Strategic Currents: China and US Competition for Influence

The advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution amidst the increasingly intensified global competition between the United States and China promises to be a major inflection point in human history. The authors assembled in this volume provide a sober assessment of this techno-nationalist contest and their implications for the rest of the world.

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Indonesia and Islam in Transition

This book focuses on Islam in Indonesia, showcasing the wide range of Muslim organisations, belief systems and movements, together with an analysis of the political behaviour of Indonesian Muslims. It includes an investigation of the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how Muslims within the archipelago interact within these contexts. In doing so, it promotes a more nuanced understanding of Indonesian Muslim society by approaching it through the utilisation of scholarly frameworks. Theories related to religion and society are used, especially in characterising the transition of the Indonesian Muslim society from pre-New Order to post-New Order. Particularly significant is Abdullah Saeed’s framework in understanding one’s attitude towards key and contemporary issues, originally used to understand one’s attitude towards the religious ‘other’. The authors thus adopt this framework in the book, as a method of categorising people in a diverse society which in turn helps readers to understand the nuances of Islam and Muslims in a huge country like Indonesia.

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Why the quad is not squaring off in the South China Sea: evaluating interests, objectives and capacity

The Quad has formulated repeated statements confirming their shared interests and common commitment to maritime issues and highlighting the South China Sea as an area of strategic priority. However, beyond diplomatic declarations, the Quad has taken few actions in the maritime domain and none to influence the dynamics of the South China Sea disputes. Why words have not been translated into action is the central question of this article. Comparative analysis involving three variables – interests, stakes and power projection capacity – shows that the members’ primary divergence is related to India’s deemphasising the preservation of the status quo rules-based maritime order. India is also the member preventing the Quad from moving into coordinated activities, as can be seen by the regularly coordinated diplomatic stances and naval actions conducted trilaterally among the others in the South China Sea. This will sustain the Quad as a secondary actor in the South China Sea disputes. Furthermore, it suggests that whereas Australia and Japan are responding to the evolving geopolitical structure by finding common cause with the United States-led order, India is behaving as a rising power seeking to manage the challenge posed by China while growing into its own great power status.

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Development of New Generation of Artificial Intelligence in China: When Beijing’s Global Ambitions Meet Local Realities

How did China become one of the leaders in AI development, and will China prevail in the ongoing AI race with the US? Existing studies have focused on the Chinese central government’s role in promoting AI. Notwithstanding the importance of the central government, a significant portion of the responsibility for AI development falls on local governments’ shoulders. Local governments have diverging interests, capacities and, therefore, approaches to promoting AI. This poses an important question: How do local governments respond to the central government’s policies on emerging technologies, such as AI? This article answers this question by examining the convergence or divergence of central and local priorities related to AI development by analysing the central and local AI policy documents and the provincial variations by focusing on the diffusion of the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (NGAIDP) in China. Using a unique dataset of China’s provincial AI-related policies that cite the NGAIDP, the nature of diffusion of the NGAIDP is examined by conducting content analysis and fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). This study highlights the important role of local governments in China’s AI development and emphasises examining policy diffusion as a political process.

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Middle Powers in Asia Pacific Multilateralism: A Differential Framework

Drawing on insights from differentiation theory, this book examines the participation of middle powers in multilateralism. Taking Australia, Indonesia and South Korea as examples, the book examines these countries’ roles in regional organizations, and particularly during the creation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and East Asia Summit. Through its analysis, the book argues that middle powers pursue dilution of major power stratificatory forces, as well as functionally differentiated roles for themselves in multilateral diplomacy. The book sets out a valuable new framework to explain and understand the behaviour of middle powers in multilateralism.

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