Think Tank (5/2021)
Strategy and Command in an Age of Extreme Uncertainty

As part of IDSS’ 25th anniversary celebrations and in conjunction with the 2021 Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior Military Officers (APPSMO), Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, delivered the APPSMO 2021 Distinguished Lecture on 6 October 2021. The lecture was on the topic of “Strategy and Command in an Age of Extreme Uncertainty”.

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Research Handbook on the Belt and Road Initiative
This timely Research Handbook investigates the radically transformative impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), addressing key questions regarding its economic, political and strategic consequences: what does the Chinese government hope to achieve with the BRI? How have recipient states responded? And what are its potential opportunities and risks? Bringing together prominent international scholars and analysts, this Research Handbook arrives at a critical time in the infrastructural development of the BRI, shedding light on its influence in the future of global politics and economics. Chapters unpack the role of the BRI in Chinese foreign policy, placing infrastructural development at the centre of regional affairs, great power dynamics and economic and investment trends. Employing geopolitical and diplomatic modes of investigation, it offers critical and holistic views of the progress and challenges of the BRI's implementation and its implications on the world stage. Providing an innovative global viewpoint on the BRI, this Research Handbook offers cutting-edge perspectives for scholars and researchers of political science, particularly those investigating the latest developments in Chinese domestic and foreign policy. Its practical insights and broad empirical analysis will also benefit policymakers and think tank analysts working in the field.
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Underwriting the Alliance
Underwriting the Alliance is an annotated collection of the key bilateral treaties, agreements, and policy documents that provide the structure of the U.S.-Japan Alliance. It is designed to be an essential reference for practitioners, but it will also be useful to international relations scholars, policy researchers, and students of the Alliance. This volume includes: - The 1960 Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation and 1951 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty - All three iterations of the Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation (1978, 1997, and 2015) - All the U.S.-Japan "2+2" joint statements since 2011 - The 1996 Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa - The 2016 Special Measures (Cost-sharing) Agreement ...and much more! This volume was produced by the Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies (YCAPS), a non-profit organization dedicated promoting the study of strategic, diplomatic, and legal issues affecting the Asia-Pacific Region within the U.S. military and communities hosting U.S. military forces.
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The Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation
A History of the Manila Pact and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) from its establishment in 1954 until its dissolution in 1977. The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) has received meagre scholarly attention in comparison to other key events and global developments during the duration of the Cold War, due to its perceived failure early in its existence. However, there has been a renewed interest in the academic study of the organization. Some scholars have argued that SEATO was not an outright failure. New literatures have also shed in detail the workings of SEATO, such as operational-level contingency plans and counter-insurgency plans. This book aims to reconstruct a comprehensive life cycle of SEATO using declassified archival documents which were unavailable to scholars studying the organization from the 1950s through the 1980s and provide a nuanced assessment of it. In addition, in recent years, there is also an emerging interest in the possibility of a multilateral military alliance in Asia, for instance the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue morphing into an "Asian NATO". As such, it is therefore crucial to study how previous multilateral alliances in the context of Asia were formed, how they functioned, and subsequently dissolved. A groundbreaking reference on a key element of the United States’ Cold War strategy in Asia, which will be a valuable resource to scholars of twentieth century diplomatic history.
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The Oxford Handbook of Peaceful Change in International Relations
With the rapid rise of China and the relative decline of the United States, the topic of power transition conflicts is back in popular and scholarly attention. The discipline of International Relations offers much on why violent power transition conflicts occur, yet very few substantive treatments exist on why and how peaceful changes happen in world politics. This Handbook is the first comprehensive treatment of the subject of peaceful change in International Relations. It contains some 41 chapters, all written by scholars from different theoretical and conceptual backgrounds examining the multi-faceted dimensions of this subject. In the first part, key conceptual and definitional clarifications are offered and in the second part, papers address the historical origins of peaceful change as an International Relations subject matter during the Inter-War, Cold War, and Post-Cold War eras. In the third part, each of the IR theoretical traditions and paradigms in particular Realism, liberalism, constructivism and critical perspectives and their distinct views on peaceful change are analyzed. In the fourth part papers tackle the key material, ideational and social sources of change. In the fifth part, the papers explore selected great and middle powers and their foreign policy contributions to peaceful change, realizing that many of these states have violent past or tend not to pursue peaceful policies consistently. In part six, the contributors evaluate the peaceful change that occurred in the world’s key regions. In the final part, the editors address prospective research agenda and trajectories on this important subject matter.
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Chinese Nationalism: How Its Past is Shaping Its Future
The Communist Party of China (CPC), under Mao Zedong, was opposed to Confucius, whose teachings were deemed the source of China’s backwardness and condemned. Decades later in the 21st century, a New Year ceremony commemorating his birth was broadcast on state television. This incident w ...
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Tackling the Nexus Between Climate Change and Security — Singapore and German Perspectives
The third dialogue between RSIS and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) was held online on 27 October 2021. This year’s dialogue was titled, “Tackling the Nexus Between Climate Change and Security — Singapore and German Perspectives.” The dialogue was organ ...
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Climate Security in the Indo-Pacific: Strategic Implications for Defence and Foreign Affairs
On 25 October 2021, the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme at the RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) hosted a virtual roundtable titled “Climate Security in the Indo-Pacific: Strategic Implications for Defence and Foreign Affairs”. Chaired b ...
