Navigating the ebbs and flows of the new regional and global paradigm is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s greatest challenges. While the tried-and-true method established during the Cold War provides some comfort, for the former Lowy Institute director of Australia’s Security and the Rules-Based Order Project, Ben Scott, the novel may provide the path forward.
As a nation, Australia has a had a long, tough, and often love-hate relationship with the “tyranny of distance”, that is our relative isolation from the epicentre of global events.
Where the public has often treated it with disdain, hostility, and as an inconvenience for holiday planning, the nation’s political and strategic leaders have recognised the double-edged sword our geographic isolation provides — namely, distance from enemies also means distance from allies, dramatically impacting the nation’s long-term national security.
However, with the rise and reemergence of many powers across the Indo-Pacific, our long maligned “tyranny of distance” has been replaced by arguably a more concerning paradigm, a “predicament of proximity”.
In particular, the rise of China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, along with several other regional nations, is serving to reshape the economic and strategic paradigms that provided the unprecedented period of economic development, stability, and prosperity since the end of the Second World War.