Cooperative capacity : US foreign policy and building stability in Northeast Asia
Nagle, Thomas James.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. In the post-World War II era, the US has helped shape much of the structure of international relations. As one of the centers of global power the US is concerned about, Northeast Asia has a variety of challenges that include a potentially threatening China, a "rogue" regime in North Korea, and deep historical animosities. Despite these destabilizing factors, the region has not experienced a serious breakdown of order. The stability of the region, measured by a tendency to move toward equilibrium when experiencing significant system change, is a major goal of US foreign policy. This paper will ask two primary questions related to this regional system dynamic. First, what impact has American foreign policy had in shaping the region's ability to move towards equilibrium, and what are its foundations? Second, given how the system adjusts, what are the implications of some of the major strategic choices the US may face? The hypothesis of this paper is that under the umbrella of US security guarantees, Asian states have developed, or are developing, complementary economic and political strategies, building stability in the regional system. This interdependence is emerging as a result of states adopting policies in which they forgo "normal" state capabilities, such as defense, in order to maximize the return on the investment of their resources. The Waltzian penalties on such strategies predicted by neo-realism are not occurring because the US is providing key cooperative capabilities in five areas: providing a high concentration of power to overcome collective action problems, preventing concern over relative gains, preventing heavy discounting of the value of future returns, providing an epistemic community to assist in policy adjustments, and providing a credible regime-building capability. While the US commitment to Northeast Asia continues to be an important aspect of regional stability, this paper suggests a deliberate effort by the US can assist the region in developing internally-generated stability, provided a balance can be struck between competing priorities in short-term management and long-term development.
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