International Relations in an Age of Volatility
Chapter 5: Producing security: state power, democracy and Southeast Asian regionalism
The previous chapters highlighted what might be termed the external manifestations of the security debate in East Asia. These manifestations encompassed, inter alia, explorations into bilateral relationships among the major powers in the Pacific, the degree of economic integration, the role of regional institutions like the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), along with the potential of transnational diplomatic norms that such institutions generated to transform East Asia’s international relations into some kind of post-national community. However, the features that characterize regional interactions and diplomacy of the Asia–Pacific are, ultimately, only reflections of the internal, domestic, conditions that prevail in the states of the region. Often, the academic discipline of international relations has exhibited a poor grasp of the relationship between the external and the internal, presenting interactions on the international stage as if they were almost autonomous of the domestic setting. The previous two chapters implied as much by demonstrating how scholars of the region invariably concentrated on the rhetoric emanating from many states in the Asia–Pacific littoral that seemingly endorsed the prospect of greater regional integration.
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