The purpose of this volume is to review the relationship between International Politics and Regional Studies from the perspectives of each field, and to re-examine Regional Studies contribution to International Politics. It has been quite some time since Stanley Hoffmann, among others, indicated that International Relations (IR) was an American social science, and it has become commonplace to affirm that IR is not “international” at all, but is rather characterized by a pervasive Anglo-American mode of thought and resulting conceptual and spatial boundaries. Since then a limited number of studies have emerged to enhance our understanding of how IR is perceived in distinct places around the globe, and one of the most important of these is a series on “geocultural epistemologies in IR” by Arlene B. Tickner and Ole Wæver.
The configuration of the JAIR membership shows that in Japanese academic circles IR has developed in a dual format with one branch focusing on theoretical research and global studies and the other on regional studies and historical research, and, moreover, that those tendencies are different from American IR. As another distinct feature, these two areas of research do not exist in an isolated manner, and more than a few members not only carry out regional studies but also incorporate a profound knowledge of theoretical research into their work, which has led to the development of significant resources and achievements. However, it is difficult to sustain this linkage as a steady process, and it seems that the majority of members, throughout their careers, study in a very narrow range of specialization with limited crossover into alternates branches of the field.
It can be said that regional histories, as well as their political, economic, and social structures, have been formed in the context of international politics and that we cannot discuss regional issues without regard to international politics and vice versa. In this volume, by presenting the relationships between international politics and regional issues in the Middle East, Latin America, East Asia, South-East Asia, Russia and Europe, and by engaging in analysis of regional alliances in international conflict, we would like to try relativizing IR and the interaction of regional and international politics in evidence based research.
In order to analyse contemporary global crises, it is necessary for scholars of International Relations and Area Studies to overcome two limitations: Area Studies’ tendency to focus only on the substance of certain states or areas and the state-centric understanding of International Relations. Contemporary conflicts and faultlines that intermingle and interlock from the local level to the global level cannot be explained simply by unilineal causal relations among the existing actors but rather are complicated by their reciprocal interaction. In order to grasp the widespread networks of co-relationship among various actors, a new analytical framework should be introduced which frames current affairs as the product of a web of interconnections, and as a result of the transformation of those relationships, rather than on the actors’ essential qualities.
As a case study of the above new framework, this paper analyses sectarian “faultlines” in post-war Iraq. Since 2003, violent clashes have occurred in Iraq, which Western media and policy-makers considered to be “sectarian conflicts.” As most of the Western policy-makers assume an essentialist understanding of sectarian relations in Iraq, they consider the sectarian factor as an explanatory and independent valuable. However, in order to propose an alternative approach to the perception of sectarian groups as cohesive actors, this paper avoids substantial “sectarian factors” for explanations of conflict in post-2003 Iraq, and focuses instead on the transformation of the various kinds of relationships that led to political and social strife. It sees how sectarian factors emerge as a result of mobilisation of rhetoric and legitimisation of fighting parties.
This paper analyses media narratives in Iraq and surrounding states. It discloses that pro-government Iraqi media and Iranian media consider IS as inhuman terrorists while Arab and Turkish media as a reflection of anti-government ideology and sentiments in Iraqi society. In the regional power struggle between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, each media, domestic or regional, focuses on the victimhood of their side, and a sectarian narrative further legitimatises the appeal of the victims for their rights. For each side it is not “us” but “others” that discriminate us and exclude us from the Iraqi nation or from the religion of Islam; each side uses sectarian terms to demonise the others, with each insisting that it is “us” who pursue the unity of the community. This paper concludes that the conflicts in post-war Iraq are caused by the competition among the fighting actors over the right to claim the injustice of marginalisation, which often relies on sectarian legitimisation.
