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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #230: March 10, 2006

International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

Journal Name: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific:
2006, Vol. 6, No. 1

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


Japan's emerging role as a 'global ordinary power' (pp1-21)
Takashi Inoguchi (Graduate School of Public Policy, Chuo University, Japan) and Paul Bacon (School of International Liberal Studies, Waseda University, Japan)
In this article we argue that since 1945 Japanese foreign policy has evolved through five phases, which will culminate in Japan's re-emergence as a global ordinary power. We then discuss three potential models of ordinary power that are ideal-typical in nature, but which share some qualities with the respective political circumstances of France, Germany, and Britain. We also consider the legitimacy and capacity deficits that Japan possesses, and the way in which recent electoral developments may contribute to the addressing of these deficits. We argue that Japan is using the British model as a foundation for the acquisition of ordinary power status. In doing so it is increasingly binding itself to the United States. But such a move can also provide a platform from which to develop the possibilities that lie beyond bilateralism (plus), in the realm of the German model, and wider regional cooperation.

One administration, two voices: US China policy during Bush's first term (pp23-36)
Jia Qingguo (School of International Studies, Peking University, China)
The most intriguing thing about the China policy of the Bush Administration during its first term is not that it did not follow up with its campaign promises. Rather it is the continued contradiction and inconsistency in conceptualization and implementation. Throughout the past 4 years, one heard two different voices from the Administration: one advocates a candid, constructive and cooperative relationship with China; the other insists on the need to restrain and contain China. Since 9/11, against the backdrop of the war against terror, the first voice prevailed over the latter. However, while the latter voice was largely subdued, it did reassert itself at times and on certain issues, and threatens to come back when circumstances change. Four years after the Bush Administration came into office, the question whether China is a competitor or a partner still remained unanswered. This paper will first review the evolution of Bush Administration's China policy during its first term. Then it will try to analyze the major factors shaping the development. Finally, it will speculate on the prospect for development of the relationship in Bush's second term.

Betwixt balance and community: America, ASEAN, and the security of Southeast Asia (pp37-59)
Amitav Acharya and See Seng Tan (Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Realist scholars have long claimed, not incorrectly, that a US-led balance of power is fundamental to the security and prosperity of Southeast Asia. Yet the Southeast Asian experience has also been one where multilateral security dialogue and regional community formation figure prominently. In contrast to views which exaggerate the importance of US preponderance in Southeast Asia whilst dismissing regional multilateral efforts, we offer seven arguments against any undue overstatement of the US contribution to regional peace and stability. If anything, a historically ambivalent US presence contributed to ASEAN's emergence as a mechanism of regional diplomacy. Such ambivalence is no longer feasible since 9/11. However, Washington's current engagement in Southeast Asia should focus on revitalizing regional multilateralism. Our claim is not that the region's security is due to ASEAN regionalism rather than US strategic dominance. We argue instead that absent the region's fluency with 'soft' multilateralism, Southeast Asia's security would probably have been far worse.

    Southeast Asians are more acutely aware of the uncertainties of U.S. policies than other regions of the world. They remember the American retrenchment in the 1970s followed by a decade of self-doubt. Hence ASEAN countries drew towards each other to seek greater strength in self-reliance. They found that together in ASEAN, they could better overcome their problems; but they still need the United States to balance the strength of the Soviet ships and aircraft. The renewal of self-confidence in America has reassured us that America will help maintain the peace and stability of the region. It is this balance of power which has enabled the free market economies to thrive.
    - Lee Kuan Yew

The role of mercantilism, humanitarianism, and gaiatsu in Japan's ODA programme in Asia (pp61-80)
John P. Tuman and Jonathan R. Strand (Department of Political Science, University of Nevada, USA)
Objective. Three competing explanations for the distribution of Japan's ODA in Asia are empirically examined in this paper. The first explanation hypothesizes that Japan reacts to US pressure and interests as it formulates its foreign aid policy. The competing explanations argue that Japanese ODA is used to promote Japan's national economic interests or humanitarian goals. Methods. We examine the determinants of Japanese ODA in 14 Asian countries for the period of 1979-1998. The effects of the independent variables are estimated using ordinary least squares (OLS) with panel-corrected standard errors. Results. US strategic interests were found to have no effect on aid disbursements for the period in question. Rather, we find that Japan's national economic interests have shaped Japanese aid decisions in Asia. The disbursement pattern of Japanese ODA is also influenced by poverty in the recipient country. Employing measures from the Political Terror Scale, Freedom House, and Polity IV, we find no effect for democracy or human rights.

The New Economic Bilateralism in Southeast Asia: Region-Convergent or Region-Divergent? (pp81-111)
Christopher M. Dent (Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds, UK)
A new pattern of bilateralism is evident in Southeast Asian economic diplomacy, and this may be broadly viewed from extra-regional and intra-regional perspectives. Regarding the former, an increasing number of states from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group have engaged in the Asia-Pacific's new bilateral free trade agreement project trend, and two ASEAN member states - Singapore and Thailand - have been at its forefront. Regarding the latter dimension, recent developments in intra-ASEAN diplomacy have revealed the emergence of a Singapore-Thailand bilateral axis or alliance on matters of Southeast Asian economic regionalism. These two dimensions of economic bilateralism are studied in relation to their implications for Southeast Asian or ASEAN-led regionalism. In this context, region-convergent bilateralism can make positive contributions to the development of regionalism, whereas region-divergent bilateralism essentially undermines regional community-building endeavours. This forms the conceptual framework for studying the impact of Singapore and Thailand's active bilateral economic diplomacy upon ASEAN's own regional economic projects, such as the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), and also on ASEAN as an organization for fostering Southeast Asian economic regionalism generally. It is contended that based on both the deeper strategic intentions behind Singapore's and Thailand's foreign economic policies and wider international political economy considerations the region-divergent outcomes are more likely to arise within Southeast Asia from the economic bilateralism they are currently championing.

International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (2006)
Copyright ©2006 Oxford University Press and the Japan Association of International Relations

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