Indo-Pacific Strategic Issues and Major Powers Program

Indo-Pacific Strategic Issues and Major Powers Program

The courses within this Program address the major strategic and security issues across the Indo-Pacific, the strategic postures of major powers and their security implications, the role of security alliances as well as actual and potential security partnerships, and the salience of the rules-based order in the context of managing the peace, security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.  

Professional Development Course (PDC) List 

Length

Great Power Competition Across the Indo-Pacific: Implications for Australia and the Regional Order

Since the turn of the millennium, rising economic dependence has enabled Beijing to revise the nature of international relations and the rules-based order across much of the Indo-Pacific – an order that is underpinned by adherence to international treaty-based law. The rapidity of the associated shift in the balance of political and military power was, in part, also enabled by what some perceive to be America’s neglect of the region following its War on Terror and then the 2007-08 the global economic crisis. The results include Beijing’s consolidation of revisionist policies in breach of international law, unchecked coercion against other regional states, and reduced confidence in the United States security umbrella. To this end, the course examines the underlying factors behind the potential erosion of the rules-based order, the undermining of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associated multilateralism, how the foreign policies and strategic relations of key regional middle and major powers are being affected, and the implications for regional stability. Based on these learning outcomes, the course then examines the associated challenges for Australia during the coming decades.   

4 Days

Trends in Military Modernisation: Implications for Policy and Strategy

Military expenditure across the Indo-Pacific is higher than any other region in the world (5.6% in 2017, Military Balance). This trend has been driven by several strategic and economic factors, including the drive for great power status by China and India, the potential normalisation of Japan’s military, the dominance of the U.S. in developing 5th generation military platforms, and the desire of many other countries to obtain enhanced deterrence capabilities. Aside from a detailed analysis of these factors, the course delivers an enhanced understanding of the evolving relationship between the U.S. and its regional allies including the implications of pressure on Japan and the South Korea to be more militarily self-reliant. For this purpose, key shifts in America’s military rebalance are also examined. By day four, the resultant challenges and/or opportunities for Australian defence policy are queried and extrapolated. 

4 Days

Nuclear Proliferation in Asia: Security Challenges and Policy Implications

Since the advent of nuclear weapons, the immense military power it confers and the devastation that it can cause, it has become crucial for policy makers to better understand factors such as political control, governance, and future trends in proliferation. In a regional context, this course examines the interdependences and complexities between nuclear weapons, nuclear deterrence, and the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The course then applies this background knowledge to the threats emerging from the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran together with the risk and threat of the acquisition of WMD by non-state actors (e.g. terrorist organisations) together with the nuclear flash point case studies of NATO-Russia, Korean Peninsula, US-Iran, Kashmir and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

3 Days

Southeast Asia-China Relations at the Cusp of Change

Strategically located and with a long history of economic and people-to-people ties with China, Southeast Asia is expected by many observers to become part of China’s sphere of influence or its strategic backyard. Among the constraints to China’s aspirations to become the pre-eminent power in Asia are disputes between China and several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, ASEAN’s jealous guarding of its centrality and autonomy, and countervailing policies of other major states. Thus, the course examines the historical, cultural, economic, political-diplomatic, and security dynamics of China’s relations with Southeast Asia. It also explores challenges and dilemmas facing selected countries as they seek to balance the economic opportunities and security threats presented by China’s growing capabilities, at a time of profound change and unpredictability in the international environment. It concludes by analysing the foregoing’s implications for Australia and other regional states.
5 Days

Minilateralism and the ‘Quad’: The Potential Trajectory of Security Cooperation between Like-minded States

The resurrection of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue has been the subject significant attention. However, during the past decade, several other tri-lateral arrangements (minilaterals) have emerged which collectively include Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the U.S. What are the challenges and opportunities associated with such cooperation? How efficient and effective are they when considering their potential duplication with broader multilateralism such as the ADMM-Plus, the ARF, and the EAS? What is the potential for such minilaterals to link with each other and form an alternative multilateral basis for cooperation between likeminded states? These questions, together with associated considerations concerning the strategic cultures of the key states, underpin the learning outcomes of the course.  
4 Days

