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Regionalism Reconsidered

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2016


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1. See Aggarwal, Vinod K. and Koo, Min Gyo, “Shifting Ground: Is It Finally Time for Economic and Security Regionalism?Global Asia 1, No. 1 (2006): 2841.Google Scholar

2. From the perspective of many analysts, divisions became the norm rather than the exception in East Asia. Southeast Asia has been divided along ethnic, religious, and ideological lines for decades. Northeast Asia remains equally separated as a result of Japanese colonialism and Cold War confrontation. And more generally, conventional analysis separated South and Central Asia from East Asia. Even Katzenstein uses “Asia” as shorthand for Asia, East (1997, 1). In his 2005 work, however, Katzenstein more explicitly and carefully explores the construction and definition of what constitutes a region.Google Scholar

3. Yet Katzenstein's work fails to systematically code regional institutions on these or other dimensions as the “dependent” variables to be explained, making it difficult to assess his causal arguments and predictions.Google Scholar

4. The US-centered bilateral alliances include US-Japan (1951), US-South Korea (1953), and US-Taiwan (1979 Taiwan Act). In the communist camp, China and North Korea signed a friendship treaty in 1961; Russia and North Korea renewed a treaty on friendship in 2000; and China and Russia signed a new friendship treaty in 2001. As Stephan Haggard pointed out in his comments on the earlier version of this article, the number of Asia's formal bilateral alliances outside the United States has been extremely limited. For instance, neither Japan nor South Korea has formal alliances with its Asian neighbors, while China has only one formal alliance, with North Korea, which has been significantly undermined in the post-Cold War period.Google Scholar

5. For more details about Asian countries' obsession with Westphalian sovereignty, see Moon, Chung-in and Chun, Chaesung, “Sovereignty: Dominance of the Westphalian Concept and Implications for Regional Security.” In Alagappa, Muthiah, ed., Asian Security Order: Instrumental and Normative Features (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), pp. 106137.Google Scholar

6. Katzenstein, Peter J. and Sil, Rudra (2004), “Rethinking Asian Security: A Case for Analytical Eclecticism.” In Suh, J. J., Katzenstein, Peter J., and Carlson, Allen, eds., Rethinking Security in East Asia: Identity, Power, and Efficiency (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 19.Google Scholar

7. Aggarwal, Vinod K. and Koo, Min Gyo, “Beyond Network Power? The Dynamics of Formal Economic Integration in Northeast Asia,” Pacific Review 18, No. 2 (2005): 189216.Google Scholar

8. Calder, Kent and Ye, Min, “Regionalism and Critical Junctures: Explaining the ‘Organization Gap’ in Northeast Asia,” Journal of East Asian Studies 4, No. 2 (2004): 191226.Google Scholar

9. “Club goods” refers to the case of goods that exhibit jointness (not diminished by use), but where exclusion is possible. Two examples of this type of good are the provision of satellite transmission of television and the use of scrambling technology to prevent noncontributors from accessing the good. Because of the benefits of having additional consumers of the good that one produces, we might expect that in the case of international institutions, actors will compete to have their institutional approach adopted as the standard by all participants to maximize their revenue possibilities.Google Scholar

10. During the Cold War period, trade liberalization was provided for most East Asian countries mainly through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). To the extent that GATT required membership, the provision of trade liberalization was a multilateral club good. But it contained a strong public good characteristic, since East Asian countries were allowed to pay less to get more out of the system. As noted above, the San Francisco System provided East Asian countries with security as a bilateral club good, made available from their alliance with the United States or the Soviet Union. But the provision also contained a strong public good characteristic, since the costs and benefits from the alliance relationships were asymmetric in favor of the two superpowers' respective allies. For more details, see Aggarwal, Vinod K. and Koo, Min Gyo, “Northeast Asia's Economic and Security Regionalism: Withering or Blossoming?” In Shin, Gi-Wook and Sneider, Daniel C., eds., Cross Currents: Regionalism and Nationalism in Northeast Asia (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, forthcoming).Google Scholar

11. See Aggarwal, and Koo, , “Beyond Network Power?” and Aggarwal, Vinod K. and Koo, Min Gyo, “The Evolution of APEC and ASEM: Implications of the New East Asian Bilateralism,” European Journal of East Asian Studies 4, no. 2 (2005): 233261.Google Scholar

