Middle Power Agency in an Indo-Pacific Era
There have been many efforts in the past decade to define Middle Powers based on functional, positional, behavioural, and attitudinal dimensions. They need not be duplicated. But they do need to be redefined in light of a new strategic context of great power rivalry and economic interdependence.
Rather than re-visit these debates, our aim is to bring together a group of academics who are familiar with policy developments in their own countries and who are particularly interested in institutional architecture and the future of multilateral institutions designed to advance inclusive cooperation intended to mitigate great power conflict, especially in the areas of security and economy.
The countries are Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand as well as ASEAN as an institution. Each is an interesting exemplar of a country that has been committed to or, at least explored, an explicitly Middle Power role. They vary in the level of economic and military dependence on the US, and how far they feel comfortably supporting the US as an automatic reflex as compared to on an issue-by-issue basis. However, all seek to maintain deep economic interactions with China while promoting international norms connected to a rule-based multilateralism.
The workshop intends to bring more clarity in understanding state behavior and the hard choices that governments face in positioning in this new environment.