The Shifting Regional Order: Strategic, Political, and Economic Implications for Policy

Some analysts claim that the Rules-Based Order, as we know it, is ‘dead’. This course examines the degree to which such claims are valid and, to the extent that they are, what are the strategic, political, and economic implications for regional policies? For this purpose, the course queries how America had traditionally underpinned and led the regional order and how China’s alternative approaches to trade, politics, regional relations, and security may, to some extent, be replacing this role. The course also delves more deeply into key domestic economic and political fault-lines across the Indo-Pacific and why they feed into Beijing’s rising influence the nature of international affairs that can be expected in the future.
3 Days

Australia’s Strategic Thinking, Foreign Policy Orientation, and Economic Relations

Australia is emerging from a period of significant transition (even instability) in political leadership having had, not so long ago, five Prime Ministers in five years. This course assesses the areas of consistency and change in Australia’s relations across the Indo-Pacific, particularly given that the Liberal-National Coalition has now been in power since 2013 and has completed its first Australian Defence White Paper (2016) and Foreign Policy White Paper (2017). The course examines the two documents and then utilises them as benchmarks to critically assess the likelihood of Australia being able to meet key policy prescriptions together with the risks and threats identified within them. The course also turns to other related policies and declared aspirations in the Indo-Pacific and beyond while also seeking, through interactive activities, to identify potential challenges that have not yet been adequately addressed by Australian policy.  
3 Days

The East and South China Sea Territorial Disputes: Domestic Drivers, Claimant Issues, and Great Power Complications

The course provides each participant with a nuanced understanding of the key areas of convergence and divergence between the East China Sea disputes and the South China Sea disputes. In so doing, participants will acquire a policy relevant understanding of how each dispute informs the respective positions of larger powers including China, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India and Australia. The course then shifts its focus to the underlying considerations behind the key East China Sea and the South China Sea claimant states. In so doing, the course investigates how these factors interrelate with international law, broader regional relations, multilateralism, great power rivalry, and the risk of conflict. These learning outcomes are then reinforced by examining the interplay of domestic dynamics such as the historical relationships between key states, culture and nationalism, and the politics of authoritarianism (e.g. regime legitimacy and survival). By the conclusion, an understanding of potential confidence building measures, preventative diplomacy, and conflict resolution approaches will also be provided. 
4 Days

The South China Sea Dispute: Developments, Challenges, and Policy Implications

This course imparts a comprehensive understanding of the interdependent and complex issues that inform and have inflamed the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The first day examines the historical considerations behind the contending territorial claims and how shifting dynamics concerning fisheries, oil and gas, and freedom of navigation have affected regional hostilities. The second day examines the conundrum between domestic considerations (e.g. nationalism and propaganda) and state responsibilities under international law (e.g. UNCLOS and the July 2016 Arbitral Award). The third day assesses various bilateral and multilateral approaches to conflict prevention and resolution and concludes with an interactive extrapolation of how best to response to the issue in the future. By the conclusion of the course, participants will benefit from a much-enhanced understanding of the respective claimant state positions and, in the process, be challenged to think ‘outside the box’ when tasked with developing their own solutions to such complex problems. 
3 Days

India’s Strategic Thinking: Internal and External Security Challenges, Domestic and Foreign Policy Approaches

This five-day course provides an in-depth understanding of India’s civilizational and historical identity, society, culture and demography; political system and economy; internal and external security challenges; strategic thinking, defence preparedness, nuclear posture and military modernisation; and hard power and soft power diplomacy. The course will examine the factors shaping India's security and foreign policy in its neighbourhood amidst receding U.S. power and a militarily assertive China; the overall challenges that India faces today; and via an interactive learning experience, will assess the implications of India’s Rise (indeed return) for the (a) the regional order and (b) the future of Australia-India relations. 

5 Days

China’s Strategic Thinking

3 Days

Japan’s Strategic Thinking

3 Days

The United States: Trends and Risks in Leadership and Policy for Australia and Asia

3 Days

Great Powers’ Quest for Energy Security: The Case Studies of the US, China, India, and Russia

 

See also the ‘East Asia and ASEAN Program