April 13, 2011: William T. Tow

Regional Order-Building in the Asia-Pacific: An Australian Perspective

(Click to enlarge) From left to right: Dr. Satu Limaye, director of the East-West Center in Washington, and Professor William T. Tow discuss the many scenarios for regional order-building in the Asia-Pacific.

WASHINGTON, DC (April 22, 2011) -- Recent events in Japan have understandably focused international attention on the importance 'non-traditional security' contingencies and planning in the Asian region. However, over the longer-term, peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific will be shaped primarily by the success of the  great powers and other countries in that part of the world in identifying and negotiating mutually acceptable frameworks for regional security. In addition to identifying some regional challenges which might emerge in the near future, Professor Tow also provided an assessment of the different approaches to order-building. Different scenarios include: the continued primacy of the United States in Asia, a new bipolarity between China and the United States, an emerging concert of regional great powers, and security community-building. The speaker argued, however, that none of these approaches have yet generated sufficient consensus to overcome traditional state-centric rivalries.

Instead of individual Asian countries attempting to claim a leadership role by proposing regional architectures, take for example former Australian Prime Minister Rudd’s idea for creating an Asia-Pacific Community, Professor Tow suggested that they cooperate with other regional players and formulate a common approach to order-building over the longer term, which takes into account both hard and soft power factors.

This event was co-hosted with The Australian National University.

William T. Tow is a professor in the department of international relations at The Australian National University. Professor Tow’s research interests include alliance politics, US security policy in the Asia-Pacific, security politics in the Asia-Pacific, and Australian security policies. He has written widely, and his key publications include Security Politics in the Asia-Pacific: A Regional–Global Nexus? (Editor, Cambridge University Press, 2009), ASEAN–India–Australia: Towards Closer Engagement in a New Asia (Co-editor, ISEAS, 2009), and Tangled Webs: Security Architectures in Asia (Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2008). He has also published in journals such as Asian Security , The China Journal , The Pacific Review , The Review of International Studies , and Contemporary Southeast Asia. ###