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Military Change in Asia

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Asia's growing share of the global economy provides one of the strongest themes in contemporary analysis of international affairs. The remarkable economic achievements of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan over the past 50 years have been compounded more recently by the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies. While the significance of this change in the way international wealth is shared was beyond doubt before the onset of the current global financial crisis, many commentators expect that when the world eventually emerges from the crisis Asia's share of the global economy will have grown even further. This shift clearly has strategic importance: economic decisions made in Asia, whether by governments or business, are now more important for the rest of the world than they have been for centuries. If military power were moving in the same direction, and at the same pace, the strategic consequences would be even greater. This paper examines trends in Asian military spending and modernisation. It begins with a summary of defence spending among Asian countries.1 It next considers the nature of the capabilities and equipment they are acquiring, and comments on the way in which forces are being structured, commanded, and managed. It then comments on the range of different factors that are driving military spending and modernisation in Asia, and offers particular comment on China in this regard. The paper then concludes with brief comments on United States and Australian military spending and development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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