Japan and United Nations Peacekeeping: Pressures and Responses

Japan and United Nations Peacekeeping: Pressures and Responses

Japan and United Nations Peacekeeping: Pressures and Responses

Japan and United Nations Peacekeeping: Pressures and Responses

Synopsis

In the last decade, Japan has played a major role in peacekeeping as its troops have been deployed as part of UN forces in trouble spots around the world. This book examines these developments within the border context of international relations theory and changes in Japan's domestic and regional politics.

Excerpt

After having outlined the topic under investigation in the Introduction, let us now turn to how Japan’s foreign policy in general, and its peacekeeping contribution specifically, have been understood. This chapter will outline the traditional approaches to the discipline of ir with two objectives in mind: on the one hand, to provide an understanding of the mainstream ir paradigms, which juxtaposes with recent debates on and surrounding the role of culture, identity and norms in the extant literature; and on the other hand, to comprehend how the discourse of ir has evolved in the late twentieth century and how it has attempted to interpret Japan, international organisations and the practice of peacekeeping. After introducing each mainstream approach in turn, these paradigms will be related to Japan’s peacekeeping policy to demonstrate the extent to which they provide us with a degree of understanding, or fail to furnish us with the necessary new perspectives in the light of the end of the Cold War. Chapter 2 will build on this chapter by introducing and discussing the analysis of norms in ir and with reference to Japan.

Realism

Realist thinking has a long heritage and can be traced back to the writings of Thucydides on the Peloponnesian Wars (circa 400 BC). However, Realism in modern ir is usually associated with the writings of Morgenthau (1973). Thereafter, and in response to the attacks of Liberals in the 1970s (see pp 00-00), Waltz (1979) attempted to reinvigorate Realism by shifting attention to the structure of the international system and Neo-realism was born. the Neo-realist variant sought to improve the explanatory power of traditional Realism by paying attention to the operational environment, namely the structure of and the distribution of power within the international system in which states operate and state elites make decisions (Brecher et al. 1969). It is argued that the overall structure of the international system influences greatly the decisions a state makes. For example, a bipolar system encourages states to side with one of the two poles; alternatively, a multipolar system allows greater room for manoeuvre in a state’s foreign policy choices. It is questionable and outside the remit of this book as to how much of an improvement Neo-realism was upon traditional Realism but note will be taken of its . . .

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