Regional order transition in East Asia: a security-economy nexus perspective

LIU Feng1

(1.Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University)

【Abstract】Traditional accounts on East Asian regional order suffer the problem of treating security and economy as two separate domains, and neglect the interconnected­ ness of regional order. A synthetic structural realism, as developed in this paper, combines these two domains and offers us with a more sophisticated account on systemic transition in international relations. By making a distinction between the domains of interaction (security/economy) and the status of system (balance of power/hegemony), international system, whether on global or regional levels, can be distinguished into four types: complete balance of power, partial balance of power, complete hegemony, and partial hegemony. System transition is a successive, long or short, change from one type to another among these four types, instead of moving from one equilibrium to another equilibrium or from one hegemony to another hegemony. From this synthetic structural realist perspective, the East Asian regional system since the end of the Cold War has shifted from a complete hegemonic order dominated by the United States to a partial hegemony with several regional economic powers. A complete balance of power may be formed with the rise of China in both economic and security domains, but uncertainties exist with regard to the process as well as the final status of this transition. The prospect of systemic transition in East Asia is determined by the changing distribution of power between China and the United States on the one hand, and by the strategic adjustments and alignments of the states in the region.

【Keywords】 East Asian order; security-economy nexus; a synthetic structural realism; balance of power; hegemony;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Youth Project of National Social Science Fund of China (15CGJ031)

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    [1]. ① The geographical scope and number of countries covered by the concept of East Asia are controversial, and the broader concept of “Asia-Pacific” is also frequently used. In academic literature, some countries (such as Russia and Mongolia) are not included in the discussion of scope of East Asian international relations, while the United States is generally regarded as a major actor in international relations in East Asia. At present, the concepts of East Asia and Asia-Pacific are often used interchangeably, while in fact it is clear that the geographical coverage and number of countries covered by the latter are more complex. Therefore, this paper still focuses on a relatively limited and consensus-based region in East Asia. For a discussion of the formation and evolution of concepts in East Asia, see Takashi Terada, “Constructing an ‘East Asian’ Concept and Growing Regional Identity: From EAEC to ASEAN+3,” The Pacific Review, Vol.16, No.2, 2003, pp. 251–277; Mark Beeson, Regionalism and Globalization in East Asia: Politics, Security and Economic Development, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 1–22; Yang, N. ’’’Journal of Tsinghua University (Philosophy and Social Sciences) (清华大学学报(哲学社会科学版)), (1): 39–53 (2012).

    [2]. ② The author believes that international order refers to the form of order existing between countries, as opposed to the domestic order applicable to domestic social relations. According to the spatial scope of the international order, it can be divided into global order and regional order. Regardless of the scope or hierarchy, the definitions of international order have common basic elements. For more detailed discussion of these elements, see Liu, F. Foreign Affairs Review (外交评论), (2): 5–9 (2013); Liu, F. Foreign Affairs Review (外交评论), (5): 47–51 (2015).

    [3]. ① This can be simply classified as a realistic view of order, Michael Mastanduno, “A Realist View: Three Images of the Coming International Order,” in Thazha V. Paul and John A. Hall, eds., International Order and the Future of World Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 19–40.

    [4]. ② This classification is often referred to in the discussion of history of international relations, see Lin, L. Contemporary International Relations (现代国际关系), (7): 42 (2014).

    [5]. ③ Qin, Y. Contemporary International Relations (现代国际关系), (7): 14 (2014).

    [6]. ④ The classification of East Asian order has been discussed from different perspectives. For example, For example, Sun Xuefeng and Huang Yu Xing distinguished hegemonic order, tribute order, balance of power order and community order according to the existence of a single power center and the degree of recognition of regional rules. Amitav Acharya distinguished hegemonic order, great power coordination order, community order and concord order from the perspectives of management type and integration degree. See Sun, X. & Huang, Y. ’Journal of Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies (当代亚太), (1): 6–34 (2011). Amitav Acharya, “Power Shift or Paradigm Shift? China’s Rise and Asia’s Emerging Security Order,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol.58, No.1, 2014, pp.158–173. The classification of regional order in a broader sense can be found in Patrick M. Morgan, “Regional Security Complexes and Regional Orders,” in David A. Lake and Patrick M. Morgan, eds., Regional Orders: Building Security in a New World, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997, pp. 20–42; Robert Stewart-Ingersoll and Derrick Frazier, Regional Powers and Security Orders, New York: Routledge, 2012.

