Asia’s Security Competition by Proxy: Competitive HADR as a Respectable Arena?

  • Alan Chong
  • Il Woo Lee


Following recent events such as Cyclone Nargis impacting Myanmar, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and more recently the MH370 incident, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) has emerged as a new field of security competition in Asia. While dominant analytical narratives seem to treat HADR as an avenue for hard power to transfigure itself into soft power, this chapter asserts that HADR does not fit neatly into a liberal security paradigm. HADR is actually a form of security competition by proxy, implying that there are neoliberal and neorealist possibilities in states engaging in HADR campaigns. HADR allows states to promote images of national technological superiority, models of good governance and low risk yet high signature contingency deployments of both armed forces and civilian forces. This is perhaps a security competition that allows national rivalries to play out without the risk of outright war. The three illustrative cases mentioned above will support the argument.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Chong
    • 1
  • Il Woo Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Multilateralism StudiesS. Rajaratnam School of International StudiesSingaporeSingapore

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