Asia Pacific Security: Values and Identity

Asia Pacific Security: Values and Identity

Asia Pacific Security: Values and Identity

Asia Pacific Security: Values and Identity

Excerpt

Culture is important in international relations even when the discipline tries to deny it. Why was it that the idealist tradition of international relations developed in pre-war Britain? Why were Americans so naïve as to believe that war could be outlawed by treaty in 1928? Why do Americans believe today that democracy will prevent war, and that its promotion by war is an obligation? Why was it that realism came from the German tradition and why in English do we use the word realpolitik? Why did Hans J. Morgenthau, who taught the verities of power politics to earlier generations of American students, hail from Germany? Who was this Nietzsche who wrote of the will to power, the sublimation of cruelty and contempt for the weak, all of which seems so shocking to the Anglo-American mind? And why was Machiavelli an Italian and not English? Why was the idealistic Nehru an Indian and not a Chinese leader, and why do the Japanese have no real leaders?

The origins of this book and the thoughts that have shaped it are a product of over twenty years of teaching international relations courses in various universities in the Asia Pacific region during which questions like those above were extensively discussed with students and colleagues. The book emphasises the relationship between ideas and culture and the significance of values and identity for Asia Pacific security. It regards political culture as a [seed bed] for ideas and it strives to demonstrate that issues of identity and values cannot always be reduced to rationalist theories as a product of some reductionist exercise. It adopts the perspective of the political cultures of the key Asian actors in the region and deliberately avoids a Western-centric security approach. It disclaims any post-modernist intentions and avoids the confusion of philosophic or moral relativity, which is characteristic of this movement though it admits of experiential or contextual differences.

There are numerous colleagues from Beijing to Bangkok whom I would like to thank for their very frank views on the theme of encounter with the West and the idea of Asia. Sometimes that dialogue has been heavy with moral accusations, on other occasions cynical and realist, or philosophical and idealist, but always fascinating and vibrant. These colleagues are not

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.