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Published by the Air University Press, the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs (JIPA) is a professional journal of the Department of the Air Force and a forum for worldwide dialogue regarding the Indo-Pacific region, spanning from the west coasts of the Americas to the eastern shores of Africa and covering much of Asia and all of Oceania. The journal fosters intellectual and professional development for members of the Air Force and Space Force and the world’s other English-speaking militaries and informs decision makers and academicians around the globe.

ISSN: 2576-5361 (print) & 2576-537X (digital)


Editor:

Dr. Ernest Gunasekara-Rockwell (PhD, University of Wisconsin) serves as the editor of the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs. Prior to standing up the journal, he was the acting director and managing editor of Air University Press and the acting dean of the Air Force Research Institute. Earlier in his career, he served as a human intelligence collector and Korean linguist for the US Army. Dr. Gunasekara-Rockwell has taught at the collegiate level at institutions of higher education in Missouri, Wisconsin, and New Mexico, and returned to the Defense Language Institute-Foreign Language Center as an assistant professor in the Technology Integration Division for a short stint. In addition to his background in the social sciences and humanities, he has studied several foreign languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Sinhala, and Korean. In addition to his work with JIPA, he previously served as the editor for the Journal of European, Middle Eastern, & African Affairs and the Wild Blue Yonder journal and wrote a number of cultural orientations and country-in-perspective pieces.

 

Articles submitted to the journal must be unclassified, nonsensitive, and releasable to the public. Features represent fully researched, thoroughly documented, and peer-reviewed scholarly articles 5,000 to 6,000 words in length. Views articles are shorter than Features—3,000 to 5,000 words—typically expressing well-thought-out and developed opinions about regional topics. The Commentary section offers a forum about current subjects of interest. These short posts are 1,500 to 2,500 words in length. Submit all manuscripts to JIPA@au.af.edu.  

The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government.

 JOURNAL OF INDO-PACIFIC AFFAIRS (JIPA)
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Indo-Pacific Perspectives (December 2020)

Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, Air University Press --

Indo-Pacific Perspectives cover
Indo-Pacific Perspectives cover
Indo-Pacific Perspectives cover
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Gunasekara-Rockwell
VIRIN: 210123-F-YT915-001


 December 2020

 

Map of the Indo-Pacific
Map of the Indo-Pacific
Map of the Indo-Pacific
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 201206-F-YT915-001

Introduction: A Rules-Based Order for the Indo-Pacific?
Dr. Peter Harris, editor

This, the first “Indo-Pacific Perspectives” roundtable from the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, will offer some answers to the complex geopolitical (and “geolegal”) questions facing the region. As the name suggests, this new series of roundtables will showcase viewpoints from across the Indo-Pacific megaregion (and sometimes beyond). The goal is to facilitate a dialogue between academics and policy practitioners that will be of great interest—and, we hope, considerable use—to an international cast of scholars and decision makers whose work focuses on the Indo-Pacific.
 
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The new US security funding for the Indo-Pacific region includes a new program in the Bay of Bengal.
Indo-Pacific security
The new US security funding for the Indo-Pacific region includes a new program in the Bay of Bengal.
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 201204-F-YT915-001
The Indian Ocean’s Key Role in the Indo-Pacific Rules-based International Order
Nilanthi Samaranayake

The Indian Ocean is not characterized by rampant territorial disputes and Chinese assertiveness, as the Pacific is. From such characterizations, it seems clear that US strategy is still focused on the Pacific segment of the Indo-Pacific and less so the Indian Ocean, which remains a secondary theater for US defense planners.
PDF
Flag of Communist China
Flag of Communist China
Flag of Communist China
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 201206-F-YT915-003

Chinese Vision of a Rules-based Order: International Order with Chinese Characteristics
Dr. Benjamin Tze Ern Ho

Beijing’s realpolitik vision of international politics leads it to conclude that most countries who aligned with the United States in the past did so not because of some higher ideational motivation (for instance, to preserve individual human rights, or believing that democracy was the best form of governance) but because their own national interests—often materially defined—were best served subscribing to the American-led international order. A Chinese-led order could therefore expect to command similar levels of support.
PDF
Militarized island in the South China Sea
Militarized island in the South China Sea
Militarized island in the South China Sea
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 201206-F-YT915-002

Do Regimes Matter?: Implications of the 2016 UNCLOS South China Sea Ruling for a Rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific
Dr. Laura Southgate

China’s response to the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling provides a window through which to examine both the existence of a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and its future prospects as China increasingly seeks to exert its influence in the international system.

