Tilting the East Asian Balance of Power: Japan’s Remilitarisation

Is remilitarisation a bad thing? It may be in an ideal world where power politics do not exist and geopolitical constraints do not shape state behaviour. However, in a world dominated by realist considerations, the argument can go both ways. Essentially, whether militarisation is considered a bad or a good thing depends on the vantage point of the one who asks the question. If Japan were to rearm itself, however, it may be argued from the same vantage point that this would be a good and a bad thing at the same time. Read more ...

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The Strategy of Influence behind China’s Belt and Road Initiative

China has systematically presented its Belt and Road – or One Belt, One Road – Initiative (BRI) as an international development project, destined to build a “community with a shared future for mankind” throughout Eurasia and beyond. In official discussions and statements, Beijing has carefully avoided the word “strategy,” which might have created the impression that the generous offer of massive investments in infrastructure along the new Silk Road conceals in reality an imperial and hegemonic design. Nonetheless, suspicions as to the real motifs of the BRI persist, especially in light of the Chinese military buildup and reforms undertaken in recent years. Read more ...

Not Just a Bridgehead: EU’s (Possible) Vision for Taiwan

From a geoeconomic perspective, Taiwan represents a hot spot that unites the flows of goods and capital from near mainland China, from the South-East Asian cauldron, as well as a bridgehead for Western transoceanic commerce and investment. Not truly an island (in the sense of isolation), but a focal meeting point between two seas and an (open) ocean, Taiwan strategically lies in one of the best positions in opening up the Asian markets to larger influxes of EU-based products and capital. Read more ...

Why Australia doesn’t face sovereign risk in the gas markets

Shortages of gas in the Australian market have led to calls for the government to impose restrictions on gas exports. Energy industry executives have responded by saying that market interventions would create a “sovereign risk”, deterring foreign investors and buyers of Australian gas. But this doesn’t apply to Australia for a number of geographic and geopolitical reasons. Read more ...

The Abe Doctrine’s Future in a Challenging Security Environment

The “Abe Doctrine,” set out in a speech by the Japanese Prime Minister on January 18, 2013, is indeed revolutionary since it revisits Japan’s role in international affairs and means to reassert the country’s position as a regional great power.  Yet, it may set in motion forces inside and outside of the country with considerable geopolitical and economic implications. The challenges that this strategic doctrine faces today are clearly visible in the context of the nuclear proliferation crisis in Asia. Read more ...