The Asia-Pacific: Geopolitical Cauldron or Regional Community?

IR Working Paper 1994/6

Author/s (editor/s):

James L. Richardson

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1994/6

James L. Richardson, ‘The Asia-Pacific: Geopolitical Cauldron or Regional Community?’, IR Working Paper 1994/6, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, November 1994.

The debates on regional security in the Asia-Pacific, reflecting high levels of uncertainty, give rise to a wide range of prognoses. This paper attempts a broad overview of the issues in dispute, along the lines of a recent discussion by Barry Buzan and Gerald Segal, but coming to very different conclusions. In particular, it draws attention to the Eurocentrism of much Western analysis and to particular features of East Asia’s situation which should counsel against hasty extrapolations from Western experience. It discusses historical legacies, economic perspectives, military threats, regional institutions and the question of a clash of civilisations, concluding that a cautiously optimistic prognosis is in order and that it is unlikely that the more alarmist strategic analyses have correctly identified the major concerns which the future undoubtedly will bring.

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