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According to Robert Ayson's book on Asia's Security in terms of fragmentation, are Asia's main security problems domestic ones?

Ayson explains that issues of human security are uneven throughout Asia and thus must be looked at in their proper contexts. While he does point out that increased influence of the Armed Forces have reduced domestic security issues in several Asian countries, he also stresses that the topic is not that simple. He highlights that there are complex connections between domestic and transnational security issues. For example, consider how insurgencies in one country often provoke insurgencies in another.

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Ayson does not specifically state that Asia’s main security problems are or are not domestic. On one hand, he underscores that across Asia, “the experience of human security and insecurity is unevenly distributed” (Ayson 164). Different countries in the region have different experiences with civil liberties and economic development. It is thus essential that security is assessed in its specific context, as opposed to making a sweeping statement for all Asian countries.

Ayson also explores the complex relationship between internal security and external security. For example, he points out how when a country’s government prioritizes non-domestic security issues over domestic security issues, it may come at the cost of citizens's internal security needs. This can often prompt internal insurgencies, which in turn inspire and affect other nations.

Ayson defines “domestic security problems” as

challenges to the authority of the political unit which has sovereign rights and responsibilities in relation to that country’s territory and people (153).

He highlights that Asia has historically struggled with this issue. Yet he also explains that in many Asian countries, consolidation of power and an increased role of Armed Forces in domestic politics, have ensured little challenge to state authority.

There are exceptions to this point, as Ayson points about with his discussion of insurgencies. He asserts that violent insurgent struggles to replace the current power structure direct “security attention inwards” and hinder the government’s ability to focus on external defense (156). For example, he discusses how this has happened in the Philippines and Afghanistan. These cases also demonstrate the wide-reaching impact that internal security issues can have on other nations. For example, consider how insurgencies in Afghanistan expanded across borders and impacted other nations like India and Pakistan. This suggests that issues of domestic security are almost inseparable from issues of international security.

It is also important to note the point Ayson makes at the beginning of his chapter on this subject. He writes that sometimes analysts fail to take security problems across national borders seriously. They place too much focus on internal security problems that lack a large regional impact. It is therefore important to ensure proper attention is paid to both domestic and transnational security issues.

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