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Contest for the Indo-Pacific

01 Jul 2020
By Professor Rory Medcalf

What we call different parts of the world – Asia, Europe, the Middle East – seems innocuous. But the name of a region is totemic: a mental map that guides the decisions of leaders and the story of international order, war, and peace.

The Indo-Pacific is both a place and an idea. It is the region central to global prosperity and security. It is also a metaphor for collective action. If diplomacy fails, it will be the theatre of the first general war since 1945. But if its future can be secured, the Indo-Pacific will flourish as a shared space, the centre of gravity in a connected world. Launched in March 2020, jointly by Australia’s foreign minister and shadow foreign minister, “Contest for the Indo-Pacific” is the definitive guide to tensions in the region. It weaves history, geopolitics, cartography, military strategy, economics, games, and propaganda to address a vital question: how can China’s dominance be prevented without war? In this webinar, Professor Rory Medcalf explores these themes and discusses the emerging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the strategic environment with a focus on the challenges ahead for Australian policy.

Professor Rory Medcalf is Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University. He has three decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, academia and journalism, including as founding Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute.