By Andrew Reynolds, 30 May  2014

Welcome to my blog. I am a graduate student studying for my Masters in International Relations. My research interests lie in security, trade and diplomacy, with a particular regional focus on Southeast Asia.

This is a fascinating period for those of us interested in international relations, with many key questions for us to consider. Is United States power fading? Is China a rising power? Does China have an overarching strategy and if so, what might it be?

Are more authoritarian leaders being emboldened by what they see as an increasingly isolationist United States, and is this really what we are seeing playing out in Syria, Ukraine and the South China Sea? Or has the US under President Obama grown more considered: carefully weighing risks before engaging in military diplomacy, and more considerate of the clear wishes of the developing world for their sovereignty to be respected?

Has the ‘Golden Age of Humanitarian Interventions’ – as some have referred to the 1990s – truly finished, and if so what does this mean for the security of citizens living in fragile states? As our regional partners and other ASEAN states continue to develop, should we continue to partner so closely with the United States in our strategic alliance as set out in recent Australian government policy documents here and here, or should we pursue a more independent foreign policy, as former Primer Minister Malcolm Fraser has recently proposed.

These are just some of the many questions we will be addressing in future posts, as we seek to understand the complex world of IR.