Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Books on International Relations in Asia

Here are recent additions to our collection of books on International Relations in Asia:
  • International Relations in Southeast Asia: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism edited by N. Ganesan and Ramses Amer. These 12 specialists' papers are the fruit of workshops held in 2007 in Hiroshima and 2008 in Kuala Lumpur. They explore the role and relevance of bilateralism and multilateralism in Southeast Asia's ongoing policies and issues. General issues and theories of international relations are discussed in Part 1. Four case studies of mainland Southeast Asian countries' relations are in Part 2 and five of Marine Southeast Asian countries in Part 3. Many barriers which hamper multicultural developments and preferences for traditional bilateral national arrangements are highlighted. With bibliographies and index.
  • Connecting & Distancing: Southeast Asia and China edited by Ho Khai Leong. Connecting" and "distancing" have been two prominent themes permeating the writings on the historical and contemporary developments of the relationship between Southeast Asia and China. As neighbours, the nation-states in Southeast Asia and the giant political entity in the north communicated with each other through a variety of diplomatic overtures, political agitations, and cultural nuances. In the last two decades with the rise of China as an economic powerhouse in the region, Southeast Asia's need to connect with China has become more urgent and necessary as it attempts to reap the benefit from the successful economic modernisation in China. At the same time, however, there were feelings of ambivalence, hesitation and even suspicions on the part of the Southeast Asian states vis-à-vis the rise of a political power which is so less understood or misunderstood. The contributors of this volume are authors of various disciplinary backgrounds: history, political science, economics and sociology. They provide a spectrum of perspectives by which the readers can view Sino-Southeast Asia relations.
  • Asia's New Multilateralism: Cooperation, Competition, and the Search for Community edited by Michael J. Green and Bates Gill. Traditionally, stability in Asia has relied on America's bilateral alliances with Japan, Australia, and the Republic of Korea. Yet in recent years, emergent and more active multilateral forums - such as the Six-Party Talks on North Korea and the East Asia Summit - have taken precedence, engendering both cooperation and competition while reflecting the local concerns of the region. Some are concerned that this process is moving toward less-inclusive, bloc-based "talking shops" and that the future direction and success of these arrangements, along with their implications for global and regional security and prosperity, remain unclear. The fifteen contributors to this volume provide national perspectives on regional institutional architecture and their functional challenges. They illuminate areas of cooperation that will move the region toward substantive collaboration, convergence of norms, and strengthened domestic institutions. They also highlight the degree to which institution building in Asia has become an arena for competition among major powers and conflicting norms, and assess the future shape of Asian security architecture.
  • Theorizing Southeast Asian Relations: Emerging Debates edited by Amitav Acharya and Richard Stubbs. The recent proliferation of theories of international relations has transformed analyses of Southeast Asia's international affairs. A new generation of scholars has promoted a lively and illuminating debate which has seen the traditional realist/neorealist approach, which continues to hold centre stage, challenged by constructivist analyses. In turn, constructivists have found themselves under fire from an array of competing approaches. This collection engages this emerging debate. It underscores the point that Southeast Asia is now an important site for applying new theories of international relations. It also demonstrates that theoretical frameworks originally developed in North America and Europe have to be adapted to the specific circumstances found in places like Southeast Asia and that this process can enrich theory building. The chapters in this book focus on the realist/neorealist, constructivist, English School and critical approaches. The resulting debate helps to shed light on ways of analysing Southeast Asian relations as well as on the evolution of these key theoretical frameworks.
  • Asean-India-Australia: Towards Closer Engagement in a New Asia edited by William T. Tow and Chin Kin Wah. India's emergence as a great power has sensitised its regional neighbours to its growing role as a key security actor in an increasingly interdependent world. Both Australia and ASEAN now view India as a major player in the formulation and application of their own broad security agendas. This emerging trilateral compendium is particularly evident in such policy areas as maritime security, climate change, energy security, law enforcement, "good governance" and the politics of security institutions or "architectures". This book represents one of the first systematic efforts to consolidate these diverse but important concerns into an overarching framework for ascertaining and cross-comparing how these three entities are approaching these policy challenges, individually and collectively. It argues that the dynamics underlying their intensifying security relations are sufficiently important to conceptualise them as a distinct analytical framework that needs to be understood in the larger context of Asia-Pacific security politics.

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