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Yokosuka discusses the strategic importance of the Quad

By Giorgii Mamisashvili for YCAPS

This past Wednesday January 17th Dr. Satoru Nagao, fellow (non-resident) at Hudson Institute, delivered a seminar in Yokosuka as part of the YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations series. The focus of his talk was the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and its implications for sustaining a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Following the seminar, numerous topics were touched upon during an engaging Q&A session.

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Japan's National Security Strategy identifies critical challengers in the Indo-Pacific—China, North Korea, and Russia, Dr. Nagao explained. These geopolitical dynamics underscore the necessity for a collaborative approach, positioning the Quad as a linchpin for regional stability. Examining China's territorial expansion reveals three recurring features—disregard for international law, expansion of territorial claims in power vacuums, and the use of economic dominance and non-military methods to extend influence. These recurring themes emphasize the strategic importance of the Quad in countering such expansionist endeavors.

Furthermore, Dr. Nagao added, this approach centers on respecting a rules-based order, maintaining a military balance, and integrating military and non-military policies into a cohesive strategy. This proactive stance serves to safeguard the Indo-Pacific from destabilizing influences. The evolving nature of the Quad signifies a shift from the traditional "Hub and Spoke" system to a more inclusive “network” system. This evolution welcomes the participation of like-minded countries, potentially including EU nations as well, such as France and Germany.

During the Q&A portion of the event, the involvement of the states was discussed, among other points. The potential involvement of all countries in the network system is considered, although convincing nations to join remains challenging. EU countries, notably France and Germany, might become part of this evolving network. In response to queries about the system's reception, willingness to participate is contingent on individual governments. Smaller nations may face pressure but exercise caution in choosing sides, presenting nuanced dynamics.

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Singapore's role in the Quad is intriguing, with the nation participating in naval exercises without explicitly confirming its involvement. The government's ambiguity reflects the complex dynamics surrounding the Quad's regional influence.

Dr. Nagao’s talk emphasized that in navigating the intricate geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, the Quad stands as a strategic imperative, fostering collaboration, upholding a rules-based order, and addressing shared challenges for the region's stability and prosperity. As countries contemplate their roles, nuanced perspectives emerge, emphasizing the Quad's pivotal role in shaping the future of the Indo-Pacific.