(Project of the Kajima Institute of International Peace)

The Network Hegemony Theory for a Security Architecture in The Asia Pacific Region

Masahiro Akiyama
Chairman, the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies


The Asia Pacific region is now a center of economic growth in the world. No large-scale war took place for the past half century with the exception of the Vietnam War. I believe that a comparatively safe and stable situation in the region has contributed to the high economic growth. Safety and stability should be maintained for the further economic development in the region

I would therefore like to discuss the following questions: Is there a security architecture in the region? Do we have to transform such an architecture into an international framework?

The current security arrangement in the Asia Pacific region

First, in this region there is an alliance network in a hub (the U.S.) and spoke type. The Japan-US alliance is one of them.

Second, there are multilateral security related organizations in Asia; the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN+3 (Japan, China, Korea), the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM+), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the ASEAN Community, and the East Asia Summit (EAS). Are they security architectures?

There is an opinion that the Asia Pacific region should introduce an organization like NATO or the EU. The EU has a function as a security architecture.

Professor Ken Jimbo analyzed the region's security status in three layers. The first layer includes bilateral alliances with the US and their networking. The second layer is an ad-hoc security cooperation, and the third one is the institutionalizing of regional security cooperation like the ADMM+.

I will show what security models (theories) are applied to the Asia Pacific region as follows.

Hegemonic Stability/Balance of Power Model

First, the hegemonic stability model means that a major power like the US establishes the hegemony through its economic and military power and provides stability and order as international public goods. The reality is that two or more major powers (hegemonic states) exist and they try to balance powers instead of extending hegemony to others. Peace and stability are secured with a balance of powers among hegemonic states.

I call this status "the hegemonic stability/balance of power model".

In this paper I use the term "hegemony" in a positive meaning as the hegemony provides an international order that is a public good, to secure peace and stability in the region.

Collective Defense Model

Second, many bilateral military alliances with the US exist in this region. The Japan-US alliance, the Korea-US alliance, the Australia-US alliance etc. deter and prevent military conflicts in the region. This is called a hub and spoke alliance system.

We can see the same model in the China-Russia strategic partnership. In the region there is not a multilateral security treaty for collective defense such as NATO.

I call this status "the collective defense model". This model is believed to be a last resort (using military power) for securing states in an anarchy of international relations' situation.

Cooperative/Collective Security Model

Third, in Europe the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) started after the end of the Cold War replacing the CSCE that was launched during the Cold War. This is a typical cooperative security system. In the Asia Pacific region, the ASEAN launched in 1967 has developed the ARF, the ASEAN+3, the ADMM+ in security fields. The ASEAN Community, the EAS and the EAS Community have been recently focused on from security viewpoints.

On the other hand, the UN peace keeping operations have achieved results under a collective security concept.

These systems mentioned above are not expected to use military powers. In this sense they share a common character.

I call this situation "the cooperative/collective security model".

Comprehensive Security Model

Current security discussions cover a broad area, including issues of economy, energy, food, disaster, environment, poverty, terrorism and so on. The late Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira launched a special committee that submitted a report on a comprehensive security concept in 1980. This concept is characterized as a security system that uses military powers as little as possible to secure peace and stability by engaging in a broad area.

I call this "the comprehensive security model".

Functioning of the four Models with a Security Governance

I would say that these 4 models function in a parallel fashion in the Asia Pacific region.

The US hegemonic power has declined. As the rising powers like China and India have expanded their sphere of influence, several major powers have built hegemonic powers with balancing powers among them. These major states include China, India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia other than the US and Russia.

At the same time the ARF, the ADMM+, the EAS have provided the cooperative security to some extend and the UN PKO has played active roles. The cooperative/collective security model works well.

In many cases security dialogues and security cooperation have engaged in broad issues including economy, energy, food, disaster and so on. You can see such a discussion at the ARF and the ADMM+ meetings. The comprehensive security is functioning.

The collective defense model works basically as a last resort to defense each country from military attacks.

What is important is that these 4 models work in a parallel due to different situations and conditions related to security situations in this region. It means that different security works are managed in a whole, which in general is described as a governance. This governance can be thought a security architecture.

Engagement of several states with Forming a Network Hegemony - Network Hegemonic Stability Model

These models mentioned above are engaged by as many states as having will and ability to the security in the region. Several major powers are engaged in the case of the hegemonic stability/balance of power model. Many states are involved in the cooperative/collective security model.

The importance is that there are special relations among these states, which can be defined as a network. The network is not meant a just mutual relation. They move on the same direction. This direction is the provision of international public goods. In other words, the network provides public goods for peace and stability in the region. As I define the hegemony as a body that provides international goods, I can call this system "the network hegemonic stability model".

In further discussions the network hegemony can be called "the Pax Amicitia" replacing the Pax Americana. As the word "Amicitia" has a meaning of friendly, we can use the Pax Amicitia instead of the Pax Americana as "friendly states with a will and an ability" provide international public goods. There is no word in Latin for "network".

With regards to the network hegemony I want to touch one more point. I discussed the network among players. We can also recognize a network among models, the hegemonic stability/balance of power model, the collective defense model, the cooperative/collective security model and the comprehensive security model.

The cooperative/collective security model depends on the hegemonic stability/balance of power model. The cooperative/collective model and the comprehensive security model are two sides of the same coin that represent an institute and an objective respectively. The comprehensive security model is dependent on the collective defense model. Recognizing of a network among several security models is helpful to understand the network hegemony theory and operate the model efficiently.

Institutionalization of the Network Hegemony

The image of institutionalized network hegemony is like the NATO in the Asia Pacific region. But it is not easy to realize in near future. Instead, I try to envisage an idea as follows.

The EAS includes as the members many states like the ASEAN member states, the US, Japan, China, Russia, India, Australia and so on. They launch a special committee, "Security Consultative Committee" to discuss security issues. The committee is seasonally held and they discuss what security actions have been taken for a past one year. The committee is not set to decide something but to just discuss among the members.

I think it is not difficult to set up such a committee and even the just discussion will bring a big influence on the peace and stability in the region.

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