The Indo-Pacific After COVID-19

The United States, more than any other country, will determine which direction the Quad goes.

In late March, senior officials from the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a loose coalition of the Indo-Pacific’s four most powerful democracies, quietly launched a series of meetings aimed at forging a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic. “The Quad” (comprising Japan, Australia, India and the United States) has come to symbolize both the grand plans of those seeking to cement the Indo-Pacific’s status quo and the more complicated reality of a region in flux. On paper, the Quad makes sense as a potent alliance capable of pooling immense resources and leveraging distinct geographic advantages to limit Chinese influence and deter Chinese attempts to establish military dominance in the Indo-Pacific — especially if other regional states such as Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea could be enticed to join. In reality, though, the Quad has been slow to coalesce into something equaling more than the sum of its parts, due in large part to economic fears of antagonizing China and inadequate budgets that cannot keep up with China’s breakneck military modernization. Though military cooperation has increased modestly among its members, the grouping itself has struggled to implement any substantive joint initiatives, much less forge an integrated security alliance capable of pulling off complex […]

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Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.