The Rise of East Asia: Critical Visions of the Pacific Century

The Rise of East Asia: Critical Visions of the Pacific Century

The Rise of East Asia: Critical Visions of the Pacific Century

The Rise of East Asia: Critical Visions of the Pacific Century

Synopsis

There is great interest in the Pacific Century and its implications for the future. In this exciting new study many of the ideas and expectations associated with the Pacific Century are placed under critical scrutiny. The book includes studies of particular countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. The authors analyzes the economic and political trends in the region, the reasons behind its rise and its importance on a global scale. The Rise of East Asia examines what is sure to be an historic turning point with immense significance world-wide. This book will be of interest to anyone concerned about the new approaches to and the debate about the rise of east Asia and the coming of the Pacific Century.

-- Provides an invaluable overview of the most important issues

-- Moves beyond the dominant narratives of the subject

Excerpt

The new Eurasian state: Russia, the forgotten Pacific player

Douglas A. Borer

INTRODUCTION: russia, the forgotten pacific player

As of the middle of 1996, international focus on Russia remains centred on events emanating from the political theatre of Boris Yeltsin’s troubled presidency, on the resurgence of communists in the December 1995 parliamentary elections, and on the volatile northern Caucasus (most notably Chechnya). Occasionally, when nuclear waste is dumped in the Sea of Japan, or when President Yeltsin rejects Japanese earthquake aid as a guileful ‘political ploy’ in the decades-long dispute over the future sovereignty of the northern Kurile Islands, Russia is momentarily remembered in the West as being a state on the Pacific Rim. in general, Russia is the only historically important great power in the Pacific that is not perceived as an integral actor in the euphoric visions of the Pacific Century. As the hapless successor to the now-discredited Soviet regime, Russia is viewed as being shackled by its marxist inheritance. Its greatest challenge is to transform a centralised economic system whose fundamental market characteristics and processes are the antithesis of those factors giving rise to the East Asian ‘success story’. However, it is argued here that Russia’s authoritarian political culture, and its attempts at economic restructuring, are similar to those of today’s successful East Asian states. Authoritarianism, combined with capitalist economic reform directed by the state, are the two pillars upon which East Asian states have achieved economic prosperity. If East Asia is seen as a role model for successful economic modernization, these factors are likely to be promoted as crucial to Russia’s own success in the Pacific Century.

This chapter attempts to forecast Russia’s probable role in the coming era. To do so, a brief narrative of Russia’s historic role in the Pacific region, Russia’s evolution from dictatorial to democratic rule, and the politics of Boris Yeltsin are charted. Underpinning this narrative is an analysis of the crucial political structures which currently maintain Russia as a unified state, and the contrasting socio-cultural forces which threaten to destroy it. of particular importance is a review of three key elements in contemporary Russian political culture: first, the enduring use of military

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