In this Centre of Gravity paper, Christopher B. Roberts, Director of the National Asian Studies Centre at the University of Canberra and a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, argues that Francis Fukuyama’s famous ‘end of history’ thesis is being challenged by China’s rise. Beijing’s capitalist authoritarian approach to development and international influence is now threatening Indo-Pacific stability.
Drawing on his forthcoming book, The South China Sea: Maritime Security and the Rules-based Order, Dr. Roberts argues that China’s actions in the South China Sea represent a strategic precedent for how it will secure its interests over other disputes, such as the India-China Border, the East China Sea, and Taiwan. In contrast, policy responses by rules-based states have largely been reactive with a short-term focus on narrow self-interest. Dr. Roberts concludes with eight policy recommendations for how regional states can work together to force a shift in Beijing’s strategies and uphold the rules-based order.