 
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Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel are seen on the destroyers JS Suzutsuki (DD 117) (L) and JS Inazuma (DD 105) after they arrive as part of an Indo-Pacific tour at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
MARK,RPA
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel are seen on the destroyers JS Suzutsuki (DD 117) (L) and JS Inazuma (DD 105) after they arrive as part of an Indo-Pacific tour at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Photo By: 081529+0000
VIRIN: 201206-F-YT915-006

Next Priorities for Japan’s FOIP Vision: The Quad, ASEAN, and Institutional Linkages in the Indo-Pacific
Dr. Kei Koga

Japan needs to provide a clear strategy to realize the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy in the context of the rapidly evolving US-China great-power rivalry.

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India in the Indo-Pacific
India in the Indo-Pacific
India in the Indo-Pacific
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 201204-F-YT915-006

India’s Indo-Pacific Reckoning
Dr. Titli Basu


Beijing’s ascent in the international order and the ensuing disequilibrium in the balance of power between the United States and China at the global level, and China and India at the regional level, are making policy elites in New Delhi fiercely debate key strategic choices in pursuit of the national interest. Stakes are high with trade, technology, the fourth industrial revolution, and infrastructure all defining great-power contestation in the strategic theater of the Indo-Pacific.

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reordering the Indo-Pacific
reordering the Indo-Pacific
reordering the Indo-Pacific
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 201206-F-YT915-005

Challenges in Institutionalizing Rules-based Order in the Indo-Pacific: Defending or Reordering the Status Quo
Dr. Ngaibiakching

The rules-based international order led by the West is undergoing a crisis, with post-World War II (“liberal international”) institutions seeming particularly vulnerable to the relative decline of the United States. Meanwhile, the tectonic shift of power from the West to Asia has intensified the geopolitical and strategic relevance of the Indo-Pacific, with China’s challenge to US leadership (alongside the rise of regional middle powers) amplifying existing criticisms of the international rules-based order as inadequate or biased.
 
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Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 201206-F-YT915-004
A Rules-based Order in the Indo-Pacific: A View from Jakarta
Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar

Faced with increasing great-power competition, ASEAN has billed itself as a bridge to promote dialogues and cooperation within an inclusive regional architecture to build trust, foster preventive diplomacy, and resolve conflicts through peaceful means, that in turn may contribute to a more inclusive rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.
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Features


  • The Influence of Arms: Explaining the Durability of India–Russia Alignment

    This article offers a set of historic, political, ideational, and material factors driving the India–Russia relationship forward that require scrutiny. In short, the authors find that while the residue of Cold War collaboration, contemporary geopolitical alignments, and ideological convergence on a polycentric global order all contribute, the material arms relationship provides the strongest and most durable driver of the relationship.
  • Russia–Pakistan Strategic Relations: An Emerging Entente Cordiale

    Extrapolating from recent media reports, articles, and general discussion in the strategic community in Pakistan, this article examines the trends in this new relationship and assesses possible influence Russia might have in shaping future Pakistani security policy and nuclear doctrines.
  • Comparing Space Agency Intervention in Taiwan and South Korea

    To develop their space sectors, Taiwan’s and South Korea’s space agencies intervene differently. This is despite the developmental state literature indicating that the agencies’ ideologies, mechanisms, and preferences will be similar. This article recounts the literature’s expectations about the two agencies. It then reviews what the two agencies are actually doing to develop their space sectors. This article ends by discussing the implications of the two agencies’ differences for stakeholders in Taiwan’s and South Korea’s space sectors and identifying questions to guide future research that builds off this article’s findings.
  • Competing with China Today

    As the national security apparatus continues to shift toward great-power competition, there is still a significant lack of understanding about the nature of the current competition and how the armed forces can engage within the strategic reality. This article outlines the road to competition with China, as well as the nature of the struggle, to provide clarity on the challenge such competition poses. Within that context, this article provides recommendations for how the military can translate the strategic concepts found within the National Defense Strategy into more tangible actions.
  • North Korea: Nuclear Threat or Security Problem?

    The negotiation process on North Korean nuclearization is stalemated and no change seems likely anytime soon. This stalemate demonstrates the failure of the US policy, a very dangerous situation particularly in view of the absence of any viable American strategic approach to the issue, the ensuing divisions among allies, and lack of a coherent approach to North Korea. Continuing the policy of strategic patience, which would be Washington’s default position if no further progress occurs, is doomed to fail. Therefore, the United States must simultaneously enhance alliance cohesion while pursuing a credible negotiating proposal. This article lays out the reasons why that stance is needed now and is becoming more urgent. Such strategic approach can lead to better negotiated outcomes that would not only bring about denuclearization and North Korean security but also promote a new, more stable, equilibrium in Northeast Asia.
  • 戰略競爭?—Strategic Competition?

