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The Evolving Asian System: Three Transformations

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Line Hintze

on 9 February 2015

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Transcript of The Evolving Asian System: Three Transformations

The Evolving Asian System: Three Transformations
Research question:
- Does history repeat itself in Asian IR?
- Will the future of Asian IR resemble the past, and which past?
- Europe's or Asia's?
Chinese Tribute System
- China with an idealized self-image
- Chinese supremacy as the 'Middle Kingdom' governed by the 'Son of Heaven'
- Foreigners as 'barbarians'
- The Opium War as the beginning of the end for this system.
The Cold-War System
Europe: Bipolar (stable) situation
Asia: Revolutions, National liberation movements, civil wars and international wars
What comes next?
Back to the question of the article:
- Does history repeat itself in Asian IR?
- Will the future of Asian IR resemble the past, and which past?
- Europe's or Asia's?
Two schools:
- Realist approach: 'Asia's future will resemble Europe's past'

Four historical sections
- Chinese Tribute System
- Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial System
- Rise and demise of Cold War System
- The implications on how the future system will be
The Japanese Imperial System
- The rise of the West as the dominant hegemonic power
- US wanted Japan to open up
- Several war victories gave Japan confidence (Sino-Japanese war & Russo-Japanese war)
- China lost its leading position to Japan
- During WWII Japan started looking at Southeast Asia
Problems with the models:
- Asia have not had a single interstate war in the post-cold war era
- In a globalized world the simplified theory of power battles loses to the importance of multilateral institutions
- By Samuel S. Kim
- Sino-centric: 'Back to the future of Asia's past'
Foresees a conflictual future with major power competition
Asian countries have historically accepted a hierarchical world order with China as the core.
Foresees that Asian countries want to balance with and not against China
- Korean war: Bipolar system. Communism vs Capitalism
- Vietnam war: Next battlefield
- Sino-Soviet alliance: Strong in the short run, weak in the long run
Realist approach, with Europe's past:
Problems with the models:
Sino-centric model, with Asia's past:
- After decolonization the newly independent states have gained impact
- Highly diverse continent with somewhat equal states
- China have shown no interest in a sino-centric world order. 'Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence'
Is the 'Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence' a long lasting policy? What happens when the issues with Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong are resolved?

Do history matters?

Which system do you believe is the most likely?
None of the past systems are desirable. BUT History matters. Now it is important for Asia to create a new world order. The scars are still very deep.
Aspects for the new world order:
- China's economic rise
- Democratization of Asian countries
- Territorial disputes in Asian Pacific
Full transcript