12. Aggarwal, and Koo, , “The Evolution of APEC and ASEM,” pp. 255259.Google Scholar

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14. Ibid., p. 4. Ruggie did not take note of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), created in 1954, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), established in 1967, presumably because SEATO did not prove viable (although it lasted for two decades) and ASEAN came relatively late in the postwar period. But why Asia did not develop a viable multilateral institution in the immediate postwar period ought to have aroused a multilateralism scholar's curiosity, a point Katzenstein would make in his 2002 article with Hemmer; see Hemmer, Christopher and Katzenstein, Peter J., “Why Is There No NATO in Asia? Collective Identity, Regionalism, and the Origins of Multilateralism,” International Organization 56, no. 3 (Summer 2002): 575–607. NATO (which some would not regard as truly multilateral—it is collective defense, rather than an alliance with the characteristics of inclusiveness that is integral to multilateralism) merited a chapter.Google Scholar

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18. Katzenstein, Peter, “Regionalism in Comparative Perspective,” Conflict and Cooperation 31, No. 2 (1996): 123159. This was incorporated into his coauthored (with Takashi Shiraisi) introduction to Network Power: Japan and Asia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997).Google Scholar

19. Hemmer, and Katzenstein, , “Why Is There No NATO in Asia?” p. 575.Google Scholar

20. See Acharya, Amitav, “Regionalism and Regime Security in the Third World: Comparing the Origins of the ASEAN and the GCC.” In Job, Brian L., ed., The Insecurity Dilemma: National Security of Third World States (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1991), pp. 143164.Google Scholar

21. Acharya, Amitav, “Why Is There No NATO in Asia? The Normative Origins of Asian Multilateralism,” Working Paper No. 05-05, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, July 2005.Google Scholar

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23. Ibid., p. 5.Google Scholar

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31. Acharya, , “Will Asia's Past Be Its Future?”; Aggarwal, and Koo, , in this roundtable.Google Scholar

32. Katzenstein stresses practice over discourse in regional construction. Regions are “defined by their distinctive institutional forms which both alter and are altered by behavior or political practice” (Katzenstein, 2005, 6). They cannot be simply “ideological constructs” (Katzenstein, 2005, 12); Katzenstein speaks of regional identity mainly in terms of history, culture, and institutionalization. I argue that regionalist ideas and discourses are an important part of region building. See Acharya, Amitav, The Quest for Identity: International Relations of Southeast Asia (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 2000).Google Scholar

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37. I owe the transatlantic point to Philip Cerny, but for an elaboration of the general point, see Higgott, Richard, “International Political Economy.” In Goodin, Robert, Pettit, Philip, and Pogge, Thomas, eds., A Companion to Political Philosophy, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007).Google Scholar

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39. Particularly in the security domain, Europe's past was destined to be Asia's future. See, for example, Friedberg, Aaron, “Ripe for Rivalry: Prospects for Peace in Multi-Polar Asia,” International Security 18, No. 3 (1993/94): 533; and Buzan, and Segal, , “Rethinking East Asian Security.” Google Scholar

40. See Breslin, Shaun, “Theorizing East Asian Regionalism(s): New Regionalism and Asia's Future(s).” In Curley, Melissa and Thomas, Nick, eds., Advancing East Asian Regionalism (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 2651.Google Scholar

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44. On institutional theory, see Simmons, Beth and Martin, Lisa, “International Organizations and Institutions.” In Carlsnaes, Walter, Risse, Thomas, and Simmons, Beth, eds., A Handbook of International Relations (London: Sage, 2002), pp. 192211. The growing interest in the role of institutions in East Asia is chronicled in Richard Higgott, “Regionalization, Regionalism and Institutionalism: The Prospects and Limits of Institutionalism in East Asia.” In Thakur, Ramesh, ed., Institutionalizing East Asia: Making the Impossible Possible? (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, forthcoming).Google Scholar

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47. Ibid., pp. 1011.Google Scholar

48. Ibid., p. 14.Google Scholar

49. Baldwin, Richard, “Managing the Noodle Bowl: The Fragility of East Asian Regionalism,” Discussion Paper No. 5561, Centre for Economic Policy Research, available at Scholar

50. See Katzenstein, , “East Asia,” p. 27; and the detailed discussion in Shiraishu, Takshi, “The Third Wave: Southeast Asia and Middle Class Formation in the Making of a Region.” In Katzenstein, and Shiraishi, , Beyond Japan. Google Scholar

51. A recognition, for example, that lay behind the decision of the UK Economic and Social Research Council to make a major investment to research this relationship (see Scholar

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54. For a review, see Breslin, , “Theorizing East Asian Regionalism,” and the essays in Pempel, T. J., ed., Remapping East Asia: The Construction of a Region (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004).Google Scholar

