10th Asian Security Conference

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  • Rapporteur Report on Session II: Asian Strategic Context: Perspectives

    February 5, 2008
    Prepared by Nivedita Das Kundu & Monalisa Joshi

      Yevgeniy Kozhokin (Russia)
    • Secure the stable supply of oil from Middle East.
    • Climate change is a serious problem that needs to be looked into.
    • Serious problems in many Muslim countries.
    • When we speak of terror, there is a need to speak about the psychology of terror.
    • There is no chance for Europe to grow further.
    • Iran is a very progressive country. When we talk about Iran we also need to talk about Japan. Japan has got more potential than Iran to produce nuclear weapons.
    • There are many regional organizations that are coming up like Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO).
    • SCO is looking mainly into economic and ecological issues.
    • Military aspect of SCO is mainly to fight terrorism
    • We are all Asians and living in multicultural societies.
    • Gudrun Wacker (Germany)

    • European Union (EU) will remain a dinosaur
    • EU agenda on Asia still dominated by economic issues rather than strategic issues.
    • In practical terms EU was not engaged in India since 1990 as its focus during that time was mainly on East Asian countries.
    • Europeans have realised now that issues like climate change and other global issues cannot be tackled without the support of India and China.
    • Re-thinking on Asia is coming up.
    • EU is divided over certain issues but Europeans will support further European integration.
    • Charles Kupchan (United States of America)

    • This is a watershed moment in US politics.
    • US is undergoing a dramatic political transition which is going to affect its foreign and domestic policy.
    • The erosion of the bipartisan centre (that took place during President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration) has coincided with the Bush administration
    • Bush has left the country deeply divided. Both the US House and Senate have been deeply polarised. Such polarisation is rare. There is an absence of a moderate group.
    • Under the Bush administration deliberations on Grand Strategy have remained limited to the Democratic party. The implication of this is that US is headed towards an erratic and inconsistent foreign policy.
    • US will probably enter a retrenchment process and in future will rely heavily on allies and friendly states to share its burdens.
    • US will be more pragmatic and less institutional in future.
    • Moving away from empty ideological babbling, US will now seek a coalition of the willing, regardless of the regime type
    • James Cotton (Australia)

    • Australian Grand Strategy has three components: alliance with US; contribution to global institutions; practicing a particular form of regional integration.
    • Domestic debates emphasise all the above issues.
    • No serious debate about sending troops to Iraq took place in Australia.
    • After the Iraq debacle most people believe that Australians are at a bigger risk because of terrorism.
    • Primarily because of contingent, historical reasons there has been confluence of ideological points of view between Australia and US.
    • While criticising the lack of multilateral institutional approach in Australia’s foreign policy, the author points out that this indicates the country’s contempt for international law.
    • In future, Australia needs to strengthen its multilateral diplomacy.
    • Co-operation with China is crucial, as Australia gives emphasis to this bilateral relationship.
    • Robert Ayson (Discussant)

    • The change in international politics has left many issues unanswered.
    • These new developments will give different meanings, contingent on the vantage point.
    • For Russia, the US position as in the case with Iraq is good news.
    • It means that US has retreated and also that Russia can now exercise its own role in the affair.
    • The way forward for the world could be in evolving a concert of states.
    • Another issue to understand is the movement of the foreign policy of states, is it in continuum or a retreat?
    • Old patterns of foreign policy are coming back.
    • As regards options for India, they lie in its pre-eminence as the prime power of Asia.
    • Mutthiah Alagappa (Discussant)

    • There are five key issues of the Asian strategic context.
    • The definition of Asia.
    • How Asia views the US and its policy in the region.
    • How other countries react to the rise of China.
    • The issue of growing economic interdependence.
    • The development of regional institutionalism.
    • Anita Inder Singh

    • Why EU does not engage India actively?
    • Why when Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy came to India they get more focus than any other EU leaders visiting India?
    • EU’s economy may be very large but we do not see it that way; rather it is still the US which gets all the attention.
    • Q & A

    • After the Presidential election this year, Russian policy towards Asia will not change.
    • EU policy in Asia underpinned by economic interests and trade relations.
    • The driving force of EU integration were the two world wars.
    • The first EU agreement was for coal and steel and prevented strategic competition.
    • Asia still has all the traditional security concerns, problems about borders, etc.
    • EU is more than economic integration, but it only exerts soft power.
    • The biggest stabiliser in the neighbourhood around EU is EU itself.
    • Scholars live in a globalised world and apply analytical models based on the notions of nation state, which cannot hold true for EU.
    • For EU, China is a threat in economic terms and a cultural threat in terms of forceing EU to define its values.
    • Co-operation among states should be based on shared interests rather than values.
    • US will not play the same role in the future that it is playing now.
    • Political change in US is going to impede the smart deployment of power resources.
    • In future non-democratic countries are going to be more savvy and shrewd in their dealings.
    • There is rising resistance to American power from countries in the Persian Gulf, Russia and India.
    • China is a country that has benefited most from events after 9/11.
    • The potential focus of US, which was containing China, has now turned to Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.
    • The most important indicator of willing coalitions should not be the regime type, but state behaviour, how a state pursues its foreign policy.
    • China is a supporter of all pariah states in the world.
    • America’s recession is a challenge for Russia, India and China.
    • The next American president will take up many complicated issues from day one itself like War in Iraq, War in Afghanistan, the issue of Iran, and issues related to America’s recession.
    • Many global changes will take place and Russia will come up in a big way with its energy potential, economic growth and autocratic leadership.

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