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Religion and the Common Good
The RSIS Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme jointly organised the 2nd Inter-religious Dialogue Skills Workshop with its partner organisations — the Buddhist College of Singapore (BCS), Catholic Theological Institute Singapore (CTIS), the Hindu C ...
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The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific
As members of the Policy Research Network on Contemporary Southeast Asia (PRN-SEA), RSIS, Indonesia’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) co-organised two recent webinars related to the ASEAN Outlook on the In ...
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The Europeans in the Indo-Pacific: Jointly or National, and What Does Asia Think?
On 19 October 2021, RSIS held a panel webinar titled “The Europeans in the Indo-Pacific: Jointly or National, and What Does Asia Think?”. Assistant Professor Sarah Teo of RSIS facilitated the discussion with five panellists: Dr Frederick Kliem, Research Fellow at RSIS; Ms Alice Billon-Galland, ...
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Countering Online Radicalisation in Southeast Asia
Punctuated by intermittent lockdowns, these past two years have witnessed an uptick in digital content consumption as billions worldwide spend more time indoors and online than ever before. Accompanying this spike in internet usage are fears that terrorists may capitalise on the surge in scree ...
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APPSMO 2021 focused on “The Evolving Security Environment in the Asia-Pacific and its Challenges”. This was an update of previous APPSMO themes on security challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific, while acknowledging at the same time the uncertainties that underlie any future conceptu ...
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International Law and Rule of Law Approach in the Indo-Pacific Region
A range of actors threaten the rule of law at sea in the Indo-Pacific region. By doing so they undermine political stability, endanger use of international waters to support commerce, and interfere with coastal states’ legitimate governance activities. The results directly threaten the economi ...
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Defining Maritime Security: Regional Divergence and Commonalities
“Maritime Security” has emerged as a central concept in Southeast Asia’s policy lexicon. However, as is the case in much of the world, the term’s precise meaning is not consistently clear. Which challenges and state activities should be categorised as maritime security and which should be cons ...
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Non-Traditional Security Concerns in the New Normal: Part 2
The global COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated that non-traditional security (NTS) issues pose existential threats to individuals, society and the state, as evident in the high death toll and significant disruptions to socioeconomic activities. Vulnerable groups such as women, children, migrant ...
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Understanding Christian Far-Right Extremism
The Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme hosted a webinar on 16 September 2021 titled “Understanding Christian Far Right Extremism (CFRE): Politics, Theologies, Conspiracies”. RSIS Associate Professor Paul Hedges chaired the discussion, which involv ...
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RSIS-CAES International Relations Exchange Workshop
On 9 September 2021, RSIS in partnership with the Center for Asia-Europe Studies (CAES), Xian-Jiaotong University, held the inaugural International Relations Exchange workshop, which is a platform for scholars from the two institutes to exchange views. The virtual workshop saw scholars exchang ...
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Trump, Biden, and the Fate of America’s Alliances
The tragic scenes in Kabul in the wake of the US withdrawal and the capture of the city by the Taliban triggered ruminations across the world and raised two critical questions: Has the withdrawal and its consequences hurt and diminished America’s global prestige and credibility? Will its allia ...
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What Next for Afghanistan and the War On Terror?
The prospects for Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, ranging from the Taliban’s ideological evolution and their relations with regional powers to the issue of women and the rights of minorities, was the subject of the webinar “What’s next for Afghanistan and the War o ...
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Four Years After Marawi: Threat and Societal Response in the Philippines
The 2017 Marawi siege was the deadliest urban battle in Southeast Asia. More than 1,000 pro-Islamic State (IS) terrorists participated in the siege in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, which lasted from May to October 2017. To review the IS threat since the siege and how the country has responde ...
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Malaysia’s Policy Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Drivers, Players, Consequences
Malaysia is widely acknowledged to have managed well the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, befitting a resource-rich, upper middle-income country with one of the best healthcare systems in Southeast Asia and a strong centralised state. However, the pandemic has since evolved into a more complex ...
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Most Read RSIS Policy Reports
The Policy Reports offer the reader with policy recommendations for various levels – from policymakers and decision-makers in governments, to international organisations, academic institutions, think tanks, civil societies, commercial sectors, and the media.
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Most Read RSIS Commentaries
The RSIS Commentary contributes views to public discourse on international affairs, with a focus on international affairs relating to the Asia Pacific region, ranging from security and politics to climate change and non-traditional security.
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Op-eds by RSIS Researchers
RSIS Researcher regularly contribute analyses and perspectives on topical issues. These are published in presses, current affairs online platforms and top-tier academic journals. Click here for the full list of op ...
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RSIS Researchers’ Comments in the Media
RSIS Researchers regularly provide comments through media interviews to share useful resource and insights on relevant topic. These include newspaper quotes, TV interviews as well as radio interviews. Click here for th ...
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Kenny Khoo
Abigail Leong
Christopher Chen
John Bradford
Kenny Khoo
S. Nanthini
Unaesah Rahmah
Ariel Tan
Fu Junwei
Kannan Reghunathan Nair
Luca Farrow
Sarah Teo
Vishalini Suresh
Bernard Loo Fook Weng
Haridas Ramasamy
Kenneth Yeo
Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani
Shawn Ho