Contest for the Indo-Pacific by Rory Medcalf | Black Inc.

Contest for the Indo-Pacific: Why China Won't Map the Future

Free delivery anywhere in Australia

About the author

Rory Medcalf

Rory Medcalf is a professor and Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University. His experience as an Australian diplomat includes postings to New Delhi, Tokyo and Papua New Guinea. He was a senior strategic analyst in Australia’s …

More about Rory Medcalf



Praise for Contest for the Indo-Pacific

‘Rory Medcalf helped to pioneer the concept that Asia’s emerging geopolitical order would best be understood as a fusing of the Indian and Pacific Oceans into a new Indo-Pacific framework. With this book he explains the rich tapestry of emerging regional dynamics and the evolution of a geopolitical concept that has been embraced by maritime Japan, India, Australia and the United States but contested by continental China. Medcalf makes a compelling case that the competition to define “Asia” is about more than just a name – it is about ideas, alignment and power. This is a competition that cannot be avoided but one that could bend the arc of history towards an open, inclusive and rules-based equilibrium among the major powers if successfully waged. Medcalf’s book is essential reading for any scholar or practitioner seeking to understand the geopolitics of a region that will define all our futures.’ —Michael J. Green, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Georgetown University, author of By More Than Providence and Arming Japan 

‘The Indo-Pacific is an idea whose time has come. Rory Medcalf has been crucial to both defining and promoting the idea of an Indo-Pacific region – and has now written a fast-paced and fascinating guide to this vital strategic concept.’ —Gideon Rachman, author of Easternisation and Zero-Sum Future 

‘Rory Medcalf gives us a fast-paced ride around the world’s newest, and most important, strategic arena. He has done more than anyone to introduce the world to the idea of the Indo-Pacific and this book is a convincing manifesto for a new vision of connectedness. This is the world with all the difficult bits left in.’ —Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia, and Associate Fellow, Chatham House 

‘This engaging mental map of the Indo-Pacific and its regional origins is a rare security studies book that treats economics and ideational elements as integral to the challenge China poses for front-line states like Australia. All of us struggling to understand great power competition need to become ambidextrous if we are to develop policies to cope with a rising – or a collapsing – China, and learning from Rory Medcalf’s Contest for the Indo-Pacific is a great place to start.’ —Kori Schake, Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Strategic Studies

‘Elegant and absorbing … Optimistic, yet realistic about the possibilities of war and conflict, this is an essential guide.’ —Bookseller & Publisher

‘Rory Medcalf has written a masterful tutorial on the Indo-Pacific, which even the US recognizes is a holistic geopolitical force. Tightly organized and appealingly written, this is a superb primer on understanding the history, the power and the future implications of this potential economic juggernaut. A must-read, in my view, for laymen and experts alike.’ —James Clapper, former director of US National Intelligence

‘The complexities of our region can easily bewilder those used to the Manichaean simplicity of the Cold War. Rory Medcalf’s book is an elegant, keenly insightful tour of the Indo Pacific’s strategic horizon.’ —Malcolm Turnbull

‘For the many nations finding their way around an unpredictable America and an assertive China, this book offers new choices from an ancient map. It holds ideas with power.’ —Peter Hartcher, political and international editor of The Sydney Morning Herald

‘Rory Medcalf was among the first few to see the unfolding integration of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and unpack its strategic significance amidst the widespread scepticism that greeted the concept. In Contest for Indo-Pacific, Medcalf offers deep insights into the origin of the idea, deconstructs the power dynamics shaping the region and delineates potential pathways to limit the conflict. A rich and rewarding read for any one interested in a region that promises to define the geopolitics of the twenty-first century.’ —C. Raja Mohan, Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

‘A vital contribution to this important ongoing discussion’ —Penny Wong

‘A letter to the Indo-Pacific that is fundamentally optimistic about the role that Australia can play … A deeply insightful and timely contribution.’ —Marise Payne

‘Medcalf is an intellectual who writes like a journalist … He is a thinker who has helped redefine Australia’s region and the scope of that region.’ —Graeme Dobell, The Strategist

‘Rory Medcalf‘s new book offers by far the most comprehensive, as well as the most engaging, argument for [the concept of the Indo-Pacific] that we have yet seen.’ —Hugh White, The Australian Financial Review