Finian Cullity reviews 'Restless Continent' by Michael Wesley

Australia does not have a great tradition of writers producing books on international affairs for a general audience. Along with others like Hugh White, Michael Wesley – a former head of the Lowy Institute now based at the Australian National University – is helping to correct this.

His previous work, There Goes the Neighbourhood: Australia and the Rise of Asia (2011), won the John Button Prize for writing on public policy and politics. Wesley's latest book, Restless Continent: Wealth, Rivalry and Asia's New Geopolitics, has some similarities with that earlier work. Both are concerned with the nature and future of Asian economics and geopolitics, and how these are influenced by history and culture; and both are written in an energetic, accessible style. But whereas There Goes the Neighbourhood was focused more on Australia's role in Asia, Restless Continent concentrates on Asia's internal dynamics. The result is a sober, though not depressing, work.

Asia, according to Wesley, is being shaped by two 'trends' (an increasing economic interdependence and 'strategic claustrophobia') and two 'conditions' (a cultural sensitivity to hierarchy, which leads to rivalry, and a fluctuating military balance of power playing out in a distinctive geography).

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.