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    [12]. ⑤ About the application of hierarchy theory in the issues regarding the East Asian order, see Sun, X. Foreign Affairs Review (外交评论), (6): 32–48 (2011); Sun, X., Liu, R. & Ouyang, X. Foreign Affairs Review (外交评论), (2): 32–48 (2015); Liu, R. World Economics and Politics (世界经济与政治), (12): 118–136 (2014).

    [13]. ⑥ English School’s explanation of the East Asian order can be seen in Barry Buzan and Yongjin Zhang, eds., Contesting International Society in East Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

    [14]. ① About the prospect of multi-polarity, see Aaron L. Friedberg, “Ripe for Rivalry: Prospects for Peace in a Multipolar Asia,” International Security, Vol.18, No.3, 1993/1994, pp. 5–33; Richard K. Betts, “Wealth, Power, and Instability: East Asia and the United States After the Cold War,” International Security, Vol.18, No.3, 1993/1994, pp.34–77; Charles A. Kupchan, “After Pax Americana: Benign Power, Regional Integration, and the Sources of a Stable Multi-polarity,” International Security, Vol.23, No.2, 1998, pp.40–79; Thomas Berger, “Set for Stability? Prospects for Conflict and Cooperation in East Asia,” Review of International Studies, Vol.26, No.3, 2000, pp. 405–428.

    [15]. ② For the discussion of coordination order of major powers in East Asia, see Baogang He, “A Concert of Powers and Hybrid Regionalism in Asia,” Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol.47, No.4, 2012, pp. 677–690; Zheng, X. ’World Economics and Politics (世界经济与政治), (5): 88–113 (2013); Wei, Z. International Review (国际观察), (4): 43–56 (2014).

    [16]. ③ Robert Jervis has discussed the difference between big country coordination and the balanced power order. Please see Robert Jervis, “A Political Science Perspective on the Balance of Power and the Concert,” The American Historical Review, Vol.97, No.3, 1992, pp.716–724.

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    [20]. ② These views can be found in Zhou, F’. Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies (当代亚太), (5): 4–32 (2012); Zhao, Q. The Chinese Journal of American Studies (美国研究), (1): 7–26 (2012); G. John Ikenberry, “Between the Eagle and the Dragon: America, China, and Middle State Strategies in East Asia,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol.20, No.20, 2015, pp.1–35.

    [21]. ① For the analysis of the hedging behavior of small and medium-sized countries, please refer to Evan S. Medeiros, et al., Pacific Currents: The Responses of U.S. Allies and Security Partners in East Asia to China’s Rise, Arlington: The RAND Corporation, 2008; Wang Dong’s research team: China’s rise and hedging behavior in Asia-Pacific countries, quoted from the International Strategic Research Center of Peking University: 战略纵横—研究报告汇编(2012–2013), pp. 70–123; Liu, F. & Chen, Z. ’’Journal of Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies (当代亚太), (4): 4–25 (2015).

    [22]. ② For related information, please refer to the statistics published on the Asian Development Bank and the ASEAN website. For the data from Asian Development Bank, see http://www.adb.org/data/statistics. Date of review: 2016-2-3. http://www.asean.org/resource/statistics/asean-statistics/, Date of review: 2016-2-3.

    [23]. ③ Avery Goldstein and Edward D. Mansfield, “The Political Economy of Regional Security in East Asia,” in Avery Goldstein and Edward D. Mansfield, eds., The Nexus of Economics, Security, and International Relations in East Asia, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012, p.6. Regarding the relationship between security and economic development, please go to Hidetaka Yoshimatsu, “Economic-Security Linkages in Asia,” in Saadia Pekkanen, Rosemary Foot and John Ravenhill, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of East Asia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp.569–585.

    [24]. ① On the distinction between balance-based realism and hegemonic realism, please refer to Jack S. Levy, “War and Peace,” in Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Rise and Beth A. Simmons, eds., Handbook of International Relations, London: Sage, 2002, pp.354–355; Jonathan M. Dicicco and Jack S. Levy, “The Power Transition Research Program: A Lakatosian Analysis,” in Colin Elman and Miriam Fendius Elman, eds., Progress in International Relations Theory, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003, pp.109–111.

    [25]. ② Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1979.