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56. See Higgott, Richard, “After Neo-Liberal Globalization: The Securitization of U.S. Foreign Economic Policy in East Asia,” Critical Asian Studies 36, No. 3 (2004): 425444; and Dieter, Heribert and Higgott, Richard, “Is Washington Losing Asia? The Drawbacks of Linking Trade and Security in America's Foreign Policy,” 2007, mimeo.Google Scholar

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65. Rather curiously, Katzenstein does not provide a definition of regionalism in A World of Regions (or at least not one that I have discovered in several readings of the book—the index entry for “regionalism, defined” identifies two locations but neither page includes the word). Clearly, given Katzenstein's emphasis that regions have three significant underpinnings— material, ideational, and institutional—his is a broader understanding than that afforded by the frequently adopted definition of regionalism as a process of intergovernmental collaboration (to distinguish it from regionalization—another term that Katzenstein uses but for which he does not offer a definition). For this distinction, see Lorenz, Detlef, “Regionalization Versus Regionalism: Problems of Change in the World Economy,” Intereconomics 26, No. 1 (January–February 1991): 310.Google Scholar

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67. In A World of Regions, Katzenstein does not repeat earlier claims that regional order “is the central organizing principle in world politics” or that economic regionalism is “an effort to regain some measure of political control over processes of economic globalization that have curtailed national policy instruments.” The first quotation is from Katzenstein, “Varieties of Asian Regionalism,” in Katzenstein, Peter et al., eds., East Asian Regionalism (Ithaca: Cornell University East Asia Program, 2000), p. 1; the second quotation is from Katzenstein, Peter J. and Shiraishi, Takashi, “Conclusion: Regions in World Politics: Japan and Asia—Germany in Europe.” In Katzenstein, and Shiraishi, , Network Power, p. 344.Google Scholar

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77. Gungwu, Wang, “Greater China and the Chinese Overseas,” China Quarterly, no. 136 (December 1993): 930. Estimating the magnitude of the flows between ethnic Chinese businesses in Southeast Asia and the mainland is particularly difficult. Aggregate data on, for instance, investments from Singapore in China may reflect transfers from the subsidiaries of US corporations that maintain regional headquarters in Singapore or investments by Singaporean parastatals, the “government linked companies.” For further discussion of problems in estimating China's FDI inflows, see Ravenhill, John, “Is China an Economic Threat to Southeast Asia?” Asian Survey 46, no. 5 (October 2006): 653–674.Google Scholar

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84. I would like to thank Katzenstein, Mary F. and Sil, Rudra for comments on an earlier draft, and Christopher James Kupka for assistance in updating the figures in endnote 91.Google Scholar

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86. For internationalization and globalization theory, respectively, the cases are easy in the following sense. Internal and external security policies illustrate the logic of states intent on defending their sovereignty; cultural diplomacy is an important way for states to represent themselves to others in the international arena. Technology and production are prime cases illustrating the compression of time and the shrinking of space; the unregulated flow of popular culture connects individuals in a global way.Google Scholar

87. See Katzenstein, and Okawara, , “Japan, Asian-Pacific Security, and the Case for Analytical Eclecticism”; and Katzenstein, Peter J. and Sil, Rudra, “The Contributions of Eclectic Theorizing to the Study and Practice of International Relations.” In Reus-Smit, Chris and Snidal, Duncan, eds., Oxford Handbook of International Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming); Katzenstein, and Sil, , “Rethinking Asian Security”; and Sil, Rudra and Katzenstein, Peter J., “What Is Analytical Eclecticism and Why Do We Need It?” paper prepared for the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, 2005.Google Scholar

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89. See Katzenstein, Peter J., ed., Mitteleuropa: Between Europe and Germany (Providence, RI: Berghahn, 1997); Katzenstein, , ed., Tamed Power: Germany in Europe (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997); and Katzenstein, and Shiraishi, , Network Power. Google Scholar

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91. China is making giant economic and political strides. Yet, after fifteen years of explosive economic growth in China and economic stagnation in Japan, in 2005 Japan still accounted for 11 percent of global national income, compared with China's 5 percent. Japan's lead over China in total GDP is 2:1 on an aggregate basis and about 20:1 on a per capita basis, with the differences narrowing quickly. This is an important shift, and over time the balance of economic power will rapidly shift further. But just as capitalist China will have its lean years, Japan will have its fat ones. And when those years come, we can only hope that China's political system will show the same resilience and adherence to democratic norms that have characterized Japan during the last fifteen years. Statistics available at;;;;; and (accessed April 26, 2007).Google Scholar