Conflict in Asia: Korea, China-Taiwan, and India-Pakistan

Conflict in Asia: Korea, China-Taiwan, and India-Pakistan

Conflict in Asia: Korea, China-Taiwan, and India-Pakistan

Conflict in Asia: Korea, China-Taiwan, and India-Pakistan

Synopsis

Much of the world reaped a "peace dividend" with the end of the Cold War, yet Asia has seen little reduction in tensions and military spending. Three Cold War era conflicts-those dividing China and Taiwan, North and South Korea, and India and Pakistan-remain unresolved. This is the first volume using a common approach to examine post-Cold War changes in these three volatile dyads.

Excerpt

Shale Horowitz

What does international relations theory tell us about the conflicts between China and Taiwan, North and South Korea, and India and Pakistan? This is a useful question to ask before plunging into the intricacies of the conflicts. There are three major theoretical schools in international relations, the traditional ones of neorealism and neoliberalism, and a more radical variant of neoliberalism, constructivism. In a framework of rational choice and strategic interaction, it will be shown that these schools tend to focus on different sources of change and conflict. The insights of all the frameworks will then be applied to the China-Taiwan, Korean and India-Pakistan conflicts. The focus will be on explaining recent developments, especially after the Cold War, and on constructing plausible scenarios of future developments. It will be seen that constructivism has much to add to the more familiar insights of neorealism and neoliberalism.

Neorealism tends to view identities and preferences as relatively similar and unchanging, and to emphasize how objective conditions, such as military power, influence states' foreign policy strategies. Neoliberalism places more emphasis on diversity of identities and preferences, which it views as strongly influenced by political regime type. This diversity is taken to explain much variation in foreign policy strategies. Like neoliberalism, constructivism focuses on national and state identities and their impacts on preferences and strategies. But it argues that such identities are mutable, and emphasizes how international strategic interactions of states' foreign policies can feed back to influence the evolution of national and state identities. The causal impacts are taken to be simultaneous. National and state identities influence choices of objectives and strategies, and the associated strategic policy choices in turn influence stability or change in national and state identities.

For the China-Taiwan case, constructivism calls attention to China's presently vague state identity, and to how strategic interaction with China's legitimacy-oriented Communist Party elites is likely to accelerate the development of Taiwan's “islander” national identity. The inflammatory rhetoric of Communist

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