Declining and rising international narratives: From globalisation and the ‘Asia-Pacific’ to geo-politics and the ‘Indo-Pacific’

April 18, 2024 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Europe/Rome Timezone
Sala Belvedere, Villa Schifanoia
RSCAS Conference Unit
Join Richard Higgott as he explores the transition from ‘Asia-Pacific’ to ‘Indo-Pacific’, analysing the ideational shift from globalisation to geopolitical security

Ideas have consequences. Words have consequences. The Asia-Pacific as an economic understanding of a region is giving way to the ‘Indo-Pacific’ as a geopolitical understanding of a region. The event is based on this paper, which explores the ideational and discursive consequences of this shift. More specifically, it focuses on the transition from the theoretical and practical implications of the declining ideational hegemony of neo-liberal economics to the rising preponderance of geopolitical security concerns. It argues that just as a neo-liberal economic approach to the Asia-Pacific privileged the success and benefits of globalisation as an absolute wealth aggregator and underplayed its negative externalities of mal-distribution and growing inequality, the privileging of the Indo-Pacific overhypes the concept of security and underplays the effects of ‘threat inflation’ and the prospects of the self-fulfilling possibility of the privileging of forward-leaning geo-political analysis. By way of a short case study, the paper shows how Australia’s strategic culture is now driven more by the US security coda of the Indo-Pacific rather than the economic coda of the Asia-Pacific. The paper concludes with a warning that there is a fine line between deterrence and provocation.