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The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet bloc have created new regional security challenges and several conflicts at the edges of the European Union. The wars in the Balkans in the 1990s, the Kosovo issue up until proclamation of independence on 17 February 2008 and the troubles in the Caucasus illustrated by the clash between Russia and Georgia in the summer of 2008 have all been studied by GRIP from the viewpoint of the European Union’s foreign policy. The internationalisation of conflicts connected with the ‘war on terror’ led by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the implications for the European Union are also a focus of GRIP’s research.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Security Council Considers Situation in Iraq
Security Council meeting during its consideration of the situation in Iraq.
Location: United Nations, New York
Date: 14 November 2008
Wikimedia Commons
(Peacekeepers barracks. Dmitrij Steshin)
Australia rising to the Chinese Challenge (Bruno Hellendorff)

With the borderless economy developing and multipolarity becoming a reality, China has succeeded in taking the lead of a dynamic that pushes Asia ever more to the centre of the global geopolitical landscape. In the Asia-Pacific region, such a development constitutes a dramatic challenge to regional stability, as Beijing’s long-term strategic ambitions remain clouded with concerns and uncertainty. Countries faced by this destabilizing process have so far displayed quite a mixed response to the challenge. Among those, Australia has developed a composite policy that combines a targeted engagement of China with hedging and balancing behaviors, under the label of “middle power diplomacy”, one that aims to uphold its regional high profile.

In this article, GRIP’s research fellow Bruno Hellendorff seeks to unravel Canberra’s rationale when engaging China and determine whether the current emphasis on multilateralism displayed by officials of both sides gradually supplants, complements, or barely overlays the traditional bilateral ties and mechanisms of power politics, and if the trend is likely to be sustained.

Other Analyses:
Iran. Looking eastwards: The Islamic Republic's Asian policy (Mohammad-Reza Djalili and Thierry Kellner)

In religious, cultural and historic symbiosis with the Indian world since the dawn of time, enmeshed in a relationship of mutual respect and exchange with China for a very long time, and fascinated by the experience of Japanese modernisation since the end of the nineteenth century, Iran has always maintained very close relationships with the Indian sub-continent and the Far East. Although in the nineteenth century these relationships were reduced to the bare essentials, since the decade of the 1990s (the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR, followed by the rise in US hegemony and the 11 September 2001 attacks), Iran has expanded and consolidated relations with India, China and Japan in terms of politics, business and energy, to such an extent that one can legitimately talk of an “Eastward focus”. Through its Asian culture, the Islamic Republic, a key state in South-West Asia, has been attempting to take its place in the Asian geopolitical chess game. Objectives Iran is pursuing include reducing its dependence on Europe, improving national security, acquiring military equipment, accessing nuclear technology and escaping from pressure from the United States. That does not mean that Teheran is neglecting relations with Malaysia, North and South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and the central Asian republics, but its Asian policy focusses first and foremost on developing special relationships with the three Asian giants, India, China and Japan ...

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