    [26]. ③ Some scholars disagree with this judgment. For example, Jonathan Koshner thinks that Gilpin is merely a classical realist who is influenced or even dragged by structuralism. Jonathan Kirshner, “Gilpin Approaches War and Change: A Classical Realist in Structural Drag,” in G. John Ikenberry, ed., Power, Order, and Change in World Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp.131–161. The author believes that Gilpin is a structural realist, mainly because the theory he established is based on the hierarchy of a system.

    [27]. ④ Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981.

    [28]. ① Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics, p.135.

    [29]. ② George Modelski, “The Long Cycle of Global Politics and the Nation-State,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol.20, No.2, 1978, p. 216.

    [30]. ③ John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, New York: W.W. Norton, 2001, p.76.

    [31]. ④ Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, p.162.

    [32]. ⑤ Jack S. Levy, “What Do Great Powers Balance Against and When?” in Thazha V. Paul, James J. Wirtz and Michel Fortmann, eds., Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004, p.41.

    [33]. ⑥ Davide Fiammengh, “The Security Curve and the Structure of International Politics: A Neorealist Synthesis,” International Security, Vol.35, No.4, 2011, p.146.

    [34]. ① It is in this sense that Gilpin discusses the legitimacy of hegemony, Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics. pp. 30–34.

    [35]. ② The concepts of unipolar, bipolar and multipolar are not used here, because it is a concept of comprehensive strength, not limited to the economic or military strength of the country. If a country is both the economic dominant and the military leader in a system, it is undoubtedly a unipolar country. However, the relative disadvantage in a certain strength field can also make a polar country in the system, such as the Soviet Union.

    [36]. ① David P. Rapkin, William R. Thompson and Jon A. Christopherson, “Bipolarity and Bipolarization in the Cold War Era: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Validation,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol.23, No.2, 1979, p. 261.

    [37]. ① A few scholars used similar concepts. For example, Michael Massan Duno used “incomplete hegemony.” Ikenburry also mentioned partial hegemony and partial balance. Michael Mastanduno, “Incomplete Hegemony and Security Order in the Asia-Pacific,” in G. John Ikenberry, ed., America Unrivaled: The Future of the Balance of Power, Ithca: Cornell University Press, 2002, p.181; G. John Ikenberry, “The Rise of China, the United States, and the Future of the Liberal International Order,” in David L. Shambaugh, ed., Tangled Titans: The United States and China, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013, p.58. However, they neither offered any classification approach, nor did they clearly define these concepts.

    [38]. ① In Europe in the 19th century, although the United Kingdom was an economic powerhouse, continent countries such as France and Russia did not rely economically on the United Kingdom. France even tried to establish a continent economic system that excluded the United Kingdom.

    [39]. ② For the main assumptions about realism, please refer to Joseph M. Grieco,“Realist International Theory and the Study of World Politics,” in Michael W. Doyle and G. John Ikenberry, eds., New Thinking in International Relations Theory, Boulder: Westview, 1997, pp.163–165.

    [40]. ① Kenneth N. Waltz, “The Stability of a Bipolar World,” pp.881–909.

    [41]. ① Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics, Chapter 2. This answer provided by Gilpin is mainly from the perspective of single country, and this paper examines the degree of matching between strength distribution and benefit distribution in the system, which is an answer from structural level.

    [42]. ② In another paper, the author discusses in detail the relationship between system stability and benefit distribution. See Liu, F. Foreign Affairs Review (外交评论), (5): 47–51 (2015). Related discussions are available at Robert Powel, “Stability and the Distribution of Power,” World Politics, Vol.48, No.2, 1996, pp. 239–267.

    [43]. ① In 1990 and 1991, the US Department of Defense issued two East Asian security strategy reports and proposed to reduce military deployment there. The Department of Defense, The United States Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region, Washington, D.C., 1998, p.5.

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    [46]. ③ For the discussion of China’s appeasement policy and its effects, see David Shambaugh, “China Engages Asia: Reshaping the Regional Order,” International Security, Vol.29, No.3, 2005, pp.64–99; Phillip C. Saunders, “China’s Role in Asia,” in David Shambaugh and Michael Yahuda, eds., International Relations of Asia, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008, pp.127–149; Xuefeng Sun, “Why Does China Reassure South East Asia?” Pacific Focus, Vol.24, No.3, 2009, pp. 298–316; Seng Tan, “The Perils and Prospects of Dragon Riding: Reassurance and ‘Costly Signals’ in China-ASEAN Relations,” in Ron Huisken, ed., Rising China: Power and Reassurance, Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2009, pp.165–184; Mingjiang L, “Explaining ’China’s Proactive Engagement in Asia,” in Shiping Tang, Mingjiang Li and Amitav Acharya, eds., Living with China: Regional States and China Through Crises and Turning Points, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp.17–36.

