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PacNet #34 – The Role of Armed Forces in Regional Security Cooperation

I am struck by the stark difference between my social discussions with military counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region and business colleagues’ discussions with their counterparts. In my discussions, when the plates are cleared and the last cups of tea are served, I am warned that I cannot trust the country that I am going to next, or the one that I just came from. Just look at history Yet my private colleagues’ discussions, when the business of the day is done, are mainly about their children going to school and setting up businesses in each other’s countries. Many military counterparts are thinking in terms of long-term rivalries. Most other leaders and citizens are thinking in terms of long-term cooperation. How can we build the security structures for a peaceful, cooperative Asia?