Without referring directly to middle-power scholarship, Sheldon Simon has often written on the statecraft of middle powers and the role they play in Asian security. This is especially the case with reference to Indonesia and Australia and their impact on regional institutions, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and their respective relations with the United States and other great powers. Unlike most realists who focus on the great powers, Simon has highlighted in his research the importance of the middle-power security nexus and the way middle powers can engage and influence strategic relations in Asia.
Middle powers have received too little attention within the literature on Asian security and the security architecture of the region. While much of the focus has been on the great powers, regional security is also important to address from the perspective of the middle-power states. These countries are perceived as less threatening to the international order yet still have the “weight to influence what happens around them” and to be of use to great powers. Middle powers have employed different strategies to protect their interests at the regional and global levels. These strategies can be classified into two distinct types: functional strategies, which advocate that middle powers utilize their resources to address specific issues; and normative strategies, which suggest that middle powers actively promote behavioral norms and rules through multilateral institutions.3 It is this second type of strategy that is discussed in this essay in the context of Asian multilateralism.
Last updated on 26/11/2018