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Research Report

Security in the Indo-Pacific Commons: Toward a Regional Strategy

Michael Auslin
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2010
Pages: 32
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 5-10)

    Ensuring security in the Indo-Pacific region will be the primary foreign policy challenge for the United States and liberal democratic nations over the coming generation. Doing so successfully will provide the greatest economic and political opportunities for the next quarter century. Conversely, a failure to maintain stability, support liberal regimes, create cooperative regional relations, and uphold norms and standards of international behavior will lead to a region, and world, of greater uncertainty, insecurity, and instability.

    The Indo-Pacific’s economic strength, military power, and political dynamism will make it the world’s most important region in the coming decades, and its significance will...

  2. (pp. 11-18)

    No security environment is ever static, yet the changes in the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific over the past decade have been dramatic even by historical standards. The questions for policymakers are what those changes portend for regional stability and whether they will have a negative influence on political relations, economic growth, and trade. At the strategic level, security is influenced not merely by military capabilities and the relative balance of power, but also by changes in regional perceptions, political alignments and policies, and the economic strength of important actors. This section will highlight key changes occurring in the...

  3. (pp. 19-27)

    The potential for uncertainty, insecurity, and instability in the Indo-Pacific region has grown over the past decade. Despite continued attempts to forge a pan-Asian community or closer working relationships, distrust and minor conflicts among Indo-Pacific nations have increased, as has domestic instability in countries like Thailand and the Philippines. Overshadowing all that has been the emergence of the Chinese military as a regional force that is increasingly assertive in areas it considers central to Chinese national security. With access to the Indo-Pacific commons remaining of the highest economic and political importance for all nations in the region, as well as...