Why are some regions more peaceful than others? Some regions are particularly plagued by traditional power politics and political tensions, while the danger of war between major actors has significantly declined in other regions. The conventional literature would answer the question from a dyadic perspective—a region with many states with certain set of traits, such as democracy, should be peaceful. However, it is ultimately an empirical question whether the prevalence of power politics and conflict can be solely explained by the type of states and dyads in a region. I argue that the nature of international interactions is shaped by regional-level environment. Due to local security externalities, dyadic politics and conflict is dependent on conditions in a local neighborhood. More specifically, this study focuses on the role of regional-level alliance structure. A region can be situated in various types of alliance configuration depending on the climate of global geopolitics. I argue that conflict is unlikely in a region in which a global power establishes hegemonic domination through alliance ties with local states. The presence of an external global power dominating a region provides a local enforcement mechanism and reassurance for local states, which in turn reduces hostile interactions among local states. To examine how the regional-level conditions influence dyadic-level politics among local states, this paper empirical analyzes political events data (Integrated Data for Events Analysis) applying multilevel modeling, aiming at contributing to the literature by explicitly modeling the influence of regional-level variables on local politics beyond militarized disputes. Empirical analysis revealed that a regionally shared “patron” can promote peace between local states. However, the effect of regional hierarchy turned out to be indirect. Regional dominance structured by an external global power does not exert an overarching influence over an entire region by shifting the region-specific intercept. Rather, the regional-level global power domination in terms of defense pacts particularly influences powerful local states while not quite reducing hostility among minor local states. Thus, international conflict and hostility is indirectly constrained in a region under hegemonic domination by a global power. This study has empirically explored an argument that it is fruitful to go beyond a purely dyadic analysis of international conflict. The independent effect of a spatial environment means that even similar dyads may behave differently depending on the conditions surrounding them. It shows a need to reexamine some of the important findings about international conflict from a spatial perspective, taking into account macro-regional contexts within which states operate. Moreover, the introduction of regional contexts potentially would bridge a gap between quantitative studies of international conflict and area-specific studies.
This paper argues that the German Historical School is the original main stream of thought in classical international political science in the West, and the methodology of this school makes research in international system through historical approach possible. In the 17th century, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz and Samuel von Pufendorf discussed international political issues. Subsequently early 19th century, A.H.L Heeren initiated the research of international system through historical approach. The German Historical School has ever afterward been interested in the establishment of “system” in the European international order of the period between the 18th to the early 19th century, namely the maturity of the European “states system,” because it acknowledges that the European “states system” that mainly matured in the 18th century has formed the core of the world order up to the present.
The first research field in the area of international system through historical approach is history of thought on international politics as “intellectual history.” In the 18th century, the theoretical evolutions of international law in the German-speaking countries, including studies by noted philosophers Christian Wolff and Emer de Vattel, and the intellectual evolutions in the French-speaking countries, including studies by the noted political theorist and philosophers Abbé de Saint-Pierre and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, formed the twin main streams of thought in this intellectual history. In addition, the intellectual evolutions in Britain included the studies of the noted philosopher. historian, and economist David Hume, which formed another stream of thought. They recognized and analyzed the formative process of “states system,” thereby influencing it.
The second research field is investigation into the formative process of classical diplomacy called “diplomatic history.” In the middle of the 18th century, every great power reformed its own diplomacy, namely performing a “diplomatic revolution.” Then, in the second half of this century, international system of cooperation emerged as a multipolar system among great powers, preparing the way for the Concert of Europe beginning from Congress of Vienna in the early of the 19th century.
The third research field is inquiry into the structural development of international system as “structural history”. The main subject of this “structural history” in the period between the 18th to the early 19th century is the transformation of the balance of power. The Machiavellian dynamic of balance of power of the early of the 18th century transformed the static and stable equilibrium in the second half of the 18th century. The above-mentioned intellectual and diplomatic evolutions contributed to this transformation for the European international order.
In the maturing process of the European “states system,” thoughts and diplomacies transformed international structure through mutual interaction, resulting in the emergence of “system.” Therefore, the framework of the research of international system through historical approach is regulated by this formative process of “states system.” Every approach and research field relates to each other as the precondition of “states system.” Furthermore, the comprehension and the clarification of “states system” contributes to the understanding of the core function of the international system.
This paper clarifies the decisive role played by Latin-American “legal” regionalism in the 19th century in relativizing European international law and dismantling the European monopoly of the power to set international principles.
Simon Bolivar’s pan-Americanism in 1820’s is widely known as unsuccessful project for a political union of Latin American states. Actually, however, his project had two main pillars, the creation of a political union and that of “American public law,” and what was more important to the future world was the later. When Americas achieved their independence in 1810–20’s, the governing international principles were that of Vienna, agreed among European Powers and whose basic features were dynastic legitimacy and balance of power between monarchs. These principles were not compatible with the sovereign statehood of most of newly independent American states born in decolonial revolution and declared independence without recognition by ex-monarch. Nevertheless, those rules were considered as “European public law” or “European international law,” which was at that time mere synonym of “international law” governs the general relations between civilized nations. In this situation, Bolivar begun to pursue not only a union of Latin American states but also “American public law” which should be constituted by rules and principles that are different from that of Europe and suitable for America. Bolivar’s ideal American public law contains, e. g., popular legitimacy principle, denial of forcible intervention, obligatory peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereign equality, etc.
