Asian Security and the Rise of China
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Asian Security and the Rise of China

International Relations in an Age of Volatility

David Martin Jones, Nicholas Khoo and M. L.R. Smith

East Asia is without question a region of huge economic, political and security significance. Asian Security and the Rise of China offers a comprehensive overview and assessment of the international politics of the Asia-Pacific since the end of the Cold War, seeking to address the overarching question of how we can most convincingly explain the central dynamics of Asia’s international relations. Via a realist perspective on the dynamics and frictions associated with accommodating the rise of powerful states, this timely book addresses the core issue in contemporary Asian politics: the rise of China.
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Chapter 4: Norms are what strong states make of them: ASEAN in an age of volatility

International Relations in an Age of Volatility

David Martin Jones, Nicholas Khoo and M. L.R. Smith


The previous chapter considered ASEAN’s increasing profile on the global stage from the 1970s onwards and dissected the claims made both by Southeast Asian political elites, and scholarly opinion, going into the 1990s, which held that the Association’s norms and practices could transform Asia’s international relations. ASEAN, it was maintained, was the harbinger of regional solutions to regional problems. In Peter Katzenstein’s words, the exciting possibilities of regionalism offered a ‘stepping stone for international cooperation between unsatisfactory national approaches on the one hand and unworkable universal schemes on the other’, while for scholars, he continued, ‘regionalism brings into clearer focus an important intersection of the international and domestic factors that shape economic fortunes, security interests, and cultural identities of political actors’. As Chapter 3 revealed, though, a close study of the ‘international and domestic factors’ that shaped the economic fortunes of Southeast Asia demonstrates that at the level of economic integration and institutional deepening progress was, despite the inflated rhetoric, disappointingly limited.

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