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Strategic contours: The rise of Asia and Australian strategic policy

By Rod Lyon

This report, authored by Rod Lyon, is a new assessment of the rise of Asia and its impact on Australian strategic policy. It provides an in-depth strategic assessment of a region where the dominant strategic condition is neither cooperation nor competition, but a strange blend of both—‘coopetition’.  But within that coopetitive Asia-Pacific, the existing contours of reassurance and deterrence are starting to fray. That’s bad news because those contours constitute the principal structures of the existing regional security order. 

So far, the Australian public debate about Asia’s rise has been characterised by the extremes: the goal of an Asia-Pacific community or the fear of a war against a hostile Asian great power.  This report argues that we need to bring some moderation back to that debate: neither an Asia of concerts or communities, nor a war-prone Asia, is especially likely.  We should initially spend our resources on more modest objectives: an Asia that’s more cooperative, but not a community, or an Asia that’s more competitive but not war-prone.