The efforts of Latin American states to realize these ideal new norms continued throughout centuries. Certain of these norms have acquired universal approval, taking the place of old European originated norms. In the late 19th century, some Latin American scholars started to argue that the assumption of identity between “European international law” and “international law” was not appropriate any more asserting the existence of American international law and possible existence of other regional international laws. In the beginning of the 20th century, the existence of American international law was accepted in Europe with rise of social or objectivist legal thoughts and European regionalism. The modern academic assumption of the identity of “European international law” and “international law as the law of civilized nations” had disappeared in 30 years from 1880’s to 1910’s. Latin American legal pan-Americanism triggered this fundamental change of the conception of international law.
The question why the Soviet Union radically changed its foreign policy course which led to the end of the Cold War has been the subject of controversy in various academic journals on international relations. Realists argue that the economic downturn brought Gorbachev and other conservative leaders including the military to rethink its antagonistic policy toward the United States seeking for some respite. Constructivists, on the other hand, argue that the radical change in foreign policy was caused by the new idea and identification which Gorbachev had acquired through learning of the Common Security concept from Western peace researches. While these debates have shed light on how the end of Cold War began, they have been indifferent to how the U.S.-Soviet Cold War really ended. This paper focused on this missing point of these controversies.
From the perspective of Russian regional studies, the Gorbachev initiative including bold unilateral concessions were extremely rare in the history of a country with deep concerns on its national security like the Soviet Union. Those unilateral concessions were their tactics to make the Western nations believe in the Soviet sincerity to overcome mutual distrust and make Europe more safer place for their conducting economic reform. Even Gorbachev noticed mutual distrust between the Soviet Union and the West would not disappear overnight. Therefore what the Gorbachev’s team really aimed at was the lower -leveled parity of strategic forces between the West and the East. Since this simple fact was forgotten in the euphoria of Russian renouncement of communism and the alleged U.S. victory over the Soviet Union, the ‘ending’ of the end of the Cold War became quite ambiguous. START II was hastily signed in January 1993 by Boris El’tsin and George H. W. Bush. This treaty was to sum up a series of arms control negotiations which was to create the strategic stability between the two sides, but in reality it was much disadvantageous to weakened and confused Russia and only left a sense of unfairness to Russians.
By comparing policy preferences of Germany and policy outcomes in the two post-financial crisis reforms—Basel III and the European Banking Union—the paper analyzes the context and factors impacting Germany’s positions and the extent to which Germany made concessions to other countries. Germany had a stronger bargaining position in the case of the European Banking Union than it did in the case of Basel III due to its relative economic and political strength in the region. However, Germany was forced to make significant compromises in the negotiation of the European Banking Union in exchange for its demand for regulatory tightening within the Eurozone. In contrast, it resisted regulatory tightening through Basel III and demanded relaxing capital requirements in the process of implementing Basel III. One of most significant compromises can be found in the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) of European Banking Union, in which national resolution funds financed by imposing fees on banking industries are to be gradually mutualized at the European level under the European authority of the Single Resolution Board, despite Germany initially wanting this mechanism to be a network-like coordination among regulators in the Eurozone. Though the size and functions of the SRM are both limited, it can be said that Germany’s negotiating power was significantly constrained against a backdrop of the euro crisis.
Based on an analysis of different policy contexts and Germany’s positions and compromises in the two negotiation, the paper discusses factors determining major differences in the negotiation outcomes. One of the reasons behind Germany’s concessions in the Banking Union includes deepening economic and financial interdependence among euro member states. Due to possible negative financial and economic impacts resulting from any member’s exit from the euro and its political repercussion on European integration, Germany quite reluctantly had to provide emergency financial support to the euro periphery, while demanding further integration and strengthening European capacities over financial supervision. Other reasons can be found in the negotiation process and involved actors. The time schedule for negotiation was much tighter for the Banking Union, and main negotiating actors were centralized within a couple of head staff in the Federal Ministry of Finance, compared to the case of Basel negotiation, where bank regulators (such as BaFin and Bundesbank) negotiated with other countries’ regulators in close coordination with discussions among industrial groups of negotiating countries.
