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Evolving Geo-strategic Dynamics (Spotlight Brief 4/21)

The content in this article is an extract of Spotlight Brief 4/21.

Myths and misconceptions in the debate on Russia

Chatham House – May 21

The West’s relationship with Russia has failed to achieve long-term stability or manageability. This article highlights that over the past two decades, several myths about Russia and its policies and objectives have undermined how nations including Australia have approached Russia. While Australia rightfully focuses on its own region, supporting other Western nations in deescalating and improving Russian relations frees up time, resources and efforts for other challenges. Here, Chatham House tackles 16 common myths about Russia. They provide a discussion and recommendations for each myth that are also then summarised for an overall, improved approach.


‘Nord Stream 2: Assessing Russia’s “serious geopolitical victory”’, The Interpreter, 03 Jun 21

‘How The West Is Losing Russia – Again’, Modern Diplomacy, 20 May 21

‘Expanding the Scope for Statecraft in U.S. Russia Policy’, War on the Rocks, 14 May 21

‘Relations with Russia’, NATO, 21 Apr 21

‘Russia’s Asia diplomacy’, The Interpreter, 16 Apr 21

Conflict and cooperation with trade partners

International Interactions – Jan 21

The false belief that trading nations do not go to war with each other has existed since 1795. This remains a commonly held view despite France’s major trading partner being Britain in 1802, and Germany’s largest trading partner being Britain 1913 and again in 1938. Here, Timothy Peterson and Yuleng Zeng try to determine what leads to conflict between trade partners. They take a broad approach to conflict and cooperation, what trade is, and how leaders respond, and find that states can simultaneously cooperate and be in conflict with their major trading partners. These options reduce the more exposed to the global economy a nation is, but other options to cooperate with non-major trading partners increase. While inter-state armed conflict has decreased since 1945, other forms of competition have remained or increased, suggesting the world is not as peaceful as it seems.


‘Capitalist peace’, Wikipedia, 06 Jun 21

‘The uses and abuses of weaponized interdependence in 2021’, The Washington Post, 02 Mar 21

‘Economic Diplomacy in the Era of Great Powers’, Chatham House, 15 Sep 20

‘How Free Trade Increases Peaceful Interaction Between Nations’, Foundation for Economic Education, 24 Oct 19

‘The end of the Golden Arches doctrine’, Financial Times, 11 May 15

The Quad Factor in the Indo-Pacific and the Role of India

Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs – Mar 21

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue did not form as a security pact like NATO, but rather as a humanitarian assistance / disaster relief collaboration to respond to disasters within the Indo-Pacific region. While the increased tension in the region has increased the security focus of the Quad, especially in 2020, the COVID pandemic has also forced a return to the Quad’s roots. Here, Doctor Amrita Jash provides more details about the Indian view of the Quad, highlighting the advantages it brings India and vice-versa. The two key advantages for New Delhi are the demonstrated ability to react to disaster relief issues in the Indian Ocean, and the building of key bilateral relationships with Washington and Canberra.


‘India, Australia look forward to convening '2+2' dialogue soon’, The Economic Times, 01 Jun 21

‘Bolstering the Quad beyond its military dimensions’, East Asia Forum, 30 Apr 21

‘The Quad: What It Is – And What It Is Not’, The Diplomat, 24 Mar 21

‘The Quad gives a boost to India’s vaccine diplomacy’, The Interpreter, 16 Mar 21

‘Leveraging Greater Quad Cooperation through Disaster Management in the Indo-Pacific’, South Asian Voices, 22 Jan 21

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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