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What will the Asia-Pacific rim look like in the years ahead? What tools will international relations theorists need to understand the complex relationship among China, Japan, and the United States as the three powers shape the economic and political future of this crucial region? Some of the best and most innovative scholars in international relations and Asian area studies gather here with the working premise that stability in the broader Asia-Pacific region is in large part a function of the behavior of, and relationships among, these three major powers. Each author analyzes the foreign policy behavior of one or more of these states and/or relations among them in an effort to make claims about the prospects for regional stability. Some of the chapters focus on security relationships, some on economic relations, and some on the interaction of the two. The authors do not promote any particular theoretical perspective, but instead draw on the full diversity of theoretical approaches in contemporary international relations scholarship to illuminate international interactions among the Pacific powers. The creative collaboration of international relations and Asian studies specialists presents the opportunity to assess the applicability of Western categories of analysis to the beliefs and behaviors of Asian actors. The scholars in this volume share the conviction that a deeper understanding of the effects of cultural divides between Asian and American policymakers is essential if the Pacific rim's economic and regional security is to be safeguarded.
The end of the Cold War and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in a new unipolar international system that presented fresh challenges to international relations theory. Since the Enlightenment, scholars have speculated that patterns of cooperation and conflict might be systematically related to the manner in which power is distributed among states. Most of what we know about this relationship, however, is based on European experiences between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, when five or more powerful states dominated international relations, and the latter twentieth century, when two superpowers did so. Building on a highly successful special issue of the leading journal World Politics, this book seeks to determine whether what we think we know about power and patterns of state behaviour applies to the current 'unipolar' setting and, if not, how core theoretical propositions about interstate interactions need to be revised.
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