The Arms Race in Asia
Trends, causes and implications
Routledge – 2014 – 246 pages
Series: Asian Security Studies
This book is the first systematic examination of the emerging arms race in Asia.
The global trade in arms is to a large degree underpinned by the strong demand for arms in Asia and the Middle East, the two largest arms export markets in the world. Of these two regions Asia has become particularly significant, led by the emergence of China and India as major powers. It is therefore not surprising that the rapid military modernisation in Asia, accompanied by significant increases in the size and sophistication of armed forces, has generated attention as to its trends, key characteristics, causes and implications. This phenomenon, which has become evident since the end of the Cold War, has also been widely described as an Asian 'arms race'.
This book evaluates the key conceptual ideas which can shed light on this phenomenon, as well as examining the complex mix of internal, external and technological factors that have led to its emergence. The volume explores the way in which the arms race is leading ultimately to three distinctive blocs in the emerging geostrategic landscape: a loose bloc of US allies in the region; a counter-bloc of potential US adversaries; and a neutral bloc of states with industrial age armed forces whose allegiances will vary according to circumstances and geostrategic developments. The Arms Race in Asia concludes that if the emerging arms race is left unchecked, it is likely that Asia will increasingly become a region of instability, marked by conflicts and interstate wars.
The book will be of great interest to students of Asian politics, strategic studies, defence studies, security studies and IR in general.
‘As the centre of gravity of global politics shifts to Asia, it is imperative to understand the military dynamic in the region, especially as by most accounts the Asian region remains primed for conflict. Tan's meticulous work on the causes and consequences of an emerging arms race in Asia will go a long way in shaping the theoretical and policy debate on this very crucial aspect of a rising Asia.’ -- Harsh V. Pant, King's College London
‘Tan has done a great service with this comprehensive, systematic and clearly presented assessment of the remarkable military advances among Asia’s highly competitive governments. The region’s economic miracle is accompanied by pervasive suspicion and reliance on ever greater military power, prompting security dilemmas and forecasts of increased tension and instability.’ -- Robert Sutter,George Washington University, USA
'Emerging as the "Asian century", could the twenty-first century avoid the devastating history of Europe repeating itself in Asia? A. Tan thoroughly examines this question, supporting his interesting observations with empirical data and theoretical considerations. '--Yaacov Lifshitz, BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Israel
1. The Asian Arms Race Phenomenon 2. Conceptualising the Arms Race in Asia 3. Trends in the Asian Arms Race 4. Causes of the Asian Arms Race 5. Implications of the Arms Race in Asia 6. Conclusions
Andrew T. H. Tan is an Associate Professor and Convenor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He has published fourteen books and many journal articles and book chapters.