The Virus and Regional Order - Perspectives from Asia and Beyond

What are the consequences of COVID-19 for this region’s strategic and foreign policy environment? What will be the impact of the crisis on United States-China rivalry? What is the future of globalisation and regional institutions? Is liberal-democratic governance under challenge from authoritarian approaches? 

Many of these issues are being discussed in Australia – but at a time when regional cooperation is vital for tackling this truly global problem – we need to understand the variety of perspectives across the Indo-Pacific.

The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) is the region’s premier non-government security network. In seminars, study groups and publications, the organisation leads analysis of key strategic and foreign policy issues.

With the suspension of normal conferencing, the Australian Committee (AusCSCAP), through phone and email exchange, used the network to construct a virtual seminar with regional specialists. Together with Asialink, we are proud to share with you a new series of articles emerging from that exchange.

Some of our correspondents see the crisis as a strategic game-changer, others emphasise the acceleration of existing trends, particularly in regard to US-China relations. From one perspective, international cooperation is in tatters - as the language of ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self sufficiency' is amplified. From another, the virus demonstrates the impossibility of resisting greater global integration. 

Regional institutions do not fare well in this commentary – for some this is a cause for pessimism; others think COVID-19 may be the wake-up call they have needed.

One theme in many of these commentaries is that the rebalancing of the world order is gathering pace.

We will continue to bring you a diversity of voices from across the Indo-Pacific in the weeks ahead. We encourage you to share your perspectives on the series using the hashtag #AsialinkInsights  

Mr Ric Smith, AO, PSM
Co-Chair, Australian Committee, CSCAP

Professor Tony Milner, AM
Co-Chair, Australian Committee, CSCAP 
International Director, Asialink

Ms Penny Burtt
Group CEO, Asialink