    This article lays the groundwork for further analysis by providing an overview of what strategic competition is. After defining strategic competition, the second section takes a brief diversion to discuss the relationship between—and potential for—cooperation and competition. The third and fourth sections consider how competition is viewed from the US and Chinese perspectives, before drawing conclusions in the final section about the current and future nature of the US-China relationship.
  • India and the Quadrilateral Forum as a Means of US Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific

    In the Indo-Pacific, China is waging a well-orchestrated campaign to displace US hegemony and secure a favorable balance of power. Driven by ardent nationalistic goals, the Chinese Communist Party is silencing political outliers and challenging the boundaries of international sovereignty. The first half of this article outlines Chinese political ambitions and domestic civil rights violations levied in pursuit of the government’s agenda. It then addresses how Chinese territorialism in the South China Sea has undermined the utility of bilateral US strategic partnerships. The second half of the article describes the threat China poses to India’s national security and why the Indian Air Force is particularly unprepared to meet this challenge. The article concludes by suggesting a quadrilateral treaty alliance between the United States, India, Japan, and Australia is needed to prevent further Chinese adventurism and preserve regional stability.
  • Risks and Benefits of Autonomous Weapon Systems: Perceptions among Future Australian Defence Force Officers

    The prospect of increasingly autonomous systems has seized the military imagination and rapidly generated an international debate surrounding the merits of a potential preemptive ban under international law. What has been missing to this point has been an in-depth consideration of how artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and unmanned platforms would be perceived by the junior officers who will play a core role in their integration into future militaries. Drawing on a broad survey of officer cadets and midshipmen at the Australian Defence Force Academy conducted in 2019, this article provides an analysis of how perceived risks and benefits of autonomous weapon systems are influencing the willingness of these future defense leaders to deploy alongside them.
  • Lassoing the Haboob: Countering Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin in Mali, Part I

    To develop solutions to Mali’s terrorist crisis, it is first vital to understand its history and explain how a country that was once held up as an exemplar of democratic success in Africa could collapse with such rapidity. Additionally, the same factors that led to Mali’s current disaster precipitated the creation of the extremist group Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM). Therefore, it is similarly important to characterize and understand the group’s history, organization, methods, and narrative. Only once armed with that understanding can one begin to develop possible strategies for countering JNIM and ameliorating Mali’s troubled situation.

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Views


  • Warning: There Are Two Other Chinese Epidemics—Finance and Technology

    There are signs of systemic weakness and rising risk to the global community as China expands its market share and competes globally in the finance and information communications technology (ICT) sectors. There is the specter of an immediate pandemic in global finance and an emergent pandemic in ICTs. These pandemics may even coincide. However, both directly point back to China, as did the coronavirus pandemic. The symptoms of these two diseases are not overtly apparent. Based on reporting from Chinese sources, China appears to be at best “healthy” and at worst “asymptomatic.”
  • Indonesia: Lessons for the US–China Geo-economic Competition

    The United States reasserted itself as a viable Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) alternative with the creation of the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in October 2018 and announcement to double the US government’s Indonesian investment portfolio by 2024. To offset the BRI’s financial advantages, the US launched initiatives to coordinate its infrastructure financing decisions with Japan and Australia and to create the Blue Dot Network to promote adherence to international norms in infrastructure development. However, to compete with the BRI most effectively, Washington will need to continue rebranding FOIP to emphasize its responsiveness in helping Indonesia meet its economic goals. Over the long term, the United States will also need to accelerate industrial policies that close the technology gap with China in 5G, a key infrastructure area where Jakarta remains uncommitted.
  • Sticks and Stones: Nuclear Deterrence and Conventional Conflict

    This article examines the background of the disputed Sino–Indian border, then explores the connection between conventional and nuclear conflict in the context of this case. It then considers why the conventional-nuclear escalation ladder is becoming more—not less—critical as we move farther away from the Cold War. Finally, the article considers the implications for other nuclear-armed states.
  • Penetrating Artificial Intelligence–enhanced Antiaccess/Area Denial: A Challenge for Tomorrow’s Pacific Air Forces

