Research projects

Are the regional great powers back? Germany and Japan in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine War

Days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Olaf Scholz spoke of a Zeitenwende requiring a reinvention of Germany’s security policy. A few months later, Japan released a groundbreaking security strategy based on the recognition of a “historical inflection point.” The German and Japanese reactions suggest sudden course corrections. Until recently middle power-oriented, their security policies now stress the need for robust armed forces and deterrence and for a more confrontational posture vis-à-vis Russia and China. Are Germany and Japan reemerging as great powers? No, because democratic middle powers under the American military umbrella are reactive entities affected by path dependence in security policy.

Why is China’s Foreign Policy Self-Defeating? When Ontological Security imperils National Security

This research project looks at Beijing’s growingly assertive behavior and explores its causes. New is the increasing simultaneity of Chinese provocative actions. If China had previously worked to lower resulting tensions in order to avoid struggles on different fronts, it has recently put less emphasis on mitigation measures. Worse, Beijing is often doubling down on initial provocations, resulting in protracted rivalries. The ongoing institutionalization of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), made of Australia, India, Japan and the United States, the conclusion of the technology-sharing agreement Aukus between the latter, Australia and the United Kingdom, the rising number of European countries devising Indo-Pacific strategies and regional players’ unilateral military buildups are all instances of counteractions to recent trends in Chinese foreign policy. This begs the questions: Why is China seemingly acting as if self-encirclement was the ultimate objective? Why does Beijing persist in what appears a self-defeating foreign policy, unable to adapt to a changing international environment?