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About the project

The Institute’s 2009–2012 Asia Security Project explored the limits of security cooperation in Asia and identified  measures to stop rivalries escalating into war. This project, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, was a precursor to two major MacArthur projects on nuclear strategic stability and maritime security in Indo-Pacific Asia from 2013 onwards.



Rory Medcalf
Nonresident Fellow

Latest publications

Shifting waters: China’s new passive assertiveness in Asian maritime security

In this Report, Ashley Townshend and Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow Professor Rory Medcalf examine China’s evolving maritime security conduct. They argue that China’s less confrontational but more strategically assertive behaviour has paradoxical implications for regional security, lowering the risks of unintended clashes but making it harder to prevent China from consolidating a new maritime status quo.

This Report is part of a wider research and outreach project on maritime security in Indo-Pacific Asia, supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Photo: Getty Images/DigitalGlobe

Nuclear-armed submarines in Indo-Pacific Asia: Stabiliser or menace?

In this Report, Lowy Institute Research Associate Brendan Thomas-Noone and Nonresident Fellow Professor Rory Medcalf examine the implications of sea-based nuclear weapons for strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific.

This paper is part of a wider research and outreach project on nuclear stability in a changing Indo-Pacific Asia, supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Photo: Flickr/Royal Navy Media Archive

Secrecy and stratagem: understanding Chinese strategic culture

To cope with a rising China, other powers will need a close understanding of Chinese strategic culture. This paper seeks to identify the enduring features of Chinese strategic culture, assess their role in Chinese policy and consider their implications for the future posture and responses of the People's Liberation Army. Drawing on ancient texts, modern official documents and accounts of Beijing's decision-making during crises, Secrecy and Stratagem raises important questions about the potentially risky relationship between Chinese strategic culture, misperception and miscalculation in Asia's uncertain security future.

Nuclear weapons and American strategy in the age of Obama

Did the 2010 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) get it right? In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Visiting Fellow Hugh White argues that – contrary to what has been widely assumed – the NPR does not significantly reduce the role of nuclear weapons in America’s strategic posture. In particular, it does not properly address the central question of how to prevent nuclear strategic issues destabilising the US-China relationship. 

Sweet and sour: Australian public attitudes towards China

Foreign policy has hardly featured in the 2010 election campaign. That's a shame. Australia faces an increasingly uncertain international environment. One of the most pressing challenges facing the next government will be putting in place a durable policy framework to guide Australia's increasingly complex relationship with a rising China.

Andrew Shearer

Koizumi legacy: Japan new politics

In a Lowy Institute Analysis, Dr Malcolm Cook evaluates Prime Minister Koizumi's legacy for Japanese politics and international policy. Koizumi has rebuilt the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, moved the Japanese political system significantly to the right and reprioritised Japan's international policy. He has been Japan's most powerful, controversial and successful post-war prime minister.Malcolm Cook