Western liberal democracy is in crisis. At the same time, since the end of the Cold War, new regions of the world and actors have risen to prominence. Contemporary discourse emphasizes, in particular, the rise of East Asia (including the Northeast and Southeast Asian sub-regions) and the empowerment of middle powers. This Special Issue of Asian Affairs: An American Review looks at the extent to which mid-sized East Asian states with significant democratic heritage embody hope for the liberal democratic project, and also the challenges they face. Furthermore, it considers how the analysis of the mode of interaction between state, economy and society allows a determination of the democratic conditions of any given country. The articles in this Special Issue originate from a project supported by the Asia Pacific department of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) exploring regional interdependencies of democratization in Asia. This introduction explores the theoretical framework of the project and elaborates further on case selection. (Asian Aff/GIGA)
From a developmental perspective, South Korea would seem to have long ago put the challenges of the Middle Income Trap behind it. This supposed economic Miracle on the Han River has been matched by a similar political miracle with democratic transition followed by consolidation. Yet middle income economic conceptualization is too narrow, with contemporary observers taking into account the political economy of change as well, emphasizing how development paths are often the outcome of a struggle between those who benefit from the status quo and those who seek change " a broader Transformation Trap. Likewise, even after transition and consolidation, the quality of democratic governance can remain poor, or thin. In South Korea, as with many Asian societies, the balance of power is tilted in favor of forces preserving the status quo. This article examines South Korea's escape from the developmental Transformation Trap through the interplay of state and the economy. It considers state-society achievements as well as ongoing challenges of the political Transformation Trap. It concludes with ongoing and future challenges along the economy-society nexus. (Asian Aff/GIGA)
This text assesses the extent to which an emphasis on national security and prioritization of state interests has dominated governance policy-making in Northeast and Southeast Asia, at the expense of human security, human development, and human rights. The findings are that in many cases, there are embedded structural obstacles to achieving human-centered governance objectives in the region. These relate to the role of the military, historical authoritarian legacies, and new authoritarian trends. Contributors examine not only the most obvious instances of military domination of governance in the region (North Korea with its 'Military First' philosophy, Thailand since the 2014 coup, and Myanmar with its long history of military rule), but also less well known examples of the influence of conflict legacies upon governance in Cambodia, Timor-Leste, and Laos.
Peacekeeping and the Asia-Pacific explores the politics, challenges, and future of UN peacekeeping operations from the Asia-Pacific. The first section looks at contributions from the sub-regions: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The second section of the book looks at individual country case studies including: Australia, Solomon Islands, Japan, and Thailand. The third, and concluding, section consists of a theoretical summary on the central conceptual theme of Asian motivations for PKO contributions. This content was originally published in vols. 18:3-4 and 19:3-4 of the Journal of International Peacekeeping.
Good governance is an essentially contested concept. In Asian countries, economic efficiency and macro-economic projects have predominantly been pursued with the aim of promoting national, aggregate measurements of development. Hydroelectric power generation projects have played a central role in the national planning of several regional states as part of an attempt to achieve these goals. Even by their own terms of reference, however, hydroelectric power projects have at most a mixed record of success, and are increasingly criticized with regard to their negative impact on the environment, and upon vulnerable groups. The government of Malaysia has embraced the "developmental state" model, and this is best illustrated by governance initiatives and resource exploitation in the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah and their respective "development corridors". Sarawak's Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) is the most visible sign of Malaysia's macro-economic hydroelectric development focus, as Sabah's corridor focuses on trade, investment, and tourism. This article takes a critical perspective towards good governance, emphasizing that it should function in the interests of all society, but in particular the most vulnerable. It therefore addresses the impact of Malaysian hydroelectric development policies on one of the most vulnerable sections of Malaysian society, the indigenous peoples of Sarawak. The findings cast doubt on the validity of continued prioritization of hydroelectric dam construction as a cornerstone of government energy and development policy. (Contemp Southeast Asia/GIGA)
Comprising case studies of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, this edited volume explores the key characteristics of democratic governance in Northeast Asia. Each democracy is assessed on the extent to which it enables the flourishing of social capital; prioritizes the interests of all as characterized by freedom from fear and want; and empowers all to participate in the democratic process and governance. With particular focus on the experience of minorities, this volume contends that the acid test of democratic governance is not how well the government represents the interests of the elites, or even the majority, but rather how it cares for the needs of vulnerable groups in society.
This volume critically assesses measurements of success in East Asian post-conflict development from a human-centered perspective. This involves a major re-evaluation of accepted accounts of domestic governance and international relations in East Asia from both a comparative and inter-disciplinary viewpoint. This book is rich in case studies and provides policy prescriptions for East Asian donors and actors in an effort to provide Asian solutions for Asian problems.
In 2013 Laos joined the World Trade Organization, economic growth was over 8%, and graduation from least-developed country status by 2020 remains achievable. But its human development index of 0.543 remained below the regional average. Macro development projects still threaten the vulnerable. The abduction of a prominent campaigner and repatriation of North Korean refugees highlighted human rights challenges.
The Politics, Challenges, and Future of un Peacekeeping Contributions from the Asia-Pacific / Boris Kondoch and Brendan Howe 123. - Northeast Asian Perspectives on UN Peacekeeping / Brendan Howe and Boris Kondoch 133. - Southeast Asian Perspectives on un Peacekeeping / Alistair D. B. Cook 154. - Australia and Peacekeeping / Peter Londey 175. - ramsi Ten Years On / Sinclair Dinnen 195 . - All-Japan Approach to International Peace Operations / Yuji Uesugi 214. - Thailand's Participation in un Peacekeeping Missions / Keokam Kraisoraphong and Brendan Howe 236. - Why Contribute? Understanding Asian Motivations for Troop Contribution to Peace Operations / Xenia Avezov 256