Seminar: Uncertainties in the Relationships between Great and Small Powers in Asia


About the Seminar

Reflecting the lack of a clear structure to international relations more generally, the Indo-Pacific has become a region where uncertainty has become the main characteristic of relations between Great Powers, as well as between them and smaller countries. The Trump administration has yet to articulate a policy towards Asia and meanwhile it is not clear who speaks for the administration on particular issues, or indeed what are Trump’s priorities in foreign affairs and on China in particular. For example, how far will Trump go in pressing China to toughen its policies towards North Korea, or to change its trade policies? Smaller countries such North Korea and the Philippines have at times openly defied their allies and longtime protectors – China and the US respectively – without adverse consequences. Much vaunted trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been halted or abandoned. I shall argue, however, that the disorder is more apparent than real. The Great Powers of the region are more focused on domestic issues and these would be imperiled if they allowed mutual antagonisms to grow into major military conflicts. Likewise for the smaller countries, the one major achievement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is largely unheralded, is that its member states have also avoided military conflict despite their many deep antagonisms.

About the Speaker

Michael Yahuda is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he served from 1973 to 2003. Prior to that he was a lecturer in the Politics Department of the University of Southampton from 1966 to 1973. Since coming to the US in August 2003 he has served as a Visiting Scholar at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. He enjoys an international reputation as a specialist on China’s foreign relations and on the international politics of East Asia. He has authored and edited ten books, the latest being, The International Politics of the Asia Pacific (3rd revised edition, 2011) and Sino-Japanese Relations after the Cold War: Two Tigers Sharing a Mountain (2013) He has also written more than 250 scholarly articles and chapters in books.


To register, please fill in this form and email it to by 17 April 2017.


Apr 18 2017


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2