The world is in crisis. The Covid pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war signify a potential order transition in the international system. The Indo Pacific is at the center of gravity of great power competition between the US and China. How have policy elites in the region perceived the potential order transition against the background of US-China strategic competition? How have states, including both great and secondary powers, chosen different strategies to cope with security and economic turbulence in the Indo Pacific? This special issue intends to shed some light on these questions by critically examining the diverse perceptions and policy choices of the United States, China, South Korea, India, Japan, Indonesia, and the UK during the period of potential order transition in the Indo Pacific. It provides an academic platform for scholars to engage in this ‘order transition’ topic from different theoretical perspectives as well as from respective national angles in the Indo Pacific. It suggests that the complexity of the international order itself has made the ‘order transition’ more complicated and difficult than before. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, and it is the most challenging time for state leaders and scholars alike.
East Asia is usually associated with war and conflict. This applies to its historical past, as well as to the present post-Cold War period. In fact, this pessimism on the region has hardened with the worsening structural US-China competition since 2010. Challenging this prevailing view, this special issue argues that the concepts of peace and peaceful change are critical elements to explain East Asian regional dynamics in the post-Cold War period. It poses the following questions: (a) how could peace and peaceful change be analysed conceptually at the regional level?; (b) what type of peace and peaceful change notions are applicable to East Asia?; (c) what are the sources and mechanisms of regional peace in East Asia and its sub-regions and how have the sources and mechanisms changed over the post-Cold War period?; (d) how has the worsening US-China structural competition affected the prospects of peace in East Asia?; and (e) how do the middle powers, namely Japan, South Korea, Australia and Indonesia, contribute to peace and peaceful change in the region? The special issue is the first attempt to systematically apply the concepts of peace and peaceful change on East Asia. The articles identify the sources and mechanisms of peace and peaceful change, apply an eclectic conceptual approach that combines traditional and non-traditional IR theories; and assess the prospects of peace in East Asia in the context of the worsening structural tensions presented by the US-China competition.
17 articles in this special issue explore the interplay of (de-)globalization and the resilience of the liberal world order. How pervasive are deglobalization forces? What is their impact on the liberal world order? Vice versa, how do contestations about the liberal world order affect globalization and deglobalization? The issue makes three important contributions. First, it examines globalization and deglobalization systematically. Second, we embed the liberal international order in broader globalization and deglobalization processes, thus opening up new vistas for research on the future of this order. Third, the contributors, taken together, provide novel insights into the forces that drive and halt epochal change in world politics. (All articles in the special are available for free downloading until November 30, 2021).
With the rapid rise of China and the relative decline of the United States, the topic of power transition conflicts is back in popular and scholarly attention. The discipline of International Relations offers much on why violent power transition conflicts occur, yet very few substantive treatments exist on why and how peaceful changes happen in world politics. This Handbook is the first comprehensive treatment of the subject of peaceful change in International Relations. It contains some 41 chapters, all written by scholars from different theoretical and conceptual backgrounds examining the multi-faceted dimensions of this subject.
“The rise of the rest,” especially China, has triggered an inevitable transformation of the so-called liberal international order. Rising powers, like China and other BRICS countries, started to challenge and push for reform of existing institutions like the IMF or create new ones, such as the AIIB. The United States, under the Trump Administration, on the other hand, begun to retreat from the international institutions that it once led or created, such as the TPP, the Paris Climate Accord as well as the Iran nuclear deal. It is also currently attempting to dismantle the WTO and trade regime built around it. Challenging power transition theory that predicts military conflicts or the so-called “Thucydides trap” between the ruling hegemon and rising powers, we argue that despite attempts to scuttle, peaceful institutional competition and transformation are becoming central features of international order transition. Consequently, this project focuses on the sources, mechanisms, and processes of possible peaceful change of international institutions and by international institutions in the current and future international order. Leading scholars in the International Relations field will offer diverse theoretical and empirical perspectives on the mechanisms of peaceful change and international institutions, focusing both on theoretical innovation and bridging the gap between the theory and practice of power transition. A special journal issue and an edited volume are planned.
Organizer: Kai He, Griffith University
This introductory paper of the presidential issue examines IR theory’s problems and prospects in understanding when and how change happens, especially peaceful transformations in world politics. The ISA 2017 Baltimore conference was aimed at taking an assessment of our understanding of change, its different manifestations as well as implications. The papers in this special issue deal with important questions on different markers and manifestations of change in world politics. The implications might range from epochal transformations to limited changes in the international system, especially within and between regions to incremental changes in how international treaties and global governance initiatives are promulgated, which in turn produce long-term and/or short-term changes in the architecture of world politics. It also addresses the following questions: How do different IR paradigms address change? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Can we understand change sequentially or cumulatively or combining their insights? How do material and ideational factors link together in generating change?