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Stream One: Asian case files

You cannot destroy a land that is well guarded. 
Javanese proverb

Strategic Diplomacy in Northeast Asia 1.

Research Workshop on Strategic Diplomacy in Northeast Asia - Korea, May 2016

Professor Evelyn Goh on

"The Asia-Pacific's 'Age of Uncertainty'"

2023 Southeast Asia Regional Geopolitical Update - Welcome and Keynote

Between 2015 and 2017, in collaboration with regional scholars and policy makers, and involving other Bell School scholars, the project team created two research-based case files of Strategic Diplomacy.


The Northeast Asia Case File developed and tested the Strategic Diplomacy ‘diagnostic tool’ on some of the world’s most complex contemporary security issues, including the Korean peninsula conflicts and the China-Japan-Korea ‘history problems’.


The Southeast Asia Case File developed and tested the Strategic Diplomacy ‘policy tool’ – with input from some of the world’s most accomplished policy practitioners based in Singapore – across interdependent security, institutional, and economic issue areas.


The project’s resource database also includes a bank of special video recordings of interviews with leading international practitioners experienced in strategic diplomatic practices across a range of cases. The project team uses these resources for research, teaching and training.

In 2020, Evelyn Goh published an important working paper on "The Asia-Pacific's 'Age of Uncertainty'". On the one hand, a power transition seems to be upon us: China has risen, the United States’ resolve and commitment are uncertain, and other regional powers with different political systems are also resurgent. On the other hand, unprecedented globalised inter-dependence creates connectivity and vulnerability in equal measure. Alongside these trends, the onset of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” promises rapid and unpredictable technological change that could revolutionise defence, economic, and social organisations and relations. 


Amid these rapid and seemingly chaotic shifts, the inter-connections between economics and security not only become more complex, but also more urgent and significant. The paper distills the most important elements of our age of uncertainty. It sketches three ways in which the economic-security nexus needs to be understood and managed in the Asia Pacific if we are to weather the ongoing transition. The full paper is available here.

In this context, Southeast Asia’s geographical, historical, and socio-political condition as a crossroads for trans-regional flows of people, goods, beliefs and practices requires unpacking. It is the thoroughfare where much of the ongoing geopolitical competition and rivalry unfolds. Four inter-linked sets of questions warrant attention:

  1. Can Southeast Asian states continue to avoid invidious choices between the great powers? What does ‘strategic equilibrium’ look like for Southeast Asians?

  2. How will Southeast Asian political economies ensure the security of critical supply chains and technology, and the sustainability of development imperatives?

  3. What are the best ways of securing sea lines of communication and vital land routes given strategic uncertainties?

  4. How can the region update and innovate mechanisms for guarding against intramural disputes as well as external tensions and armed conflicts?

Those questions were thoroughly addressed at the 2023 Regional Geopolitical Update of the ANU Southeast Institute, which Evelyn Goh directs. The one-stop information page can be accessed here.

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