Short Re­views

Global Asia - - CONTENTS CONTINUED - Re­viewed by Tae­hwan Kim, John Nils­son-wright and John Delury

new ti­tles by Peter hayes and Chung-in Moon (eds.); Kevin P. Cle­ments (ed.); alyssa ayres; Ian John­son; Charles R. Kim; Max Boot; Ro­dric Braith­waite; Wal­ter C. Cle­mens Jr.; S.C.M. Paine; andray abra­hamian; Will Doig.

Is an East Asian Com­mu­nity pos­si­ble or prob­a­ble? Decades of high eco­nomic in­ter­de­pen­dence and so­cio­cul­tural in­ter­ac­tions ap­pear not to have ame­lio­rated tra­di­tional se­cu­rity prob­lems in the re­gion. The East Asian peace that has lasted for at least four decades now ap­pears volatile at best, with the threat of armed con­flict, and even nu­clear an­ni­hi­la­tion, lin­ger­ing on the hori­zon. The re­gion is trapped in a set of se­cu­rity dilem­mas, re­veal­ing more of an “anti-com­mu­nity” than a com­mu­nity. This vol­ume, pub­lished in cel­e­bra­tion of the 10th an­niver­sary of the East Asia Foun­da­tion, a non­profit re­search-ori­ented in­sti­tu­tion based in Seoul — and the pub­lisher of Global Asia — ex­plores the fac­tors and prospects both fa­cil­i­tat­ing and in­hibit­ing com­mu­nity-build­ing in North­east Asia, a pre­req­ui­site for a broader East Asian Com­mu­nity.

Nine prom­i­nent schol­ars with di­verse na­tional back­grounds en­deavor to imag­ine a North­east Asian Com­mu­nity by ap­ply­ing all three ma­jor in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions schools of thought — re­al­ism, lib­er­al­ism and con­struc­tivism. Their in­tel­lec­tual probe re­volves around three mu­tu­ally in­ter­twined di­men­sions. The first is the his­tory-iden­tity nexus. The deep an­i­mos­ity be­tween China and Ja­pan, and be­tween Korea and Ja­pan, stems from Ja­pan’s im­pe­rial project in the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies, dur­ing which ag­o­niz­ing colo­nial and semi-colo­nial mem­o­ries be­came deeply in­grained as the fun­da­men­tal el­e­ments in Korean and Chi­nese na­tional iden­tity.

The specter of the his­tor­i­cal past, and sub­se­quent cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance among China, Ja­pan and

Korea, weigh heav­ily on the present, with “iden­tity gaps” among these three coun­tries con­tin­u­ing to widen, as Gil­bert Roz­man con­tends in his chap­ter. The sec­ond is the resur­gence of geopo­lit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion in the re­gion. Power pol­i­tics is cer­tainly at work. Thus, Ruizhuang Zhang ar­gues from a re­al­ist po­si­tion that the fu­ture of the en­tire re­gion, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing an East Asian Com­mu­nity, will be de­ter­mined by the un­fold­ing logic of power pol­i­tics.

G. John Iken­berry, on the other hand, be­lieves that the post-war lib­eral in­ter­na­tional or­der is weak­en­ing, but not dis­ap­pear­ing in the re­gion be­cause the ben­e­fits of main­tain­ing the or­der out­weigh the costs of re­plac­ing it even for the “spoil­ers” like China and Rus­sia. Muthiah Ala­gappa goes a step fur­ther to de­nounce the “neg­a­tive logic of an­ar­chy” that has dom­i­nated the re­gion since the end of the Sec­ond World War, de­cid­edly giv­ing rise to sev­eral se­cu­rity dilem­mas. As a re­sult, Ala­gappa con­tends, the crit­i­cal prob­lem is not the distri­bu­tion of power or power tran­si­tion, but the rigid re­al­ist “knowl­edge struc­ture,” or strate­gic ori­en­ta­tion, held by po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary lead­ers who con­trol these forces uni­formly in re­al­ist ways. The third is the trans-na­tional chain re­ac­tions of com­pet­i­tive na­tion­al­ism ram­i­fy­ing all the way from the do­mes­tic to the transna­tional realm. Ja­pan of­ten trig­gers Chi­nese and Korean re­ac­tions, which in turn strengthen right-wing na­tion­al­ist sen­ti­ments and move­ments in Ja­pan.

Chung-in Moon ar­gues that the neg­a­tive dy­namic of com­pet­i­tive “re­ac­tive na­tion­al­ism” com­pletes its full vi­cious cir­cle, am­pli­fy­ing an­i­mosi­ties among the three coun­tries. The au­thors con­cur that an

East Asian Com­mu­nity ap­pears an elu­sive dream now, but not im­pos­si­ble in the fu­ture. They of­fer some mean­ing­ful sug­ges­tions that could lead to a com­mu­nity. First of all, in or­der to loosen the his­tor­i­cal and ter­ri­to­rial strait­jacket, it is cru­cial to cre­ate transna­tional com­mu­ni­ties and net­works aimed at solv­ing spe­cific com­mon prob­lems. Transna­tional epis­temic com­mu­ni­ties, in par­tic­u­lar, would be of help in de­con­struct­ing the pre­vail­ing geopo­lit­i­cal dis­courses, and also in adopt­ing less rigid mod­els of the na­tion state that can ac­com­mo­date greater di­ver­sity and au­ton­omy.

The con­trib­u­tors to the vol­ume to­gether urge that now is the time to col­lec­tively en­gage in col­lab­o­ra­tive con­struc­tion of shared re­gional iden­ti­ties, and of an imag­ined Asian Com­mu­nity. Ul­ti­mately, “the fu­ture is made, not fore­cast.”

Re­viewed by Tae­hwan Kim, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor at the Korea Na­tional Diplo­matic Academy and book re­views co-ed­i­tor for Global Asia

The Fu­ture of East Asia Edited by Peter Hayes and Chung-in Moon Pal­grave Macmil­lan, 2018, 318 pages, $179.00 (Hard­cover)

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