Book reviews


Maritime Security and Indonesia: Cooperation, Interests, and Strategies by Senia Febrica (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017

Unresolved Border, Land and Maritime Disputes in Southeast Asia: Bi-and Multinational Conflict Resolution Approaches and ASEAN’s Centrality, edited by Alfred Gerstl and Mária Strašáková (Leiden: Brill, 2017)

Reviewed in Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Vol. 54, No. 2 (2018): pp. 270-274


The two books advance our understanding of the different historical and policy contexts surrounding territorial disputes and security cooperation in Southeast Asia. They bring a much-needed corrective to the prevailing policy narrative that geopolitical dynamics and great power politics drive regional states’ security behaviour. Both books show that Southeast Asian states formulate their own set of strategic interests and calculate which policies benefit their positions

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2016 Defence White Paper (Commonwealth of Australia, 2016) (available here)

Reviewed in Security Challenges, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2016), pp. 165-170


As Canberra gradually abandons traditional security-centric assumptions about Indonesia, the DWP2016 sets the tone of the bilateral relationship in geo-economic terms. While DWP2016 provides a broader space for cooperation by highlighting the strategic goal of common prosperity, the changing strategic landscape — particularly the South China Sea and the US-China strategic rivalry — casts a long shadow over assessments of Jakarta’s regional leadership


Condemned to Crisis? By Ken Ward. Sydney: Penguin Books and Lowy Institute for International Policy, 2015. Hardcover: 152pp

Reviewed in Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 37, No. 3 (2015), pp. 505–8


Condemned to Crisis? could not have come at a better time. While Indonesia–Australia bilateral relations have often been subject to ups and downs, the roller coaster ride seems to have grown more erratic in recent years. Indeed, lunging from crisis to crisis has seemingly become “the new normal” in how Jakarta and Canberra deal with one another, even as Australian observers maintain that a warm relationship with Indonesia is invaluable


Who Wins? Predicting Strategic Success and Failure in Armed Conflict by Patricia L. Sullivan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 177pp.,

Reviewed in Political Studies Review, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2014): pp. 283-284


This short book is an ambitious attempt to tackle some of the big questions in the field of international security. Why do great powers lose wars against much weaker opponents? Under what conditions can actors employ military force to achieve their political objectives? Why do actors decide to go to war and what determines their ability to prevail?


Neorealism, States, and the Modern Army by Joao Resende-Santos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp.334.

Reviewed in Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 45, No. 3 (2012), pp. 431-4


This book’s chief value lies in being the first systematic attempt to provide a building block to our understanding of cross-national military diffusion and emulation, an under-developed and under-studied subject, and its attempt to refine Waltzian neo-realist theory