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The Third Session of the Eurasian Online Seminar with Mark Beeson

On Friday, April 24, the third meeting of the Eurasian online seminar was held, at which a world renowned expert on the Asia-Pacific regionalism, Professor Mark Beeson, spoke. The topic of the seminar was the rise of the Indo-Pacific and the strategic competition in Australia's region. 

Mark Beeson is the Professor of International Politics at the University of Western Australia. Before rejoining UWA at the beginning of 2015, he taught at Murdoch, Griffith, and Queensland universities in Australia, and the Universities of York and Birmingham in the UK. His work is centered on the politics, economics and security of the broadly conceived Asia-Pacific region. He is the author of more than 200 journal articles and book chapters, co-editor of Contemporary Politics, and the founding editor of Critical Studies of the Asia Pacific (Palgrave). Recent books and edited volumes include China's Regional Relations: Evolving Foreign Policy Dynamics (Lynne Rienner, 2014); Regionalism & Globalization in East Asia: Politics, Security & Economic Development (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); Rivalry and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific: The Dynamics of a Region in Transition, Volume 1 and 2 (World Scientific, 2019); Rethinking Global Governance ( Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); Environmental Populism: The Politics of Survival in the Anthropocene (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

In his speech, Professor Beeson focused on the development of Indo-Pacific strategic concept which replaced Australia’s foreign policy concept of the Asia-Pacific and described the main reasons behind such geopolitical shift. The foreign policy of Australia has traditionally included an orientation towards large foreign policy players, primarily the United States, and cooperation with them. The original Asia-Pacific concept was designed to enhance such cooperation as well as strengthen the integration processes in the region. Nevertheless, the geopolitical changes including, among other things, the foreign policy of Donald Trump, which led to uncertainty in the region and a shift in the focus of the United States to national interests, led to the need for a new concept that would more closely match today’s reality. Thus, a new Indo-Pacific concept is preferred by Australia because it makes Australia the center of the region and offers a way of pulling India into new grouping and ‘balancing’ China. In his speech, Professor Bison also emphasized that the new concept will face a number of difficulties on the road to implementation, which include the uncertainty of the relations with the United States, possible contradictions between countries in the region, and the need for a more accurate conceptualization of the new concept.