The Rising Powers Initiative consists of five distinct projects:
“Worldviews of Aspiring Powers“ focuses on identifying and tracking the internal foreign policy debates in five countries: China, Japan, India, Russia, and Iran. By understanding how these major and aspiring powers think about their own national security, international economic policymaking, identity and power, and the role of the United States in the world, this project will illuminate the implications for U.S. global leadership in the twenty-first century. “Worldviews of Aspiring Powers” is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
“Power and Identity in Asia“ is interested in whether international relations in Asia in the foreseeable future are likely to be characterized by cooperation and regional integration or by security tensions and interstate war. The research will assess the dominant security orientations of China, India, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN regarding U.S. leadership in Asia, and how these are affected by variations in national identities. This project is supported by a grant from the Asia Security Initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
“Asia’s Economic Challenges“ examines the regional and global economic influence of aspiring Asian powers, with a focus on the economic policies of China, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea. In particular, this project will investigate the growth of resource nationalism and competition for energy; the external impact of China’s economic and financial policies; India’s global investment policies; and the strategic implications of regional economic interdependence. “Asia’s Economic Challenges” is supported by the George Washington University’s Office of the Vice President for Research.
“Nuclear Debates in Asia” – supported by the MacArthur Foundation – tracks the domestic debates and discussion on nuclear power and nonproliferation in eight countries in Asia: China, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. This particular mix draws insights from countries at varying stages of nuclear power planning and acquisition. The findings from this project will enhance the capacity of policymakers in the United States to not only understand the interactive nature of Asian domestic opinion on nuclear issues, but also help to evolve policy that will contribute to strengthening nuclear and strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific. The project will make use of the “schools of thought” framework developed through the recently completed “Worldviews of Aspiring Powers” project. An edited volume tentatively titled The Nuclear Debate in Asia: Balancing Risks and Rewards will be published in July 2016 (Rowman & Littlefield).
“Energy Security and Maritime Strategies in the Indo-Pacific” – supported by the MacArthur Foundation – investigates the domestic political processes through which five pivotal Asian states – China, India, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam – formulate their energy and maritime security policies. This research project will address the debate between those who see security competition and conflict in the energy and maritime arena as inevitable and those who see more market-oriented approaches to energy security by unpacking the domestic political dynamics in each of the five countries of this project. Our working hypothesis is that the linkage of energy and maritime security discourses at both the elite and public levels has the potential of producing coalitional logrolling between energy and military interests and institutions on behalf of energy mercantilism and nationalistic military policies. We propose that this domestic logrolling, rather than an inevitable logic based on the international system and the dominant theory of “structural realism,” fuels inter-state rivalry and increases the risk of military conflict regarding energy resources, the security of sea lanes, and maritime territorial disputes.