Regional order in the South Pacific and Fiji’s challenge to it
Drawing from a body of leading literature on international and regional order, this thesis applies these concepts to the context of the South Pacific. Examining recent developments in the region through a framework of international order, and paying specific consideration to the regional operation of legitimacy, institutions and power dynamics, it seeks to shed light on the forces underpinning Fiji’s pursuit of regionalism through alternative institutional frameworks. In this, it concludes that Suva’s actions over the past decades constitute a challenge to the prevailing, Australian-New Zealand led regional order in the South Pacific, one that has occurred largely from a failure of Wellington and Canberra’s policymakers to appreciate first, changing power dynamics brought about by the entry of the “new players” into the region and second, divergent views throughout the region on what constitutes legitimate state conduct. Drawing these conclusions into the broader context of global international order, this thesis unpacks the distinct meanings and motivations underpinning these developments, and in doing so explores how regional developments have mirrored global trends in the American led liberal order, offering lessons for policymakers both within the region and beyond.