Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 February 2017
The central argument of this article is that constructivists in particular underestimate or even ignore the importance of the ‘real’ structural inheritance that shapes state (and the political elites that represent them) behaviour. Even though the future is indeterminate, some outcomes are decidedly more likely than others, especially where policymakers believe they inhabit a strategic universe of zero sum outcomes and where self-reliance and assertion remain important. I suggest that ‘critical realism’ offers a way of accounting for the institutional structures that shape international behaviour. The first half of this article makes the case for a critical realist approach. The second half illustrates the possible importance of this claim with reference to the contemporary geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region.
3 Gilpin, Robert, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981)Google Scholar.
5 Drezner, Daniel W., All Politics is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007)Google Scholar.
7 Walter B. Gallie, ‘Essentially Contested Concepts’, paper presented to Proceedings of the Aristotelian society (1955).
12 Bhaskar, Roy, Reclaiming Reality: A Critical Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 191 Google Scholar.
14 Goldstein, Judith and Keohane, Robert O., ‘Ideas and foreign policy: an analytical framework’, in J. Goldstein and R. Keohane (eds), Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions, and Political Change (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 3–30 Google Scholar; Pierson, Paul, ‘Increasing returns, path dependence, and the study of politics’, American Political Science Review, 94:2 (2000), pp. 251–267 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
16 Khan, Mushtaq H., ‘Patron-client networks and the economic effects of corruption in Asia’, The European Journal of Development Research, 10:1 (1998), pp. 15–39 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Varkkey, Helen, ‘Patronage politics as a driver of economic regionalisation: the Indonesian oil palm sector and transboundary haze’, Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 53:3 (2012), pp. 314–329 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
17 Bhaskar, Reclaiming Reality, p. 78.
19 Johnston, Alastair Ian, Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995)Google Scholar.
21 Patomäki and Wight, ‘After postpositivism?’, p. 233.
22 Beeson, Mark, ‘American ascendancy: Conceptualising contemporary hegemony’, in M. Beeson (ed.), Bush and Asia: America’s Evolving Relations with East Asia (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 3–23 Google Scholar.
24 Ibid., p. 120.
25 Bhaskar, Roy, Plato, etc: Problems of Philosophy and Their Resolution (London: Routledge, 2009)Google Scholar.
27 Bhaskar, Reclaiming Reality, p. 13.
28 Waltz, Kenneth N., Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979), p. 80 Google Scholar.
30 Gilpin, War and Change.
31 Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.
32 Graham Allison, ‘The Thucydides trap: Are the U.S. and China headed for war?’, The Atlantic, 24 (2015).
37 Keohane, Robert O. and Nye, Joseph S., Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1977)Google Scholar.
38 Ikenberry, G. John, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001)Google Scholar.
41 Reus-Smit, Chris, The Moral Purpose of the State (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999)Google Scholar.
44 Hall, Peter A., Governing the Economy: The Politics of State Intervention in Britain and France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986)Google Scholar; Hall, Peter A., ‘Policy paradigms, social learning, and the state: the case of economic policymaking in Britain’, Comparative Politics, 25:3 (1993), pp. 275–296 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
45 Kang, David C., East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), p. 9 Google Scholar.
46 Barry Buzan and Yongjin Zhang (eds), International Society and the Contest Over ‘East Asia’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Erik Ringmar, ‘Performing international systems: Two East-Asian alternatives to the Westphalian order’, International Organization, 66:1 (2012), pp. 1–25.
48 Booth, Ken and Wheeler, Nicholas J., The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation, and Trust in World Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2008)Google Scholar.
49 Ayse Zarakol, After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
50 Kupchan, Charles A., ‘The normative foundations of hegemony and the coming challenge to Pax Americana’, Security Studies, 23:4 (2014), pp. 219–257 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Chin, Gergory and Thakur, Ramesh, ‘Will China change the rules of global order?’, The Washington Quarterly, 33:4 (2010), pp. 119–138 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
51 John J. Mearsheimer, ‘China’s unpeaceful rise’, Current History (2006), pp. 160–2.
53 Beeson, Mark and Xu, Shaomin, ‘Leadership with Chinese characteristics: What role for soft power?’, in S. Kingah and C. Quiliconi (eds), Global and Regional Leadership of BRICS Countries (London: Springer, 2015), pp. 169–188 Google Scholar.
57 Grieco, Joseph M., ‘Realism and regionalism: American power and German and Japanese institutional strategies during and after the Cold War’, in E. B. Epstein and M. Mastanduno (eds), Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies After the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), pp. 319–353 Google Scholar.
59 Eaton, Sarah and Stubbs, Richard, ‘Is ASEAN powerful? Neo-realist versus constructivist approaches to power in Southeast Asia’, The Pacific Review, 19:2 (2006), pp. 135–155 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Acharya, Amitav, Whose Ideas Matter? Agency and Power in Asian Regionalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
64 Cox, Robert W., Production, Power, and World Order: Social Forces in the Making of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987)Google Scholar.
65 Maddison, Angus, Contours of the World Economy, 1–2030 AD (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)Google Scholar.
68 Friedberg, Aaron L., A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011)Google Scholar.
70 Beeson, Regionalism and Globalization in East Asia.
71 Studwell, Joe, How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World’s Most Dynamic Region (London: Profile Books, 2013)Google Scholar.
76 Cohen, Stephen S. and DeLong, J. Bradford, The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money (New York: Basic Books, 2010)Google Scholar.
77 Steinfeld, Edward S., Playing Our Game: Why China’s Rise Doesn’t Threaten the West (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010)Google Scholar.
78 Tsai, Kellee S., Capitalism Without Democracy: The Private Sector in Contemporary China (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007)Google Scholar.
79 Bader, Jeffrey A., How Xi Jinping Sees the World … and Why (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2016)Google Scholar; Linda Jakobson and Dean Knox, ‘New foreign policy actors in China’, SIPRI Policy Paper 26 (2010).
81 Tucker, Nancy B., The China Threat: Memories, Myths, and Realities in the 1950s (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014)Google Scholar.
82 Chun Han Wong and Jeremy Page, ‘China’s Xi Jinping tightens his hold on Communist Party’, Wall Street Journal (27 October 2016).
83 Mattli, Walter and Woods, Ngarie, ‘In whose benefit? Explaining regulatory change in global politics’, in W. Mattli and N. Woods (eds), The Politics of Global Regulation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), pp. 1–43 Google Scholar.
84 Johnston, Cultural Realism.
86 Qin, Yaqing, ‘Development of international relations theory in China’, International Studies, 46:1–2 (2009), pp. 185–201 Google Scholar.
87 Zhang, Feng, ‘Rethinking China’s grand strategy: Beijing’s evolving national interests and strategic ideas in the reform era’, International Politics, 43:3 (2012), pp. 318–346 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Michael Pillsbury, The Hundred-year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower (New York: Henry Holt, 2015).
89 Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy.
90 Kaplan, Robert D., Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific (New York: Random House, 2014), p. 31 Google Scholar.
92 Beeson, Mark and Li, Fujian, China’s Regional Relations: Evolving Foreign Policy Dynamics (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2014)Google Scholar.
94 Coker, Christopher, The Improbable War: China, the United States and Logic of Great Power Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)Google Scholar.
97 Kaplan, Asia’s Cauldron, p. 127.
99 Ralf Emmers and See Tan, Seng, ‘The ASEAN regional forum and preventive diplomacy: Built to fail?’, Asian Security, 7:1 (2011), pp. 44–60 Google Scholar.
100 Rowan Callick, ‘ASEAN’s future dim after weak statements on China Sea ruling’, The Australian (27 July 2016).
101 Ross, Robert S., ‘The problem with the pivot’, Foreign Affairs, 91:6 (2012), pp. 70–82 Google Scholar.
103 Andrew Browne, ‘China digs in its heels after tribunal’s ruling’, Wall Street Journal (12 July 2016).
Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.