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    [48]. ① About the proportion of China and Japan in total foreign trade in East Asia, see Li, X. & Feng, Y. Journal of Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies (当代亚太), (6): 28 (2009).

    [49]. ② http://www.gov.cn/zwgk/2009-01/20/content_1210224.htm, Date of review: 2016-2-5

    [50]. ③ Mark Beeson, “The United States and East Asia: The Decline of Long-Distance Leadership?” in Christopher M. Dent, ed., China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia, Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2008, pp.229–246.

    [51]. ① G. John Ikenberry, “East Asia and Liberal International Order: Hegemony, Balance, and Consent in the Shaping of East Asian Regional Order,” in The Troubled Triangle: Economic and Security Concerns for the United States, Japan, and China, pp.13–33.

    [52]. ② Evelyn Goh, The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy, and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia, ch.1.

    [53]. ③ 2015 China’s GDP data can be referred to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, http://dala.8tat8.gov.Cn/k8.htm?cn=C01&zb=A0501, Date of review: 2016-3-20

    [54]. ④ Report on the implementation of the central and local budgets in 2015 and the draft central and local budgets for 2016 (summary), http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/20161ν2016-03/05/c_1118243992.h shirt, Date of Review: 2016-3-20

    [55]. ① Some scholars believe that the main goal of the US implementation of the Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy is to reveal the signal of US hegemony status to different target audiences. Pu, X. World Economics and Politics(世界经济与政治), (9): 34–49 (2014).

    [56]. ① In recent years, some scholars have raised such questions and tried to answer them from different theoretical perspectives. Ja Ian Chong and Todd H. Hall, “The Lessons of 1914 for East Asia Today: Missing the Trees for the Forest,” International Security, Vol.39, No.1, 2014, pp.7–43; Adam P. Liff and G. John Ikenberry, “Racing Toward Tragedy? China’s Rise, Military Competition in the Asia Pacific, and the Security Dilemma,” International Security, Vol.39, No.2, 2014, pp. 52–91; Richard N. Rosecrance and Steven E. Miller, eds., The Next Great War? The Roots of World War I and the Risk of U.S.-China Conflict, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2014.

    [57]. ② John Mearsheimer is the representative of this pessimistic assertion. He predicted that Sino-US competition for hegemony in East Asia would move toward confrontation. John J. Mearsheimer, “The Gathering Storm: China’s Challenge to US Power in Asia,” Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol.3, No.4, 2 010, pp.381–396.

    [58]. ③ Waltz pointed out the contradiction between low economic interdependence and high military interdependence under the bipolar system. Kenneth Waltz, Realism and International Politics (国家相互依赖的神话), Zhang, R. & Liu, F. (trans.) Beijing: Peking University Press, (2012), Chapter 11. Similarly in the multipolar balance-based system.

    [59]. ④ For the analysis of the nature of Sino-US strategic competition, see Yan, X. & Qi, H. Quarterly Journal of International Politics (国际政治科学), (3): 1–23 (2012); Zhu, F. World Economics and Politics (世界经济与政治), (3): 4–26 (2013); Li, W. & Zhang, Z. Quarterly Journal of International Politics (国际政治科学), (1): 25–53 (2015).

    [60]. ① James W. Davis, Jr., Threats and Promises: The Pursuit of International Influence, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000; Michael A. Glosny, The Grand Strategies of Rising Powers: Reassurance, Coercion, and Balancing Responses, Ph.D. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2012.

    [61]. ② In another paper, the author pointed out that the application of compulsory strategies in China is highly reactive and selective. Liu Feng, “China’s Security Strategy Towards East Asia,” Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol.9, No.2, 2016, forthcoming.

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Vol , No. 05, Pages 32-55+156-157

May 2016

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Literature review on the regional order in East Asia
  • 2 Typification of international order: a synthetic structural realism theory
  • 3 From complete hegemony to partial hegemony: the change of regional order in East Asia after the Cold War
  • 4 Security-economy nexus and the prospect of East Asian order transition
  • 5 Conclusion
  • Footnote