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The outbreak of hostilities between Chinese and Japanese troops at Liutiaohu in the vicinity of Mukden on the night of September 18, 1931, unleashed a chain of events leading to a disasterous war for Japan and the collapse of the Kuomintang government in China. The causes and course of the Manchurian incident which began on that date are well known and have been abundantly published in recent years. Although the significance of the Nakamura incident as a prelude to the Manchurian affair has also been generally recognized, the details of the Nakamura case and the manner in which the conflicting organs of Japanese policy-making handled it have remained obscure. The attempt here is to supply these details and analyze the affair with particular reference to the role of the Japanese Foreign Office and the growing civil-military conflict over the control of foreign policy.
The protests in and around Tibet in 2008 show that Tibet's status within China remains unsettled. The West is not an outsider to the Tibet question, which is defined primarily in terms of the debate over the status of Tibet vis-à-vis China. Tibet's modern geopolitical identity has been scripted by British imperialism. The changing dynamics of British imperial interests in India affected the emergence of Tibet as a (non)modern geopolitical entity. The most significant aspect of the British imperialist policy practiced in the first half of the twentieth century was the formula of “Chinese suzerainty/Tibetan autonomy.” This strategic hypocrisy, while nurturing an ambiguity in Tibet's status, culminated in the victory of a Western idea of sovereignty. It was China, not Tibet, that found the sovereignty talk most useful. The paper emphasizes the world-constructing role of contesting representations and challenges the divide between the political and the cultural, the imperial and the imaginative.
World War II brought a degree of complexity and intensity to Thai-American relations that contrasted sharply with their quiet uneventfulness in the era preceding it. Before the war, Thai relations with the United States had been friendly, but not close since Thailand was within the British financial and commercial sphere of influence. The factors chiefly responsible for altering diese former relations were the emergence of Thai nationalism in association with Japanese imperialism and the eclipse of Western power in eastern Asia during World War II.
Following the october revolution, the Soviet Union regained majority control over the strategically located Chinese Eastern Railway, which ran through Manchuria, by signing two previously unpublished secret agreements: the first with the Beijing government on May 31, 1924, and the second with Zhang Zuolin's government in Manchuria on September 20, 1924. These secret agreements were signed despite the Soviet government's repeated promise that it would never resort to secret diplomacy. The Soviet Union also renewed control over the Russian-built Chinese Eastern Railway despite a 1919 Soviet manifesto promising that this railway would be turned over to China without compensation. To consolidate Soviet power over this railway, the USSR then signed the January 20, 1925, convention with Japan that recognized Japan's authority over the South Manchurian Railway in return for Japan's acquiescence to full Soviet authority over the Chinese Eastern Railway.
Post-Restoration Japan faced a number of serious problems in its relations with East Asia and the West, all of which came to a head in seikan ronsō, the clash in the Council of State, October 1873, over sending a punitive expedition to Korea. Essentially this was a struggle to define the nature of the Meiji Restoration—how radical would it be—and to decide who would control the politics of Japan's renovation, but intermixed with these domestic issues were several questions of foreign policy. To Japan's leaders, the Ryukyus, Taiwan, and Sakhalin were as important as Korea; security of the frontier in East Asia as significant as equal treaties with China and the West. And for historians with the advantage of a century of hindsight, the debate is important evidence in assessing the strength and sophistication of expansionist sentiment in early Meiji Japan. Does modern Japanese imperialism date from this period as consistent and persistent government policy or simply as a set of commonly held aspirations and desires, stronger in some than others or more evident outside of government than within it? To assist in answering these questions there is a wealth of Western and Japanese language diplomatic correspondence and numerous memoirs, letters, and diaries. The clash pitted die returning members of the Iwakura embassy and their allies at home against prominent officials in the caretaker government. The envoys, who had gained from their journey to die West a better understanding of international politics and the instability of the world order as well as a clearer perception of the gigantic transformation Japan must undergo, won with the argument of restraint abroad and rapid reform at home. But were the differences primarily in methods and timing and not ultimate intentions? Were Japan's leaders only biding their time until domestic strength made foreign adventurism possible, as is often charged? There is little evidence that Iwakura's group had such ulterior motives. In the grosser sense of the existence of an elaborate plan of conquest, there was no imperialist conspiracy. In the more complex sense of consistency of dreams, aims, or ambitions, there was more continentalism among public critics than officials. The victors in the debate wished to create a strong and enlightened state capable of taking whatever measures seemed necessary, whether at home or abroad. Expansion into frontier regions therefore was always a possibility but even then for security and prestige rather than overseas dominion. Such thinking guided the government for the next twenty years. However more research is needed on the basic character of Meiji Japan's political and economic institutions, the expansionist sentiments of the government's critics, changing concepts of security, and Japan's response to Western imperialism.
Border studies in South Asia privilege everyday experiences, and the constructed nature of borders and state sovereignty. This article argues that state elites in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan during the 1950s and 1960s actively pursued territorial sovereignty through border policy, having inherited ambiguous colonial-era frontiers. By comparing security and development activities along the Durand Line, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the better-known case of India and Pakistan's ceasefire line in Kashmir, this article demonstrates that the exercise of sovereignty required a bounded space that only borders could provide and a rejection of competing border zone authorities. The local specificity of each border, however, created the historical conditions in which political elites acted. Combining an archival history methodology with conceptual insights from political geography and critical international relations, this article uses an original integration of two important Asian border spaces into one analysis to highlight tensions between sovereignty's theory and practice.