A clubby approach to regional security
Some might harbor high hopes of a progressive triumph of substance folowing the style displayed by security chiefs at the recent Shangri- La Dialogue held in Singapore.
A robust regional security architecture is the ultimate goal but one should have no illusion about the speed wth which it can be built. Much work and uncertainties lie ahead. Still, laying on the charm while pushing forward beats trading barbs any day.
This was evident in the diplomatic approach of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and in the poise of Chinese delegates on the sidelines of the conference. Bus as China’s Major-general Yao Yunzhu demonstrated in her grilling of bigwigs, significant policy shifts in Beijing will not come easily. Neither, of course , is the US about to go soft on its “rebalance toward Asia” strategy and its accusations of cyber spying.
Even as more collaboration is promoted in regional security networks, rising nationalism will lead to belligerent acts played out publicy when incidents arise.
None of these infulence the tone and style of the security forums.