International Relations in an Age of Volatility
Chapter 7: The new twenty years’ crisis: East Asia and the northern financial crisis
In the twenty year period that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and might be said to culminate with a tectonic shift in economic power to Asia, academic attempts to grasp what has occurred have been notable not only for their grand theorizing but also for their inability to capture the dynamics of this epochal change, its implications for the social sciences generally, and the understanding and academic study of both East and Southeast Asia more particularly. As the previous chapters have illustrated, commentators have sought to generalize upon great power relations among East Asia’s powers, and the capacity of regional institutions like ASEAN to transform the international relations of the Asia–Pacific. All of these prognostications have revealed themselves as, at most, partial explanations, but more often than not, as entirely misconceived assessments that invariably present the ephemeral methodological enthusiasms of scholars rather than any accurate appreciation of the unfolding events in East Asian international relations. Can a more satisfactory interpretative framework be posited that more accurately accounts for regional developments both in terms of explaining the past and offering signposts for the future?
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