Forward Engagement: Rsis as a Think Tank of International Studies and Security in the Asia-Pacific
“In many ways, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) is a microcosm of the Singapore brand of government. The DNA of Singapore’s policymaking is its forward-looking nature. S. Rajaratnam talked about the captain of the ship and the qualities of the ‘Assabiya’ while Lee Kuan Yew articulated his wish for leadership foresight and the admiration for ‘helicopter quality’ candidates in policymaking. This was how RSIS’ mission began under the stewardship of the late President S.R. Nathan. RSIS began (as IDSS) in 1996 as a form of policymakers’ clairvoyant on security matters. To date, it is Singapore’s ‘frontline’ think tank on Asia-Pacific security, counter-terrorism, inter-religious dialogue and non-traditional security threats. The various contributors in this edited volume, Forward Engagement: RSIS as a Think Tank of International Studies and Security in the Asia-Pacific, have been stalwarts of the RSIS mission for the past 20 years. These are their reflections for posterity as well as their forward projections for their quasi-diplomatic and intellectual roles in the service of Singapore’s national security”–
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Sponsored by the China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (CNCPEC) and the United States Asia Pacific Council (USAPC) In 2014, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum celebrates its 25th anniversary in a vastly changed region and world. In Bogor, Indonesia, 20 years earlier, APEC committed to achieve free trade and investment in the region by 2020. In Beijing in 2014, China will again make regional economic integration an APEC priority. These papers draw on two conferences organized by the China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation and are published jointly with the United States Asia Pacific Council. As one contributor put it, APEC earns an “A” for its vision of regional economic integration, but its grade on execution remains “incomplete.” Yet pathways to the Bogor Goals are coming into focus. This book examines the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations from various perspectives, and considers possibilities for their consolidation into a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). It also explores regional connectivity and the proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Experts from nearly every APEC economy explore the benefits and challenges of regional economic integration. Their perspectives differ, but also reveal striking common ground. They offer practical recommendations for the Asian and trans-Pacific pathways–for ensuring their compatibility, and for promoting their convergence into an FTAAP. This book will be an invaluable reference for readers interested in the prospects for Asia-Pacific economic integration. It testifies to a little-celebrated, but invaluable, achievement of APEC: the rise of a sophisticated international community of experts who understand the region and collaboratively promote its long-term interests.
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“Unplanning is a wonderful read! It is beautifully written, it takes up extremely important and timely topics, and it offers a new and concrete approach to democracy and sustainability. I enjoy going back almost at random to read and re-read pages and passages from it. It’s very engaging and stimulating – and it should be read by every environmentalist.” – Prof. Charles Derber, author of Greed to Green The conventional wisdom says that we need strict planning to build walkable neighborhoods around transit stations – even though these neighborhoods are like the streetcar suburbs that were common in America before anyone heard of city planning. In reality, many of our greatest successes in urban design have occurred when we treated the issues as political questions – not as technical problems that the planners should solve for us. The anti-freeway movement of the 1960s and 1970s and the anti-sprawl movement of recent decades were both political movements, and citizen-activists often had to work against projects that planners proposed and approved. This book uses an intriguing thought experiment to show that, in order to build livable cities, we should go further than the anti-freeway and anti-sprawl movements by putting direct political limits on urban growth. Political choices about how we want to live can transform our cities more effectively than planning.