Filling the gaps in the Indo-Pacific security architecture | The Japan Times
- BY BRAD GLOSSERMAN CONTRIBUTING WRITER Oct 26, 2022
Is the paradox of ‘minilateralism’ fatal and scaring off potential partners?
The big minds designing Indo-Pacific security policy have decided that “minilateralism” — collaborative efforts by three to five countries — is the route to regional peace and stability.
Several minilateral mechanisms have been created in recent years. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“the Quad”) and the Australia-U.K.-U.S. enhanced security partnership (AUKUS) are the most prominent, but others are contributing too.
These initiatives and their logic make sense, but they remain tentative steps toward a more substantive regional security order. More troubling is a contradiction inherent in Indo-Pacific minilateralism: the need to produce hard security — to deter and defend against potential adversaries — scares off governments that might otherwise be enticed into joining these coalitions.
Minilateralism is based on two principles. First, recognition that existing security mechanisms are not sufficient to deter or defend against a regional aggressor. Even U.S. alliances, alone or acting in concert, may not be able to do the job. Second, a belief that starting small with coalitions of the like-minded can fill the gap and grow into larger, more substantive initiatives. Problems with that evolution and that logic show up throughout a timely new set of analyses of deterrence and Indo-Pacific minilateralism in Asia Policy, a journal published by the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR).
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