    To ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, the United States Air Force (USAF) must maintain its ability to freely operate in international airspace and project force forward to deter aggression. Future improvements to antiaccess/area-denial (A2/AD) systems will certainly include artificial intelligence (AI). AI is a strategic priority of our adversaries, as it can provide significant benefits for national defense. The USAF must be prepared to tackle these technical challenges to uphold our regional commitments and protect international interests in the Indo-Pacific. Three specific applications relevant to A2/AD are (1) target recognition from multiple fused data sources, (2) improved war gaming with agent-based models, and (3) blockchain-enabled autonomous systems. This article will introduce how these technologies might be integrated into future A2/AD systems and recommend some strategies for addressing and overcoming these challenges.
  • Untapped Potential between India and Japan in the Indo-Pacific: Pursuing International Military Education

    This article argues that there is a need for dialogue regarding the development of more profound international military education programs, particularly cadet-level trainings and exchanges, and also a need for the implementation of potential collaborative exchanges, programs/courses, scholarships, and conferences between Indian and Japanese cadets.
  • Building the Next Generation of Chinese Military Leaders

    How does the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) People’s Liberation Army (PLA) treat senior military leadership development? This article answers this question by looking at what the PLA views as a good leader, how it develops such leaders, and when the new generation of PLA leaders will emerge.
  • Fresh Whole Blood for the Near-Peer and Immature Theater Conflict: Closing a Critical Gap

    The concept of operations for blood supply to US forces is urgently needed in the event of a transition to hostilities in Korea. This article provides a framework to enable readily available fresh whole blood to bridge the critical time gap between the first shot being fired and plausible execution of current medical supply plans that rely on functional air and sea supply chains.
  • India’s Deterrence Goldilocks Dilemma in South Asia

    This article presents the unique Goldilocks dilemma that balancing China and Pakistan presents to India and examines how closer Indo–American collaboration is the best path to prevent rapid instability and possible nuclear war in the region. The article examines why a closer future US–Indian partnership is needed to finesse India out of its Goldilocks dilemma.
  • China’s Rising Missile and Naval Capabilities in the Indo-Pacific Region: Security Implications for India and Its Allies

    China’s military rise is a stepping stone toward China’s dream for global power, which inevitably poses a security threat to nations in the Indo-Pacific region. This study uses the theoretical base of structural realism’s component of “offensive realism and defensive realism.” China’s doctrine of “offshore waters defense” with “open seas protection” enhances its comprehensive defense, counterattack, and deterrence capabilities near its territory and overseas maritime domain. However, China’s naval modernization, establishing overseas naval base, and militarization of ports represents security threats to countries in the Indo-Pacific region. China’s military deployments in the South China Sea (SCS) and its missile capabilities pose security threats to India’s mainland and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Kashmir: Beyond Imbroglios

    This article argues that the right to self-determination, which is an integral part of any international covenant, including but not restricted to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and most importantly United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR), should be upheld and the conditions of Kashmiris ought to be bettered as a fundamental human right.
  • Chinese Communist Party Information Warfare: US–China Competition during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Geopolitics does not stop during a pandemic. In fact, competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China has accelerated. The Chinese Communist Party is waging an aggressive information warfare campaign to obfuscate its role in propagating the COVID-19 pandemic and to portray its response as a triumph of its authoritarian model of governance. This article will articulate how Beijing is carrying out its information warfare strategy and provide recommendations for how the United States can respond.

More Views Articles

Sr Leader Perspectives


  • The Assurance Imperative: Forward Presence in the Indo-Pacific

    As Beijing continues to assert itself through malign operations, activities, and investments in the economic, political, and military realms to undermine the international rules-based order—ironically the very rules-based order that has enabled China’s rise and which has rescued tens of millions from tyranny and lifted billions out of poverty—the United States must retain a robust, interoperable, and forward-present force that assures America’s vast array of allies and partners and deters China from undermining the free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • Expanding Cooperative Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance with Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

    Current ally and partner capabilities are especially appropriate within the umbrella of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and processes. While ISR is integral to war fighting, it is also the capability that is absolutely critical during competition as well as Phase 0 and Phase I shaping and deterring operations. While America needs strong ally and partner war-fighting capability, the ISR realm allows for close work in areas that prevent and predict conflict or provocation.
  • Demystifying the Indo-Pacific Theater

    The Indo-Pacific Theater by-and-large, is a mystery to many. The focus of our nation and our Department of Defense (DOD) has long been oriented toward Europe, and more recently the Middle East, so that few Americans understand and appreciate the significance of the Indo-Pacific.
  • Australia in an Age of Strategic Competition

    Senator Linda Reynolds is the Australian Minister of Defence. This senior-leader perspective is derived from her 13 June 2019 speech at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Conference: War in 2025. For a full version of the speech, please visit the Australian Department of Defence website: https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/.

