Stream Three: Cross-regional comparisons
Undoubtedly, philosophers are in the right when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison.
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726
Moscow State University
Research workshop - Strategic Diplomacy
in Southeast Asia, Singapore, Feb 2017
Strategic Diplomacy Country Report Launch, The Shine Dome,
Canberra, Dec 2023
The particular challenges and emphases of Strategic Diplomacy differ across regional contexts and country perspectives. The project’s ongoing research shows, for example, especially stark differences between EU-Europe and Russia.
Deriving from Jochen Prantl’s engagement with senior Russian academics and policymakers at high-level conferences inside and outside of Russia, one finding is that from a Strategic Diplomacy perspective, the most reliable foundation for a sustainable partnership is to engage Russia within a greater Eurasian security system, and to enfranchise Russia in such a way that it will play a constructive role because it has equal stakes and status. This is still essentially unfinished post-Cold War business.
In contrast, in South America, much regional economic, security, and defence activity has been driven by the need to create policy space for disentanglement from U.S.-led initiatives, and to preserve regional autonomy.
In this context, the positive reception towards extra-regional powers such as China can be understood as Strategic Diplomatic practices to fill policy space in areas where U.S. leadership or global institutions are perceived to be excessively encroaching.
By comparison, contemporary Ethiopian Strategic Diplomacy focuses on reducing dependency on China, which has invested heavily in its critical infrastructure projects.
The project team is building upon those findings to create new opportunities for cross-regional exchange and research with Southeast Asian cases, where diversifying relationships has been the long-term objective in dealing with systemic change.
In 2020, the project team received a multi-year Australian Department of Defence research grant (AUD 212,000) studying the question: how best should Australia and key allies/partners meet their future defence and security needs? The project researched four cases - Japan, UK, Germany, Singapore - to generate new insights for developing Strategic Diplomacy for Australian defence.
The research project identifies three critical enablers to build strategic capacity in the age of polycrisis – strategic imagination; embracing rather than avoiding complexity and uncertainty; investing in resilience and preparedness.
The country reports and the Executive Report are available in the Publications section.
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