As global economic and strategic weight shifts to Asia, countries in the region are considering how to protect themselves better in the uncertain strategic landscape of the twenty-first century. Alliances with the United States remain pivotal, but China is an ever more dominant presence. Faced with this, and with growing transnational threats such as terrorism, energy insecurity and infectious diseases, Asian governments are increasingly interested in multilateral security cooperation.
New multilateral bodies focused solely on security have been formed, dialogue forums bring together the regional defence community, and even economics-focused organisations are now addressing the issue. There is no Asian equivalent to NATO, but both the Australian and Japanese prime ministers have called for a formal community that could include security agreements.
Yet Asia today is far from possessing a well-planned security ‘architecture’. This book examines the region’s unique security arrangements, and looks at how national rivalries, mutual mistrust and institutional failings frustrate the widespread desire for closer ties. It analyses the complex array of often overlapping security mechanisms and identifies their most successful features. While concluding that a monolithic Asian security structure is unlikely to emerge in the near future, it offers suggestions for developing a more effective system.
'Comprehensive, thoughtful and timely, this is a ‘must-read’ book for anyone seeking to appreciate Asia’s evolving multilateral security architectures.'
Professor Jia Qinguo, Peking University