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Commentaries


  • How the Biden Administration Should Counter China in Southeast Asia

    For years, Southeast Asia has become more reliant on China, striking a Faustian bargain, wherein they accept Chinese investments in return for acquiescence to Chinese hegemony and a commitment not to criticize its central government. In 2021, the Biden administration must take bold diplomatic, messaging, military, and economic actions to curtail Chinese influence and coercion in the region. Many of these actions can begin immediately and will benefit both Southeast Asia and the United States for years to come. Failure to solidify the US role in Southeast Asia will result in China becoming inextricably entrenched in the region and embolden Beijing to take even more aggressive actions against American allies and interests.
  • Russian Influence on India’s Military Doctrines

    This article details the various ways in which India has been influenced either directly or indirectly by Soviet or Russian doctrine. Directly, the most obvious influence is the sheer number and importance of the mainline military platforms each Indian service uses from Russia.
  • Reimagining the Macro Arctic Region: Rebuilding Global Trust through Democratic Peace and International Law as a Foundation for an Alliance to Coerce China from Taiwan

    The United States should adopt a strategy of a shared governance based on international law in the Macro Arctic Region (MAR) (future combined areas of the Arctic and Indo-Pacific regions) as a foundation to employ a targeted coercive strategy to influence Beijing to abandon China’s expansionist goals in Taiwan. This article first frames how the United States can rebuild global trust. After providing reasons why Washington needs to rebuild trust, particularly in the MAR, the concepts of international law and shared governance are applied to show how the United States should lead the consensus decision making with key MAR players. Next, the article extends the previous arguments for a strategically stronger alliance in the MAR. An Indo-Pacific Alliance is needed to influence expansionist countries and to employ a progressive coercive strategy aimed to control China’s expansion into Taiwan.
  • Strategic Surprise from the Bike Trail: The Republic of Korea and the Bicycle

    This article examines how a network of recreational bike trails can become a tool to generate strategic surprise. The Republic of Korea, by the simple act of building recreational trails and tangibly rewarding citizens who use them, has begun to ready generations of robust, skilled defenders, a uniquely surprising strategy of defense and a transport system nigh invulnerable to interdiction.
  • The Day after the Battle

    This article focuses not on the how we arrive at armed conflict between mainland China and Taiwan, nor how the battle is fought, but rather seeks to provoke thought and discussion about the aftermath, in any number of war-termination scenarios. For arguments sake, we posit there is armed conflict, likely involving the full myriad of forces from the United States, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China, and may or may not include allies, partners, or other third nations.
  • Exposed: Commanding in the Gray Zone During COVID-19

    Commanders must look beyond the single event or operation, understand how their decisions affect the overall campaign within the gray zone, and then measure and accept risks accordingly.
  • The Economics of Repression: The Belt and Road Initiative, COVID-19, and the Repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang

    To gain a comprehensive understanding of the developments in Xinjiang, it is vital to track and identify the effects of the Belt and Road Initiative and COVID-19 on Beijing's repression of China's Uyghur minority.

More Commentaries Articles

Cadet Perspectives


  • Legitimizing and Operationalizing US Lawfare: The Successful Pursuit of Decisive Legal Combat in the South China Sea

    This article provides a recommended definition of lawfare, contrasts the United States’ and China’s use of lawfare in the South China Sea, and discusses potential options for the United States’ strategic legitimization and operationalization of lawfare.
  • Avoiding Thucydides’ Trap in the Western Pacific through the Air Domain

    Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has arguably exercised the most powerful global military imbalance the world has ever seen. This domination; however, is perceived to be fading in the wake of a new possible contender. The tension and likelihood of conflict between the United States and the People’s Republic of China has risen in recent decades. The inevitability of conflict has taken root in many academic and strategic forums. The term “Thucydides’ Trap” has echoed in many discussions among leading strategic, military, intelligence, and political science analysts.

More Cadet Perspectives

Sci-fi as Strategy


  • Space Entanglements: The India–Pakistan Rivalry and a US–China Security Dilemma

    The proliferation of space technologies to middle and regional powers raises new questions concerning contemporary international politics and the likelihood of war. Since China launched its infamous 2007 antisatellite missile test, the United States has grown increasingly concerned about the number of actors able to access these capabilities and their potential to complicate the situation on the ground during times of political and military tension. The following classroom activity was designed as a part of the Space Education Working Group at Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. It ponders one potential future in which a spark in the India–Pakistan rivalry over Kashmir, accompanied by the potential use of space weaponry, might generate contagion for a US–China conflict. After reading the fictional case, students are provided with roles and questions to assist them in better understanding the international political impacts of space militarization.

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