Geostrategic Cluster Findings - The Future of Asia: Implications for Canada

Executive Summary

Asia is characterized by the wide contrast between its deeply-entrenched system of discrete nation-states, and its high connectivity with the global economy. On one hand, this disparity explains much about the origins of its numerous simmering inter-state tensions; on the other hand, it exemplifies aspirations for greater regional and global economic integration. Finding a consensus on how to reconcile this gap to encourage further economic development is a primary pre-occupation for the region’s geo-strategists.

Driven by significant economic, defence and security changes in the region and beyond, Asia has become a centre of geopolitical power. Asian countries are undertaking initiatives to foster greater regional economic integration and security cooperation that could reshape the geopolitical dynamics of the region and the world over the next 10-15 years. Asian countries are also investing heavily in military modernization on the land, sea, air and space fronts, which may alter the regional and global military balance in the years to come.

At the same time, Asian governments may be preoccupied with the rapid growth and convergence of non-traditional security threats such as cyber security issues, food and water insecurity, catastrophic climatic events and natural disasters, as well as the emergence of increasingly networked extremist and organized crime groups. Addressing these challenges and mitigating potential disruptions may test the collective capacity of Asian governments and non-state stakeholders, as these threats do not necessarily respect international borders.

This study, by no means exhaustive, identifies and explores some of these significant geostrategic shifts in Asia, with a view to understanding the implications for Canadian foreign, defence and security policy in the next 10-15 years.

The following table summarizes the key geostrategic changes (insights) that are shaping Asia and the potential policy challenges and opportunities for Canada addressed in this study.

The full report can be read here.