October 21, 2010

Resources in the Strategic Asia Series

A few weeks back a few colleagues and I went to the release event for this year’s edition of the Strategic Asia series, released annually by the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Über-colleague Abe Denmark presented at this event on his chapter in the current volume. CNAS co-founder and now State Department East Asia honcho Kurt Campbell also delivered a keynote address. All in all, it was a mini-CNAS party.

I’ve read a few previous editions of Strategic Asia (and am partially through the current one), and have always appreciated its attention to natural security issues. But this year’s edition seems to trump all previous years. Of its 10 chapters, 3 are dedicated to important, emerging natural security issues:

This got me wondering how many chapters in previous editions were dedicated to resources. Here’s the breakdown:

Edition Year

Chapters on Resources
2001/02 0
2002/03 0 (these first two years, chapters were almost solely broken down by country)
2003/04 < 1 (a chapter on demographics, which I’ll call a resources-related topic)
2004/05 1.5 (one chapter on energy explicitly, another on science and technology)
2005/06 0
2006/07 2 (and I’d bet that every chapter is heavily imbued with natural resources talk, as this volume is called Trade, Interdependence, and Security.
2007/08 1 (provocatively titled Environmental (In)security in Asia: Challenging U.S. Interests)

1 (on water)

2009/10 0

Of course, the goose-eggs here don’t necessarily mean these issues weren’t highlighted in those volumes. In fact, the Strategic Asia series has always done a great job of including both traditional threats and unconventional challenges, and natural resources issues in particular. The slicing and dicing of certain editions just means that for some you’ll need to use the index to find the coverage on natural resources, not the table of contents. And if you haven’t read any books in this series before, you should add them to your annual reading lists. You won’t regret it.