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A region of their making visions of regional orders and paths to peace making in northeast Asia /

by 1974- Choi, Jong Kun

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation asks two fundamental questions - how could one explain and characterize relative peace, security and prosperity in Northeast Asia (NEA) for the last two decades? What have we missed out theoretically in terms of seeing the then future of NEA? The dissertation challenges the prevailing pessimistic arguments about Northeast Asian security by criticizing their analytical failure to assess the progressive trends of regional interactions. I argue that their projections were blinded by the structure-oriented theoretical conjectures. In this vein, the dissertation re-characterizes the past 17 years of the Post Cold War in the region as the surprising peace where regional states have achieved a progressive, relatively well–coordinated, cooperative, and prudent regional order. This dissertation provides a new framework of understanding and explaining Northeast Asia’s regional order throughout the Post Cold War period. I argue that many different stimuli at structural level occurred for the last 17 years in Northeast Asia, which may have driven states to many different actions and could have led to a conflict pronesituations or conflicts themselves. But I find the persistence of such ideas as war aversion, stability for development and regional prosperity throughout the region. And the overall outcome in Northeast Asian for the last 17 years is the avoidance of major harm and the progressive development of regional order. It appears that the pacifying character of the Northeast Asian regional order is intra-regionally originated. Therefore, in order to explain the progressive regional order in Northeast Asia, I develop an analytical construct, Vision of Regional Order (VRO), to account for the unfolding of regional interactions for ii the past 17 years from a phenomenological approach. A VRO is states’ expectation and understanding about what constitutes suitable behaviors towards neighboring states based on historical memories, perceived threat and perceived economic opportunity. Each VRO provide insights into behavioral disposition, which I call a vector or orientation of the major policy behaviors. I examine the four empirical cases – the end of the Cold War, the 1994 North Korean nuclear crisis, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the 2001-5 historical disputes. I find that the goals and preferences of NEA states in their own terms at critical junctures have affected patterns of regional interactions and produced the surprising peace in the region. Theoretically, the dissertation argues that regional orders are products of layers of multiple interactions by deliberately chosen strategies by regional states who implement their visions for the optimal regional order. This means that configurations of regional security dynamics (i.e. distribution of power, alliance or regional economic interdependence or even cultural exchanges) are consciously pursued by states; these are not something that emerges automatically. iii To My Son, My Wife, My Mother, and, above all. My Father iv
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:asian cooperation political stability international relations idea philosophy asia

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