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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #79: March 10, 2003

International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

Journal Name: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific:
August 2002, Vol. 2, Nov. 2

Print ISSN: 1470-482X, Online ISSN: 1470-4838


A three bloc world? The new East Asian regionalism (pp167-195)
John Ravenhill (Department of Politics, The University of Edinburgh, UK)
East Asian governments have engaged in unprecedented collaboration on trade and financial matters since the economic crises of 1997. For some observers, such activity, building on a new sense of shared identity forged by resentment at Western responses to the crises, is a significant step towards the formation of an East Asian economic bloc. In reality, the new collaboration has produced only modest results. Neither an East Asian preferential trade agreement nor an Asian Monetary Fund is likely to materialize. Underlying power realities and fundamental economic interests are unchanged. The new interest in negotiating preferential trade agreements (many of which are with countries outside of East Asia) is best explained by government perceptions of the effectiveness of such arrangements elsewhere in the global economy, and by a desire to increase bargaining power.

Actions, practices and historical structures: the partition of India (pp197-221)
Sanjoy Banerjee (International Relations Department, San Francisco State University, USA)
This article develops an explanation of how actions emerge in succession. It shows how the actions of a subject, linked by relations of successful precedent, form practices. These practices cause each other, in specific ways, to repeat. These interdependent practices are self-reproducing historical structures. By reproducing itself in this way, a historical structure causes characteristic, uneven trends of historical change. An account of a historical structure therefore is the specification of its practices and of the ways in which they cause each other to repeat. The article presents an empirical demonstration of the theory with the case of the political process that led to the partition of the British Indian empire into India and Pakistan. The theory presented below is more elaborate, explicit and ontologically coherent than the conceptions of historical structures in the historical sociology literature. It has direct empirical reference, unlike the metatheoretical literature.

If not a clash, then what? Huntington, Nishida Kitarô and the politics of civilizations (pp223-243)
Christopher S. Jones (St Antony's College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK and Department of Politics and International Relations, Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK)
The debate surrounding Samuel Huntington's influential Clash of Civilizations thesis has been focused too narrowly on the accuracy of his categorization of civilizations. This focus has left the problem of the alleged inter-civilizational order incompletely theorized. In particular, two theoretical issues have been overlooked: first, can we really assume that civilizations are capable of and prone to clashing as if they were states and, second, surely a theory of global civilizations must be subject to itself, as a product of one such civilization. This paper explores the model of the inter-civilizational order theorized outside the 'West', by Nishida Kitarô in interwar Japan. A comparison with Huntington's vision demonstrates some radical differences in these models and their consequences for the role of Japan in the so-called 'new world order' of the 21st century. The conclusion suggests a need to theorize inter-civilizational relations as seriously as inter-national relations, but on different philosophical foundations, since the two describe qualitatively different aspects of coincident world orders. In particular, this paper calls attention to the special practical importance of non-Western traditions of political thought in an inter-civilizational world.

Japan's cautious new activism in the Middle East: a qualitative change or more of the same? (pp 245-263)
Jonathan Rynhold (Department of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University, Israel)
This article analyses Japanese policy towards the Middle East in the post-Cold War era. The article argues that Japanese policy has begun to move beyond the reactive diplomacy of the Cold War years. The focus of this new approach has been Japan's growing contribution to 'soft' security in the region. However, Japan retains a tendency to focus on its narrow interests without fully taking into account the broader strategic consequences of its policies. Yet, in order to protect its overall interests in the region, Japan needs to recognize the diminishing utility of this 'free rider' approach and adopt a more active role regarding 'hard' security issues. Even allowing for the domestic constraints on Japanese policy, there is much Japan can do in this regard, especially in coordination with the US.

International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (2002)
Copyright ©2002 Oxford University Press and the Japan Association of International Relations

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