Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs Articles

Category: Views
  • Between Political Violence and COVID-19: Many Citizens in Myanmar Pushed to Armed Resistance

    The February military coup and ensuing violence have pushed many citizens toward armed resistance. Civilian militias have emerged in the cities and countryside as a means for citizens to protect themselves from the State Administrative Council’s harsh crackdown on protests. Established ethnic insurgent groups have also offered sanctuary to political dissidents, as well as combat training to activists looking to oppose the military junta. In a grim turn, the SAC and security forces have also utilized the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage as best they can. By restricting critical oxygen supplies and reserving vaccinations for its rank-and-file members, the Tatmadaw has found yet another means of rewarding those loyal to the SAC and controlling those expressing resistance.

  • The Myanmar Coup as an ASEAN Inflection Point

    ASEAN leaders would be wise to work creatively around the principle of noninterference to prevent figures such as Min Aung Hlaing from further installing themselves in the organization’s halls of power. They need to do so not on behalf of the often-absent forces of good that claim to bend the arc of history toward progress, or even for liberal values, but for their own self-interest. It does not matter why they do the right thing, only that they actually do it. If selfishness forces ASEAN to act, the region and the United States will be better for it.

  • Myanmar’s Military Coup: Security Trouble in Southeast Asia

    This article highlights the tyranny of the military junta and the backsliding of democracy in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), contending that Russia and China's unwavering support of Myanmar's military makes it difficult to restore the democratic process and reestablish peace and stability. It also proposes that the triangular nexus of China–Myanmar–Russia propels apprehensions for the rise of autocracy and its impact on South Asia and Southeast Asian security architecture and regional stability.

  • Changing Political Dynamics in South Asia: The Belt and Road Initiative and Its Effects on Indian Regional Hegemony

    India’s dominance in South Asia is due to its large geographical area, economic might, military strength, and strategic positioning over the Indian ocean. But the coming of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has shaken up this hegemonic balance and given other, smaller regional nations a chance to rise up against the dominant influence in the region. China has been penetrating regional diplomacy in South Asia, all the while keeping in mind its larger aim of further securing its sources in the West. For countries in the region such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the BRI is seen as a more neutral, if not benign force and has pushed India to become more considerate of changes and more responsible for its own actions. With the rise of China, many scholars and think tanks have aggressively researched this issue and proposed theories such as the “String of Pearls,” which has become a topic of discussion and worry not only for India but also for the nations that have become a part of China’s projects. This article will delve into the issue and discuss how China’s rise in South Asia has changed the course of India’s regional and bilateral policies and relations. Although China may seem to have a drastic impact on India’s position, it has not panned out that way. India has been a dominant power in the region and unilateral in its diplomacy, but the rise of China gives smaller nations power at the negotiating table with India and thus pushes India to place more focus on neighbors.

  • The China–Australia Cold War: Unpacking National Security Concerns and Great-Power Competition

    Australia’s relationship with the United States, and the current diplomatic tensions with China, will have larger geopolitical impacts than just within these nations. China’s growing economic and geopolitical influence, which in some cases has bordered on coercion, has caused grave concern in the Asia Pacific region and globally. Any conflict arising out of territorial disputes—specifically on Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan—will only further exacerbate diplomatic tensions around the world. China has expanded its boundaries in the South China Sea, and its claim on islands in the East China Sea have caused anxiety in Southeast Asian nations. If the United States or China prove incapable of avoiding direct military conflict, it will be unavoidable for Australia to become deeply involved and at great cost.