In spite of post-crisis centralization of institutional settings, the Eurozone still lacks a stable hegemonic power. Germany’s coercive leadership made legitimation of its asymmetric power difficult. Without legitimacy, German-led post-financial crisis reforms keep facing constant political unease and tensions, which could weaken the solidarity within the region.
As is frequently argued by scholars of international politics, particularly in the school of constructivism, identities and national interests are cognitive phenomena and are socially constructed. A state’s collective, regional identity constitutes recognition of threats, opportunities, enemies, and allies. However, theoretically, there remains ambiguity about endogenizing identity change or transformation. Case studies concerning Russia’s new identity formation after the collapse of the Soviet Union can contribute to strengthen this point.
Under the Putin administration, Russia has vigorously attempted to get involved in the regional cooperation in Asia. Especially in the past three years after the Ukraine crisis, perhaps in response to the deterioration of Russia’s relations with the “West”, not a few specialists have observed its “pivot to the East.” Russia’s Eurasian identity plays an essential role in this attempt. The study examines how Russia’s Eurasian identity was formed, how it developed, and how the concept of “Eurasia,” referring to the region bridging Europe and Asia, has been argued in the discourse of diplomacy.
In the author’s view, there are several groups of “Neo-Eurasianists” currently. Some scholars speculated the influence on Russian politics of ideologues who claimed Russia to be an anti-Western, Eurasian power; however, most of them focused too much on some extremists, such as Alexandr Dugin. To explain the association between the Eurasian idea and diplomacy, more attention should be paid to the specialists of or working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Leading Russian scholars and specialists in East Asian studies took considerable time to conceptualize Russia’s new regional identity. Some of them rediscovered the old idea of “Eurasianism” which originated in the 1920s–30s among the émigré intellectuals. To consolidate the ties of the Russian nation with states in the post-Soviet space and its regional integration with Asia, those who were searching for a new regional identity found it and modified it into “Neo-Eurasianism.” In several respects, the updated version of Eurasianism is relevant to the present situation of Russia.
In their recent discourses, “Eurasia” has the following two features. (1) It represents a “mega region” in the ongoing project to connect several regional architectures such as EAEU, SCO, Chinese SREB project, and ASEAN. In the project, Russia characterizes itself as a hub of Eurasian regional powers, and (2) as an intermediary concept to legitimize cooperation with China, it subsequently appeals its orientation to multipolarity in the world, which has been the vision as well as the goal of Russia’s diplomacy since the mid-1990s. In brief, Eurasian identity motivates Russia’s policies and behaviors during the “Pivot to the East”.
In the history of international conflicts, some have been perceived as “intractable.” These conflicts have some characteristics such as durability, destructivity, and resistance to political settlement. Also, many of them are identity-charged, like ethno-national conflicts over territory. The examples range from Northern Ireland to Kashmir. The Palestine Question is a typical example of this conflict, and the contestation over Jerusalem would be one of the most difficult to solve in that conflict.
In the research field of conflict resolution, many academic and practical attempts have been initiated to make the intractable conflict tractable. Most of the concern was drawn toward the ideal style of effective political negotiation, or the ways of conflict transformation leading to fruitful negotiation. These kinds of research yielded results, however these studies miss an important point. They do not consider the influence or implication of the negotiation on the contested issue itself and the political dynamics of the parties to the conflict, particularly in terms of substance there. Although research about the spoiler problem in the peace process has a similar sort of interest, these mostly pay close attention to the way to control the spoiler and the political rivalry over the negotiation itself. Most of the analyses does not extend into the internal details of some specific political issue. This point might have much importance on the Palestine Question after the Oslo Accords (1993), which started the peace process over 20 years ago but has not borne fruit. In this case, the negotiation is just a short-lived moment in the protracted conflict, so an analysis on the relationship between negotiation and the internal political dynamics is required for the future resumption of negotiation.
This article tries to fill the gap in previous research by taking the example of Jerusalem and by examining the political implication of negotiation by dividing the peace process into the Oslo period (1993–2000) and the Post-Oslo period (2000–). Concerning the Oslo period, the article deals with Palestinian strategic formation and diverse understanding about the meaning of negotiation for Jerusalem, by Jerusalem-based leaders and pivotal leaders in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), or the Palestinian Authority (PA). As regards the Post-Oslo period, the article discusses the transformation of the Jerusalem Problem, caused mainly by the failure of negotiation and the shift of the stakeholders in Palestinian politics over Jerusalem. The separation of the Oslo framework into two periods will clarify how negotiation affects Palestinian politics and how it functions in the conflict.
