjamin Zala responds that the potential risks associated with sending containment-like signals to Beijing in the short-term and the potential for misperceptions over ambiguous commitments during a future crisis in the longer-term clearly outweigh the benefits of the current vague aspiration to cooperation with no clear purpose. Dr. Zala also warns against blurring the lines between formal military alliances and strategic partnerships like the Quad which increase the odds of miscalculation during times of power transition. Finally, Sarah Percy rounds out the debate by arguing that discussions of the Quad’s high politics have thus far obscured the more practical and interesting questions about how it might function and contribute to maritime security. Dr. Percy notes that that the day-to-day operations of most navies are focused on the more proximate security challenges posed by maritime crime. The Quad would yield tangible and possibly lasting benefits from such cooperation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Military Affairs, Maritime
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, India, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Euan Graham
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The Trump–Kim summit is a distinct new phase in the dramatic cycle that defines the North Korea nuclear issue and the peninsula’s highly theatrical brand of geopolitics. Now that North Korea has finally reached the threshold of a nuclear missile capability to directly threaten the US mainland, its scripted brand of hyperbole and brinksmanship is encountering a different sort of melodrama: the political theatre of Donald Trump. The North Korean nuclear issue cannot be understood without an appreciation of the fundamental tension within inter-Korean relations. There is no precedent for a minor, revisionist power developing an asymmetrical nuclear deterrence relationship with the United States. The result is unlikely to be stable.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Weapons , Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rafia Bhulai, Christina Nemr
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: As policymakers and practitioners in Southeast Asia increasingly recognize the importance of investing in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) measures, it is critical to integrate a gender analysis when developing related national action plans, strategies, and programs. This policy brief examines examines key challenges, gaps, and needs of national and regional stakeholders and concludes with recommendations for these actors to consider in advancing gender sensitive P/CVE policy and practice in the region. The brief draws on desk research and extensive consultations with a range of civil society actors, experts, policymakers, and practitioners from the region, including a regional workshop and gender-sensitive P/CVE projects undertaken by local civil society organizations, supported by the Global Center and the government of the Netherlands.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Gender Issues, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Women
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Asia, Philippines, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Carl Ungerer, Katy Dr. Oh Hassig
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Asia and Europe share a border, but not much else. Although the Mongols invaded Eastern Europe, and Marco Polo made it to China, a common assumption among policy makers and academics alike has been that the security challenges and perspectives between these contiguous continents have had little in common, and less to learn from each other. Past efforts to build academic and policy bridges have been nascent at best. But today’s threats to global and regional security have no problem crossing international borders. From the rise of violent extremism to the threat of pandemic diseases and cyber criminals, solutions to security problems will overwhelm any national, or indeed regional, effort to ‘go it alone’. Increasingly, as transnational threats become simultaneously local and global, the challenge for countries across both Asia and Europe is to find points of common interest and opportunities for genuine security cooperation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Security, Violent Extremism, ISIL
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US extended deterrent in Northeast Asia is strong. US alliances with Japan and South Korea are each arguably in the best shape in years, with alliance modernization efforts proceeding in tandem with domestic adjustments to security policy that strengthen the foundation for cooperative action. Policy toward North Korea, historically a wedge between Washington and allied governments in the region, is largely aligned, and serving as a glue rather than a source of discord. This otherwise sunny outlook is darkened by the difficulties in the Seoul-Tokyo relationship. The (from a US perspective) obvious convergence of interests among the three governments is overshadowed by a lengthy and depressingly well-rehearsed list of problems. The second US-ROK-Japan Trilateral Extended Deterrence Dialogue, hosted by Pacific Forum CSIS and the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, with indirect support from the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), explored ways to overcome those obstacles to enhanced cooperation. In an attempt to push the envelope, the 43 senior participants from the three countries joined 17 Pacific Forum Young Leaders (all attending in their private capacities) in discussions and a tabletop exercise that was designed to explore reactions to a nuclear contingency on the Korean Peninsula. The results were sobering and underscored the need for increased coordination and planning among the three governments to prepare for such a crisis in Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The situation in Rakhine State contains a toxic mixture of historical centre-periphery tensions, serious intercommunal and inter-religious conflict with minority Muslim communities, and extreme poverty and under-development. This led to major violence in 2012 and further sporadic outbreaks since then. The political temperature is high, and likely to increase as Myanmar moves closer to national elections at the end of 2015. It represents a significant threat to the overall success of the transition, and has severely damaged the reputation of the government when it most needs international support and investment. Any policy approach must start from the recognition that there will be no easy fixes or quick solutions. The problems faced by Rakhine State are rooted in decades of armed violence, authoritarian rule and state-society conflict. This crisis has affected the whole of the state and all communities within it. It requires a sustained and multi-pronged response, as well as critical humanitarian and protection interventions in the interim.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Post Colonialism, Religion, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Kristi Raik, Juha Jokela, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has responded to the Ukraine crisis with a set of political and economic sanctions against Russia which constitute a qualitatively new step in the EU sanctions policy. The EU sanctions against Russia are exceptional and have strategic importance due to a combination of three factors: big power rivalry, the context of a major European crisis with global ramifications, and the costs of the sanctions for the EU itself. The EU has managed to maintain its fragile unity and has applied its collective diplomatic and economic weight in very difficult circumstances. The sanctions have not provided an alternative to diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis - on the contrary, hardening sanctions have been used as a way to put pressure on Russia to seriously engage in diplomacy. The impact of the sanctions on daily developments in Ukraine has been limited and uncertain, but the sanctions have imposed a long-term cost on Russia for violating key international norms. The policy process of Russia sanctions has exposed problems of leadership and coordination. The latest reform of the EU foreign policy machinery has streamlined the preparation of sanctions, but the current system still lacks the necessary resources to match the growing importance of the EU sanctions policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia