The broken umbrella

Alliance and Alignments in Times of Strategic Uncertainty

webinar on 3 December 2021

This third webinar in the series (revisit the videos of session I on the USA and session II on the Asia-Pacific region) hosts guest speaker Thomas Wilkins, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for International Security Studies of the University of Sydney, for a lecture on ‘Alliance and Alignments in Times of Strategic Uncertainty’.

The realm of alliances and alignments has moved on since the Cold War era. But the fact that there have been no new formal military alliances since the 1960s, has done nothing to stem discussion about their potential (re-)emergence in the contemporary Indo Pacific, nor dampen scholarly fixation on them in the International Relations discipline. Even the Cold War “legacy” alliances of the US in Europe (NATO) and Asia are not what they used to be, derided by former US President Donald Trump and inadequately supported by their members. Is the traditional military defense pact becoming obsolete, or will it make a comeback in times of new strategic danger and uncertainty, perhaps in an unfamiliar guise?

Thomas S. Wilkins is a Senior Lecturer in International Security at the University of Sydney and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Japan Institute for International Affairs, and is currently working on the Sasakawa Peace Foundation project: “US alliances: a balance sheet”. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, UK, and completed his Post-Doctoral Studies at the University of San Francisco, and the East West Center, Honolulu. Since then he has been Ministry of Foreign Affairs Taiwan Fellow (Taiwan National University), Japan Foundation ‘Japan Studies’ Fellow, Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences Research Fellow (both at the University of Tokyo), and a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong, and at Keio University. He specializes in security issues in the Asia Pacific region and has published on this subject in journals such as the Review of International Studies, International Relations of the Asia Pacific and Australian Journal of International Affairs, among others. His book ‘Security in Asia Pacific: The Dynamics of Alignment’ was published with Lynne Rienner in February 2019. He is presently an Associate Editor for the journal Pacific Affairs and Area-Editor for Japanese Studies.

This will be followed by a response by Tanguy Struye de Swielande, Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences and Communication at UCLouvain.


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