Explaining contemporary Asian military modernization: the myth of Asia's arms race

Sheryn Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book proposes a novel theoretical framework of ‘interactive arming’, in order to explain armament dynamics in contemporary Asia.

Frequently, the modernisation of contemporary naval forces in Asia is described as an "arms race", with the underlying assumption being that weapons acquisitions and increases in defense expenditure are competitive and bilateral and due to conflicting purposes or mutual fears. This book argues that the concept of an ‘arms race’ is an unsuitable one for explaining contemporary military modernisation in 21st century Asia. Instead, it proposes a novel and innovative concept of ‘interactive arming’, and argues that what drives conflict is political rivalry and not weapons acquisitions. Instead of perceiving of arming as abnormal behavior, the book views arming as a natural strategic behavior of states and military modernisation as a basic requirement for a state’s ability to survive.

This book will be of much interest to students of Asian security, strategic studies and International Relations in general.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages188
ISBN (Electronic)9781000377675, 9781003050773
ISBN (Print)9780367506780, 9780367506834
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameAsian Security Studies


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