Monday 11 Oct 2021 | 15:29 | SYDNEY
Monday 11 Oct 2021 | 15:29 | SYDNEY

Government leak exposes holes in APC


Rory Medcalf


1 April 2009 10:33

For almost a year now, diplomats and analysts have been scratching their heads about what Kevin Rudd’s Asia-Pacific Community actually means. Something to do with architecture, but the details have been fuzzy. Which is why I am thrilled to announce that what I can only conclude is a leaked briefing document from Canberra has crossed my desk this morning. Make of it what you will:


Prime Minister

We all know that Asia-Pacific regional architecture has serious design flaws. But your proposal to fix it has been criticised for want of detail. Yet we face something of a policy trap here, because the more specifics we add, the larger a target we will offer to small-minded bilateralists and ungrateful ASEAN-centric subregionalists alike.

The solution is beautiful in its simplicity. We need to keep the target small. We should take inspiration from the real world of architectural minimalism, typified in Asia by the reductivist accomplishments of Tadao Ando.

At the rate things are going, we will soon see the United States and Russia in the East Asia Summit. That would mean in effect a 10-3-3-2 arrangement, alongside the existing ASEAN-1 and ASEAN-3 structures, not to mention the numberless chaos that is APEC. Hardly elegant.

Our goal is therefore clear. We should aim by 2020 to have achieved a 10-3-3-2-2-3-3-10=0 arrangement.  Next to this, even Bush-era unilateralism will look unwieldy, cluttered and downright Pollyannaish.  It will be the world’s first triumph of unlateralism.  And then we really will be able to get by without diplomats.

Senior Adviser, Regional Architecture and Exterior Design

1 April, 2009