Vietnam is adopting and implementing a “Three Nos” principle for its security. The “Three Nos” principle basically implies non-alignment defense policy, and more specifically, the principle is composed of three pillars: no alliance, no foreign base in Vietnam, and no third party’s intervention in bilateral conflicts. The “Three Nos” was first formalized in Vice-Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh’s remarks during his visit to China in August 2010, when Vietnam embarked on strengthening security ties with the United States against the backdrop of emerging tensions between Vietnam and China in the South China Sea. However, the “Three Nos” principle has its historical origin since the end of the Cold War, and is also originated in the country’s geostrategic features and historical lessons during the Cold War era. As other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam aims at pursing hedging strategy, too.
For applying the “Three Nos” principle, Vietnam had implemented a “multidimensional military diplomacy,” which pursues stable and cooperative security relationships with all major players in regional security, including the United States, Japan, India, Russia, and China. Vietnam had highly estimated its “successful” efforts to establish a cooperative and stable relationship with China, exemplified in the agreement of basic principles in resolving maritime issues during General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to China in October 2011. Nevertheless, its confidence was lost in the 2014 oil-rig incident in the South China Sea, where Vietnam severely confronted against China. The incident made Vietnam recognize that its efforts to establish a cooperative security relationship with China was not always effective for dealing with territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
After the oil-rig incident, Vietnam shifted toward a more reinforced “multidimensional military diplomacy.” Vietnam has further strengthened cooperative ties with the United States by General Secretary’s first visit to the United States in July 2015 and first accepting US Navy warships to Cam Ranh Bay. Vietnam also has attempted to reinforce ties with other external partners like Japan and India. Interestingly, Vietnam continues to try to keep cordial and cooperative security ties with China by various activities including accepting Chinese warships to Cam Ranh Bay. The “Three Nos” principle is one of the most effective and efficient measures for Vietnam’s security in such an uncertain strategic environment.
Regional security institutions are founded on security systems, such as cooperative security, collective self-defense, and collective security, which play an important role in ensuring member states’ survival in an anarchic international environment. However, such a materialist perspective tells only a partial story about the roles of regional security institutions; these entities also help to define member states’ cognitive template of regional security. Given the concepts of “region” and “security” are both socially constructed, “regional security” is the concept that is ultimately defined and redefined by the group of states, and thus inter-state regional security institutions play an imperative role in that process.
How do regional security institutions shape the concept of regional security? The most relevant theoretical framework to answer this question is the Copenhagen School’s “securitization” theory. It offers analytical insights in understanding the social construction process of regional security by emphasizing important factors such as speech acts, audience acceptance, and extraordinary measures. Nevertheless, its recent research focus has deviated from inter-state relations and regional security institutions, and the question has been left unanswered.
In this context, this article, employing a synthesized analytical framework of securitization theory and an agent-centered historical institutionalism, argues that regional security institutions become a “securitization” tool for member states by providing them a staged process to collectively define their own regional security. Specifically, this article proposes a two-stage hypothesis. First, the member states’ perception of a change in the regional distribution of power triggers the securitization process. Second, the securitization process will be completed if member states accept a new threat perception by a securitizing actor and conduct extraordinary measures to deal with the threat. These measures can be conducted only when the existing institutional function cannot manage the new threats. After this cognitive template of regional security is consolidated within the institution, it begins to constrain member states’ strategic thinking and choices.
To test the hypotheses, this article conducts a comparative case study with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—in the process of establishing the ASEAN Regional Forum in 1994—and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)—in the process of establishing the protocol relating to the mechanism for conflict prevention, management, resolution, peace-keeping and security.
The basic findings are three-fold. First, member states’ perception of a change in the regional distribution of power mattered in setting off the securitization process. Second, member states’ agreement with new security threats and extraordinary measures are imperative to complete the securitization process, but a securitization actor can be varied in at each step of the process. Third, historically embedded norms of the regional security institutions should be taken seriously as it narrows the range of strategic choices on extraordinary measures. Despite a lack of sufficient number of case studies, the ASEAN and ECOWAS cases revealed that the complex securitization processes through regional security institutions created and recreated a cognitive template of regional security, which framed their security perspectives.