  • Stewards of the Status Quo: US Air, Space, and Cyber Imperatives in the Indo-Pacific Gray Zone

    As national security practitioners, we ask: What are the imperatives to enable this kind of competition within the gray zone? Specific to air, space, and cyber power, the United States must apply new ideas, innovate new technology, and reorganize its forces to meet the imperatives of the gray zone. Each of these imperatives is best understood through I. B. Holley’s classic framework on the evolution of warfare as relating to either ideas, tools, or groups. This article interprets the framework as application (ideas), technology (tools), and organization (groups). First, the United States and its allies must leverage the full range of air, space, and cyber power in proactive ways to create dilemmas and uncertainty for the Chinese government and, if necessary, impose costs. Next, they must develop airpower technology focused on dispelling ambiguity, increasing attribution, and illuminating malign activity. And finally, the United States must orient a portion of its air, space, and cyber forces toward frustrating China’s coercive gradualism.

  • Al-­Qaeda’s Keys to Success

    In this article, the author argues that not only is al-Qaeda far from dead, but that the main factors contributing to the organization’s continued global success are decentralization, effective narratives and propaganda, and the specific targeting of locations with a preexisting history of instability and violence.

  • China–South Korea Relations Amid the Sino-­American Strategic Rivalry

    South Korea’s perception of China’s role in both the denuclearization and peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula has in part shaped the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) current unwillingness to align itself with the US’s Indo-­Pacific Strategy, especially due to the significant effects Sino-­US tensions have on Beijing’s strategy toward the Korean Peninsula. In particular, Seoul remains concerned that outright alignment with the United States against China could exacerbate the Korean Peninsula’s position in Sino-­US strategic competition. For South Korea, this carries the risk of both Seoul’s diminished influence in the pursuit of Korean denuclearization amid Sino-­US tensions as well as a reduction of Beijing’s prospective support for Korean unification under the ROK’s lead.

  • Pivot to Power: US Grand Strategy and the Rise of China

    This article analyzes the emerging engagement and paradigm shift in the US grand strategy in the Indo-­Pacific. Its primary thesis is that the current geopolitical and strategic importance of the region has led the United States to redesign and refocus its grand strategy toward the Indo-­Pacific, primarily as a method to establish a rules-­based order with other like-­minded nations, especially democracies, to counterbalance the rise of an increasingly aggressive China.

  • Evaluating Civil Engineer Force Presentation Models for Agile Combat Employment

    This article examines the need for redesigned force presentation packages within the Air Force Civil Engineer community due to the return to Great Power Competition and the implementation of Agile Combat Employment (ACE). The author initiates the discussion by proposing a standardized lexicon for these emerging concepts, particularly concerning contingency basing. A recent RAND study proposed a base archetype model for classifying installations within the ACE construct. This paper discusses the advantages of this model and proposes a few modifications. The model, in turn, suggests how to redesign force presentation packages for modern operations. Finally, the author conducts a brief review of current progress toward implementing these redesigned force modules within the Civil Engineer community.

  • A US Response to China’s Aggression in the South China Sea and Overall Aim of Information Dominance

    This article lays out views relating to the operational environment and the desired end state (DES) in the South China Sea (SCS), and offers recommendations using elements of national power (diplomatic, information, military and economic) to confront China’s destabilizing actions in the region, interrupting trade, threatening sovereignty of other nations around the SCS, and limiting United States commercial and military access to the region in accordance with the Trump administration’s US National Security Strategy issued in 2017 and the Biden administration’s newly released INSSG. Most notable, though, this article makes a stronger argument for why the United States should focus more on China’s aim of information dominance. Led by the United States, immediate, focused actions involving key regional partners are needed in the SCS to maintain freedom of the seas for all allies in and beyond the region in accordance with international law.

  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and China’s Geopolitical Checkmate in the Indo-­Pacific Region

    This article explains the strategic importance of the RCEP and its role in China’s rise and declining credibility of the American opposition to it. Finally, using qualitative content analysis, the article argues that a successful RCEP amplifies the strategic ambiguity among the US regional allies and strategic partners linked in security arrangements like Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in their commitment to counter China and will further weaken the credibility of the American efforts to contain China’s rise in the Indo-­Pacific region.



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 Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. See our Publication Ethics Statement.