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  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This report compares Russian and Chinese security perceptions and explains how they shape the two countries' policies towards each other. It argues that the modern relationship between the two countries, formed in the late 19th and 20th centuries, was turned on its head at the start of the 21st century. China has now become a powerful factor affecting a whole range of Russian policies, both domestic and foreign. The paper also argues that, while Russia is not central to China's foreign relations, and non-existent in China's domestic politics, good relations with Moscow are an important supporting element in Beijing's overall strategy of reclaiming China's 'rightful place in the world'. It concludes that while both countries need each other and would benefit from a stable political relationship and close economic ties, both Moscow and Beijing lack the long-term strategies to create such a bond.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Author: Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO's decision to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan has forced the Alliance to think long and hard about the "how" associated with such a withdrawal. As a result the strategic importance of the five Central Asian states Kazakhstan, Kyrrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a politically neglected region, mostly seen as a supplier of raw materials and energy, is likely to increase significantly. During the past ten years the ISAF mission has focused its attention on Afghanistan itself. The only neighboring country taken into serious consideration has been Pakistan, as emblematically shown in the US AfPak policy approach. North of Afghanistan, the Central Asian states have been left on the sidelines and their strategic and political role has been underestimated. However, they are now back on the political agenda as an indispensable transit ground.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: James Boutilier
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO is at a crossroads. This is not the first time that Brussels has been faced with critical decisions about the direction, character and raison d'être of this unique and remarkable organization. But this time the stakes are even higher. The major centers of global power are all weak simultaneously for individual and inter-connected reasons. The greatest power on earth and NATO's banker, the United States, is confronting almost insurmountable levels of debt and talk about the end of the American empire has become commonplace. The European community is reeling from the cumulative effect of debt crises. And China, the 21st century's "workshop of the world" (and in the eyes of some a potential savor of ailing economies in Europe) has begun to see its economy slow disturbingly. At the same time, two other phenomena are unfolding; the rapid and profound shift in the global centre of economic gravity from the Euro-Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific region and the winding down of NATO's involvement in Afghanistan. The latter, of course, raises the inevitable question: "What next?" The former raises a related question: "Does NATO's future lie in Asia?"
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas D. Anderson, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Is revolution similar to the Arab Spring possible in North Korea? The answer from most scholars and intelligence analysts has been “no”—that the Pyongyang regime's stability in the aftermath of the events in the Middle East and North Africa is an “old question” that was answered in the 1990s when the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea) faced the most critical test of its life, and survived. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the drastic cuts in patron aid from China, and the onset of famine that killed hundreds of thousands all constituted the ultimate test of DPRK stability, and the regime staggered on through it all. Thus, the assumption is that the Arab Spring has little relevance to the DPRK. The scholarly literature tends to support this assessment. Scholars like Georgetown University's Daniel Byman have argued that Kim Jong-il has effectively “coup-proofed” himself through an elaborate system of patronage, bribery, and draconian rule.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Patrick Chabal
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: An ever more pressing issue in the social sciences today is the question of standpoint. From where do social scientists identify and analyse the problems they wish to understand and explain? Which theories do they deploy and why? And what concepts do they use to achieve enlightening results? This question is more often than not elided, both because we feel secure in the use of the standard theories we employ, and because we are not accustomed to think critically about the matter of standpoint, or perspective. Having acquired the theoretical tools of our discipline, we are not tempted to re-examine their merit whenever we embark on our analytical journeys. However, there are now voices calling into question this unthinking use of social, political and economic theories. Two critiques are particularly significant. The first is that which challenges social theory on the grounds that it is the theoretical tool of the West, or North, which is blind to the fact that, in the words of Edward Saïd, it is 'Orientalist'. The second is that which disputes the 'scientific' nature of the so-called social sciences.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Tural Ahmadov
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Throughout the years the overwhelming preponderance of US global leadership is debated by scholars and politicians. In light of the 'rise of the rest', this preponderance is either diminishing or still standing. As of now, yet again, the US is a dominant player both economically and militarily. However, economic recession is likely to make the United States put more emphasis on domestic problems and less emphasis on foreign challenges. Since political and economic landscape is swiftly changing overseas, the United States should act accordingly and cooperate with regional powers on issues of mutual interest. Similarly, as current development is under way in the Middle East, the United States should staunchly back Turkey as the regional hub in dealing with Syrian crisis and foiling Iranian menace.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: J. Jackson Ewing (ed), Alistair D.B. Cook (ed)
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
  • Abstract: The year 2011 has seen the further prioritisation of nontraditional security (NTS) issues throughout research and policymaking circles in the Asia-Pacific region. Regional trends and events have highlighted the need for strategies that can help people, communities, states and organisations address multifarious security challenges, thus propelling the NTS platform to a higher stratum of political and institutional discourse.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Climate Change, Development, Economics, Health, Poverty, Natural Disasters, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Tensions on the Korean Peninsula preoccupied both Russia and China as the two Koreas edged toward war at the end of 2010. Unlike 60 years ago when both Beijing and Moscow backed Pyongyang in the bloody three-year war, their efforts focused on keeping the delicate peace. The worsening security situation in Northeast Asia, however, was not China”s only concern as Russia was dancing closer with NATO while its “reset” with the US appeared to have yielded some substance. Against this backdrop, Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao traveled to Moscow in late November for the 15th Prime Ministers Meeting with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. This was followed by the ninth SCO Prime Ministers Meeting in Dushanbe Tajikistan. By yearend, Russia”s oil finally started flowing to China through the 900-km Daqing-Skovorodino branch pipeline, 15 years after President Yeltsin first raised the idea.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, Tajikistan, Korea
  • Author: Ching-Chang Chen
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This paper critically examines an ongoing debate in International Relations (IR) as to why there is apparently no non-Western IR theory in Asia and what should be done to 'mitigate' that situation. Its central contention is that simply calling for greater incorporation of ideas from the non-West and contributions by non-Western scholars from local 'vantage points' does not make IR more global or democratic, for that would do little to transform the discipline's Eurocentric epistemological foundations. Re-envisioning IR in Asia is not about discovering or producing as many 'indigenous' national schools of IR as possible, but about reorienting IR itself towards a post-Western era that does not reinforce the hegemony of the West within (and without) the discipline. Otherwise, even if local scholars could succeed in crafting a 'Chinese (or Indian, Japanese, Korean, etc.) School', it would be no more than constructing a 'derivative discourse' of Western modernist social science.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, India, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Sung-Han Kim, Geun Lee
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This study delves into an empirical case analysis of the desecuritization process of the North Korean threat under the Kim Dae-jung government. Unlike previous studies, it analyzes how domestic and international actors desecuritized traditional threats by taking the pluralistic political processes of a democratic polity seriously. This was the process of competition between different political coalitions and the process of transformation from issues of high politics into issues of low politics. It remains to be seen whether the Kim Dae-jung government's desecuritization of North Korean threats was a deep or a shallow one, but it appears to be clear that the desecuritization of North Korean threats by the Kim Dae-jung government paved the way for another 5 years of progressive government with Roh Moo-hyun's 'unexpected' victory in the 2002 presidential election.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea