Annual Conference: Regional Peace and Internal Conflict Who fights? Exploring the relationship between honor ideology and violent political behavior in Thailand



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Abstracts-East Asian Peace, 5th Annual Conference: Regional Peace and Internal Conflict
Who fights? Exploring the relationship between honor ideology and violent political behavior in Thailand

Karen Brounéus, Elin Bjarnegård and Erik Melander


Who takes to arms for political purposes? Guided by theory on honor ideology, this paper finds micro-level evidence for a link between individual attitudes towards men’s privilege and women’s subordination, and participating in political violence. A number of previous studies find a macro-level relationship between gender equality and the peacefulness of societies. Yet, little is known of how micro-level factors, such as personal attitudes towards gender equality and violence, are linked to participation in political violence. In this paper, we present new and unique individual level survey data on these issues collected in Thailand.
A total of 1,200 people – a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Thai men and women as well as a special sample of ‘hardcore’ political activists (100 red-shirts and 100 yellow-shirts) – were interviewed on issues concerning gender equality and violence. We argue that honor ideology consists of patriarchal values combined with embracing the ideal of masculine toughness. Using factor analysis, we constructed a measure of Patriarchal Values, consisting of nine survey items tapping different relevant attitudes. We measure masculine ideology as the interaction of patriarchal values and an item capturing masculine toughness. In a series of tests, we found that honor ideology strongly and robustly predicts a higher likelihood of engaging in violent political behavior, in the total survey (political activists plus the nationally representative sample) as well as in the nationally representative sample without the activists, and among the activists analyzed separately. The study thus confirms the theoretical expectations of the relationship between honor ideology and violence, and extends it to the political domain. The ability of a specific combination of attitudinal measures – i.e., honor ideology – to help identify individuals who are more prone to use violence for political purposes is quite unique. To our knowledge, this is the first study in which individual attitudes are found to actually predict engagement in violent political behavior.
Sub-abstract:

How deep is the East Asian Peace?

After three high-level presentations of a previous version of this paper in 2014 (APSA, Harvard and EAP, Beijing) this paper now makes a unique contribution to the field of violence at the micro-level. The paper addresses the question of ‘how deep is the East Asian Peace?’ by looking at micro-level factors that predict violent political behavior. We find that honor ideology predicts engagement in political violence – a finding with far-reaching policy implications. If we merge our results with other recent studies conducted in South East Asia on issues of violence – for example concerning the male perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence (Fulu et al 2013) – our findings suggest that without norms of gender equality the East Asian Peace will continue to be only skin deep.

East Timor and the East Asian Peace – the significance of local patterns of sociality
Anne Brown

Drawing on studies of East Timor, and of East Timor’s post-independence relationship with Indonesia, this paper highlights the role of local, often culturally rooted patterns of sociality and values in enabling social peace in everyday life and in more extraordinary situations. Socio-cultural practices within East Timor have played fundamental roles underpinning social peace and in working with the aftermath of protracted violence in the young state. At the same time, East Timor’s notably pacific post-independence relationship with Indonesia reflects not only formal relations between states, but is arguably also underpinned by cultural and historical relations across some communities in East Timor and Indonesia. East Timor thus provides examples of and insights into some dimensions of the East Asian peace, both across international borders and within them. This paper will explore forms and examples of culturally grounded social order and indicate how they have contributed to peace within East Timor and across its most sensitive border. This exploration also encourages reflection on how such peace might be consolidated or weakened at the national level. The paper argues that while elite politics and the state, narrowly conceived, can be significant sources and mechanisms of conflict management, we often cannot understand peace, or indeed violent conflict, without paying attention to local patterns of sociality.



Global System Determinants of the East Asian Peace

Seyom Brown


The relatively peaceful situation in East Asia since the 1980s has been to a large extent the result of emergent trends in the global system-- especially the increasing diversification of dependency and commercial relationships among an expanding field of state and non-state actors. Today, neither bipolarity nor unipolarity, nor even post-Cold War multipolarity, is the dominant structural characteristic of world politics and its manifestations in East Asia. Rather, the multiplication of influential actors with cross-cutting relationships has been producing a global and regional “polyarchy” wherein, typically, one’s adversaries on some issues are important allies on others – a dense web of associations which discourages, while it does not preclude, the escalation of conflicts to the level of full-scale civil war or inter-state war. The durability of the emergent global polyarchy, however, and its reflection in East Asian politics is highly uncertain in the face of continuing power plays by China and Russia and the expansion of Islamic jihadism. The evolving effort in East Asia of  the United States and other countries to develop and maintain the pacific aspects of polyarchy while strengthening the region’s collective security capacities is a central challenge for statecraft and diplomacy in the years ahead.
Subnational conflict in Asia – trends and new directions for research

Sasiwan Chingchit and Bryony Lau


Despite perceptions of Asia as a region of peace, numerous internal conflicts persist. Subnational conflicts are particularly prevalent in both Southeast and South Asia and, as previous research by The Asia Foundation has shown, they contain multiple, overlapping forms of violence, such as state-minority and communal violence. This paper seeks to explain two phenomena: why and how, at specific moments in time, the intensity of these two forms of violence changed in subnational conflicts; and what might account for the mix of state-minority and communal violence that is observed over time and across subnational conflicts. We derive a series of plausible hypotheses to explain these shifts in violence and overall trajectories from the literature on civil war, ethnic conflict and communal violence. Turning then to a subset of subnational conflicts identified previously by The Asia Foundation, we identify shifts in the level of state-minority and communal violence for nine cases and propose a typology of subnational conflict trajectories. Lastly, we assess which of our hypotheses seems to yield the most compelling explanation for our cases and propose directions for future research.
State Consolidation and a Long Peace in East Asia?

Chong Ja Ian


War has become increasingly rare in East Asia since the 1980s, falling to perhaps what is its lowest historical level since the early nineteenth century. This stands in contrast to the violence of the nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries. Gone are imperial projects, major power war, and Cold War-driven conflicts. Even large-scale, organised violence among armed domestic groups seem to be on the wane. One explanation for this phenomenon is the triumph and increasing consolidation of sovereign state projects across East Asia since the 1980s. As polities in region establish greater exclusivity of control over territories and populations they hold and eschew intervention along with actors outside the region, came a corresponding decline in the large scale use of force to settle overtly political differences.
This essay intends to test and examine the degree to which the long peace in East Asia results from the sovereign state project. After all, such an outcome may be just as possible given changes in structural conditions driving war. These may include a decline in the need among major powers for direct control of territory and populations, a general decline in the intensity of major power competition, or even the rising costs of war. My essay seeks to tease out the relationships among these various forces and the sovereign state project in East Asia in explaining the long peace in that region. The piece will also consider the degree to which conditions for the long peace in Asia are sustainable and perhaps generalisable to other parts of the world.
Authoritarian Audiences in International Crises: Evidence from Real-History and Hypothetical Survey Experiments in China

Allan Dafoe and Jessica Weiss


Can authoritarian leaders back down in international crises without suffering domestic audience costs? Although authoritarian leaders are less susceptible to routine removal by their citizens, many of them remain deeply concerned about public disapproval and the challenge posed to them by public protests. We investigate whether Chinese public opinion responds to crisis behavior in a manner that would generate domestic audience costs. We employ survey experiments involving hypothetical scenarios, as well as a novel “real history” design in which respondents are selectively reminded of real events. We test for several kinds of audience costs. We investigate whether the public exhibits what we call “thin audience costs”: disapproval for backing down after a threat. We then investigate whether the public exhibits other (“thick”) forms of audience costs: disapproval for backing down after a foreign provocation, after a use of force (but no threat), and after a history of nationalist rhetoric. We also examine whether an authoritarian regime like China can utilize elite informational cues emphasizing the costs of war to attenuate disapproval of backing down.
Beyond the Toolkit: Supporting Peace Processes in Asia

Lisa Denney and Patrick Barron


In recent years there have been growing calls for new approaches to supporting peace in post-conflict contexts. Current peacebuilding models do not reflect what we know about the nature of conflict, how it ends and how peace processes are sustained and peace consolidated. This is especially true in the context of middle income countries where central state capacity is often present yet conflicts still frequently occur. In Asia, the dominant pattern of large-scale violence is of subnational conflicts occurring in the peripheries of functioning states. Dominant international approaches are often ill-suited for supporting peace in these places. Drawing on ideas from emerging thinking around ‘thinking and working politically’ and ‘doing development differently’, this paper presents ideas on ways to support peace processes that go beyond the conventional tool kit. The paper outlines ideas on the need to move away from a focus on technical knowledge and capacity to examining and engaging with the entrenched power structures and political dynamics that hold back development and peace.
Fueling Conflict or Dampening It? The Complex Role of Drugs & Other Illicit Economies in Peace and Conflict in Thailand and Myanmar

Vanda Felbab-Brown


My paper will explore the relationship between conflict, peace dynamics, and drugs and other illicit economies in Thailand and Myanmar since the 1960s through the current period. In both cases, drugs and other illicit economies fueled insurgencies and ethnic separatism. Yet both Myanmar and Thailand turned out in different ways to be (controversial) examplars of how to suppress conflict in the context of the drugs-conflict nexus. They both show that the central premise of narcoinsurgency/narcoterrorism conventional wisdom – in order to defeat militants, bankrupt them by destroying the illicit drug economy on which they rely – was ineffective and counterproductive. At the same time, however, in both Thailand and Myanmar, recent anti-drug policies either have generated new hidden violent social conflict or threaten to unravel the fragile ethnic peace. The leading hypothesis and policy implication are: While illicit economies fuel conflict, their suppression is often counterproductive to ending conflict and can provoke new forms of conflict. Prioritization and sequencing of government efforts to end conflict and reduce illicit economies is crucial.

Thailand has become a paragon of how to implement alternative livelihoods to wean local populations off of cultivating illicit crops. Yet the strategy’s success was critically enabled by Thailand suspension of eradication of illicit crops while the ethnic insurgency among the poppy-cultivating Hmong was under way. Suspending eradication and thus being able to win the population’s allegiance was crucial. While no-doubt well-designed, alternative livelihoods only became effective long after violent conflict had ended.

Recently, however, Thailand’s drug policies have been the source of an undisclosed conflict: In early 2003, Prime Minister Thaksin launched a zero tolerance “War on Drugs.” In addition to many arrested, an estimated 2,819 people were killed during the “War.” A new phase of the war is currently under way.



Burma is yet another case where laissez-faire policies toward illicit economies were central to the government’s ability to end military conflict. However, the policies adopted in Burma provide a new twist on laissez-faire: laissez-faire was not used by the government to win the hearts and minds of the population, but rather to buy off and co-opt the belligerents and the traffickers themselves. Indeed the centerpiece of the ceasefires of the early 1990s was the junta’s acquiescence to the belligerents’ continued trade with any of the goods in their territories – including, drugs, minerals, timber, and wildlife.

Renegotiating the ethnic ceasefires of the 1990s into permanent negotiated settlements is one of the essential determinants of whether lasting peace is established and Myanmar’s transition from authoritarianism succeed. Yet it is not clear whether the economic inducements a la the 1990s can any longer be available. First, the international oversight, including China’s, is far more determined to not allow the perpetuation of illicit economies in Myanmar, such as a resurrected poppy economy. Second, many more actors, including Baman groups and Chinese enterprises, are now intermeshed in a variety of Myanmar’s economies, including illegal logging and land seizure, squeezing out ethnic participants. For many reasons, beyond but including management of illicit economies and economic interests, some of the peace negotiations are breaking down and violent conflicts are restarting.


Order (not Power) Transition: An English School Approach to Explaining the East Asian Peace

Evelyn Goh


How best can we explain the East Asian peace since the Cold War ended? Arguing that existing ideas about balance of power and power transition are inadequate, this paper argues instead that there has been a lively negotiated ‘order transition’ in post-Cold War East Asia centred on the re-negotiation of a new social compact between the U.S., China and other regional states. Hegemonic power is based on both coercion and consent, and hegemony is crucially underpinned by shared norms and values. Thus hegemons must constantly legitimize their unequal power to other states. In periods of strategic change, the most important political dynamics centre on this bargaining process, conceived here as the negotiation of a social compact. The key argument is that the East Asian peace is underpinned by U.S. hegemony, which was made possible by the complicity of key regional states. But this new social compact also makes room for rising powers and satisfies smaller states’ insecurities. By focusing on the negotiated transition in regional order rather than power distribution, the paper controversially proposes that the East Asian system is multi-tiered and hierarchical, led by the U.S. but incorporating China, Japan, and other states in the layers below it.
Exploring local perspectives on denial and acknowledgment in post-conflict Aceh, Indonesia

Holly L. Guthrey


Acknowledgment of responsibility for and the consequences of human rights violations has been considered to be important for both individuals and societies following periods of mass violence. Denial, even if it is tacit, has conversely been seen to have negative effects at various levels—including individual, societal, and state. However, we currently know little about the perceived impact of denial, or absence of acknowledgment, upon individuals and societies affected by conflict from an empirical standpoint.
Through an exploratory case study of post-conflict Aceh, Indonesia, this study seeks to contribute to answering the question: What is the perceived impact of denial, or a failure to acknowledge, the consequences of mass violence upon victims and societies in the aftermath of atrocity? Based on data from in-depth interviews conducted with 28 individuals in 3 regions of Aceh province as well as Jakarta, this study finds that conflict-affected individuals see acknowledgment as necessary for victim healing, reconciliation, and preserving peace in Aceh. Eschewing acknowledgment, based on interview responses, leaves open the possibility for recurring conflict and hence makes the attainment of sustainable peace impossible.
Domestic conflicts and regional contests

Natasha Hamilton-Hart


Peaceful relations among the capitalist states of Southeast Asia in the period since the formation of ASEAN in 1967 were underpinned by decisive victories by anti-communist forces in long-running domestic contests. The defeat of the left in the original ASEAN states ushered in particular patterns of economic growth and regional integration, based on an amalgam of private investor interests and state capitalism. Although there are strands of populism visible across the region, a politically organized left has never been reconstituted. In the last 15 years, however, the coalitional bases of some countries are facing challenges associated with changing configurations of domestic power and interest. Regional countries are facing rising demands for redistribution and social protection while simultaneously exposed to the pressures of economic openness and competition. To date, a weak regional cooperation agenda has been driven by outward-oriented and globally competitive actors in each country. Their interest in developing a regional agenda to address the pressures associated with current patterns of growth is very limited, paving the way for increased intra-regional conflict should these pressures escalate.
Nuclear weapons and the East Asian peace

Henrik Hiim


Do nuclear weapons contribute to the great power peace in East Asia? Drawing on Robert Jervis’ classical “nuclear peace” theory, I argue that nuclear weapons have stabilized the strategic relationship between the U.S. and China. Moreover, in contrast to what some more pessimistic observers claim, I argue that China’s ongoing nuclear modernization may further enhance stability. That greater confidence in its second-strike capability will “embolden” China and make it behave more assertively towards its neighbors is overstated.

I further hold that nuclear weapons reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk of limited conventional conflicts. At the same time, although the likelihood of escalation remains small, there are some worrying developments in the conventional postures of both the U.S. and China that may weaken the “firebreaks” between nuclear and conventional conflict.


What Role for the United States in the East Asian Peace?

Chin‐Hao Huang


It is conventional wisdom in Washington that the U.S. military presence in East Asia is the primary factor preserving regional stability. This paper takes a harder look at this common assumption, not by undermining it but by testing the extant literature’s logical consistency and empirical developments in the region, and by delimiting the notion with a set of conditions under which U.S. military presence is more or less effective in contributing to regional peace. There is no question that the United States plays a critical role for leadership in the region. The more important question remains: how much does the U.S. alliance system matter for East Asian stability, when, and where? This paper will discuss the extent to which the United States is complementing or complicating regional efforts and priorities for security and stability. Exploring these questions should help add greater precision about the impact of the U.S. security presence, ways to recalibrate the “rebalancing” strategy, and its future role in East Asia.
East Asia’s Uneasy Long Peace

Victoria Hui

It is often argued that China has maintained an unusual, long peace with its East Asian neighbors especially Korea and Vietnam from historical times to modern times. As this peace is typically explained by shared civilization, it is dubbed the “Confucian peace.” During the Cold War when Confucianism was not in vogue, China, North Korea and Vietnam shared the communist ideology and claimed brotherhood relations. What this idea-based explanation misses is that while East Asian peace has been long, it has not been unbroken. We would be mistaken to focus on only peaceful periods and ignore outbreaks of war. The peace since the 1980s came after the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979. The challenge is to develop an explanation that can account for both long peace and periodic conflicts. I argue that East Asian peace came only on the heels of the hard lesson that any war with Vietnam or Korea would incur immense human and material losses. The pyrrhic victory over Vietnam only exposed the poor state of the People’s Liberation Army. China’s earlier involvement in the Korean War likewise resulted in untold losses of lives. Periodic conflicts have constructed long peace by reaffirming the futility of fighting. 

This pattern has deep roots in history. Since the Han dynasty, China fought “Vietnam” and “Korea” (as geographical names) only infrequently. We would be mistaken to look for the absence of balance of power because China’s East Asian neighbors were too geographically dispersed for effective balancing. What we should look for is the capacity for resistance by Vietnam and Korea. As China either failed in its expeditionary campaigns or was later driven out after initial victory, each dynasty learned the hard lesson that the superior policy was to maintain peace under fictive familial relations. My paper will situate the peace since the 1980s with this deep historical pattern.



Amnesties and peace agreements in East Asia

Renée Jeffery


This paper examines the role that amnesties have played in securing peace agreements in East Asia and the impact that those amnesties have had on lasting peace in the region. Amnesties are controversial. Employed as bargaining tools to bring about the end of conflicts, peace-settlement amnesties are underpinned by the idea that warring parties and rebel groups may be more willing to negotiate a peaceful settlement of their dispute if they will not face prosecution for acts committed during the conflict. At the same time, however, the fact that amnesties are often granted to the perpetrators of human rights violations has led many to doubt their legitimacy. Reflecting this sentiment, in 1999 the United Nations Secretary-General’s guidelines on negotiations for conflict resolution made it clear that amnesties for human rights violations would not be condoned, even where the signing of a peace agreement was at stake.
Yet despite this proclamation amnesties for human rights violations continue to be included in peace agreements. This has particularly been the case in the Asia-Pacific region. Of the eight major peace agreements reached in the Asia-Pacific since 1999, five have included explicit amnesties (Solomon Islands; East Timor 2001; Papua New Guinea/ Bougainville 2001; India/Mizoram 2005; Indonesia/Aceh 2005) while at least one potentially includes a de facto amnesty (Nepal 2006). This suggests that peace-settlement amnesties are still regarded as a key instrument for achieving peace in the region. Focusing on the four East Asian cases, this paper will examine the extent to which these peace-settlement amnesties have actually played their assumed roles in securing peace agreements and establishing lasting peace. That is, it will test the assumptions, prevalent in the Asia-Pacific, that amnesties are a necessary feature of peace agreements and that the failure to pursue accountability for human rights violations does not have a negative impact on lasting peace and security.
Dusun Nyoir revisted: What new light on old conflicts tells us about the depth of present peace

Christopher M. Joll


The contention of this paper is that any coherent commentary on the depth of peace in present-day East Asia, requires a radical upgrading by historians and anthropologists involved in peace research in their analysis of the range of personalities and processes involved in past episodes of violence. This paper presents a mixture of ethnographic, historical, and textual data connected to a Sufi movement whose operational base is located in the Dusun Nyoir district of Narathiwat Province. Largely thanks to studies undertaken by scholars Chaiwat Satha-Anand (2006) and Nidhi Aeusrivongse (2006), it is difficult to imagine anyone even superficially interested in South Thailand’s geography of violence (Toft 2003) not having heard of Dusun Nyoir. This, after all, was the site of one of South Thailand’s most notorious altercations between Malay villagers and Thai security forces. Some have even suggested that the timing of the co-ordinated attacks in April 2004, was connected with this event which occurred over a 3-day period, in April 1948. Although building on previous studies, this paper seeks to place the Dusun Nyoir rebellion in it’s wider geo-political context, and revisits conceived wisdom about the role of Islamic movements albeit inadequately referred to as Sufism. In Narathiwat and Kelantan, following contacts with Kyai Salleh, a movement locally known as Ayat Pa’ (empat) developed his devotional practices and esoteric knowledge, the most important of which is invulnerability (ilum kebal). As a response to the anarchy following the Japanese surrender and attempts by communist forces to maximize military gains before the return of British rule, Kyai Salleh was commissioned by the Sultan of Johor Baru to defend Malay communities, and was temporarily inducted into the Qadriyyah wa Naqshabandiyya tariqa by his Mufti, Haji Fadil.

Economic interdependence and the prospects for peace in the Taiwan Strait

Scott L. Kastner

Abstract: For the past two decades, international politics in East Asia have been characterized by a somewhat puzzling dichotomy of extensive and deepening economic integration on the one hand and persistent and in some cases intensifying political tensions on the other—a dichotomy sometimes described by the pithy saying “cold politics, hot economics.” The relationship across the Taiwan Strait, however, appears to be defying these broader regional patterns. Long viewed as a potential flashpoint, the relationship in recent years has seen an unprecedented détente. How stable and long-lasting is the current cross-Strait détente likely to be? To what degree have deepening cross-Strait economic ties led to a fundamental transformation in the China-Taiwan relationship? This paper aims to provide answers to these questions. The paper first considers different possible conflict scenarios in the Taiwan Strait. The paper then investigates how deepening economic ties between China and Taiwan, and between China and the United States, are affecting the likelihood that any of the different conflict scenarios might materialize. The conclusions are cautiously optimistic, arguing that the probability of armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait is lower than it was in the past. Still, the paper argues that the relationship across the Taiwan Strait remains fundamentally untransformed, and military conflict (including conflict involving the United States) remains a real possibility.

Hard Times for Hard Balancing? China’s Hard Balancing Response to U.S. Missile Defence (2001-14)

Nicholas Khoo


The existence of an East Asian Peace has not meant a disappearance of competitive inter-state balancing dynamics. Indeed, such a dynamic continues to be a central component in post-Cold War era Sino-U.S. relations, and highly relevant to a central debate in contemporary international relations scholarship. This debate concerns the question of whether balancing has occurred in response to U.S.-based unipolarity, and if it has, how this should be characterised. Analysts variously contend that major power responses to unipolarity can be placed in one of either three categories: an absence of balancing, soft balancing, and hard balancing. In respect to the latter category, while theorists such as Kenneth Waltz and Christopher Layne have referred to Chinese hard balancing, the literature currently lacks a detailed and theoretically conscious case study of hard Chinese balancing against the United States.
This paper attempts to fill this gap. Its central contention is that the United States’ development and deployment of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) systems since the late 1990’s has served as a catalyst for hard balancing on the part of China, primarily of an internal variety. Chinese hard internal balancing against the U.S. has involved: (1) fielding new strategic nuclear and conventional weapons equipped with BMD counter-measures, and, relatedly, (2) making changes in military doctrine. Developments in this sphere have contributed to security dilemma dynamics in contemporary Sino-U.S. relations. To the extent that this argument resonates, it represents a vindication of structural realist arguments on power balancing in unipolarity.
Contesting the Norms of Transitional Justice: Timor-Leste’s approach to peace-building

Lia Kent
It is now a decade since the transitional justice mechanisms established by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) completed their formal mandates. In this paper I examine the legacy of these mechanisms and consider what this reveals about the adequacy of liberal peacebuilding prescriptions. I show that an examination of recent East Timorese government policies, statements and initiatives indicates that they are pursuing a very different approach to peacebuilding than that which was promoted by the UN-sponsored transitional justice process and one that might be understood as a form of resistance to it. Specifically, while there is little political will to pursue prosecutions of cases of serious crimes, peace is being sought through the forging of diplomatic relations with Indonesia, the provision of cash payments to different interest groups in society (and, in particular, veterans of the Resistance) and the implementation of large scale development projects. These initiatives are underpinned by narratives that foreground heroism rather than victimhood, and reconciliation-as-forgiveness, rather than retribution, as the path to peace.

While some aspects of the government’s peacebuilding agenda appear to be succeeding in the short term, questions have been raised about the extent to which they are embedding new forms of exclusion and whether, over the long term, they are economically sustainable. While recognizing the validity of these critiques, I nonetheless suggest that this agenda needs to be understood both as a pragmatic attempt by the political leadership to foster stability in a context of geopolitical constraints, and as an expressive, symbolic, endeavour to construct and project a new national identity by invoking historical experiences of colonization and resistance. Attending to both the pragmatic and symbolic dimensions of this peacebuilding agenda enriches understandings of the East Timorese political elite’s resistance to liberal peacebuilding prescriptions.

Japanese Perceptions of Territorial Disputes: Opinion Poll Surveys in the Southwestern Part of Japan
Mikyoung Kim

This article examines the causal associations between domestic Japan’s socio-psychological indices and people’s perceptions towards territorial disputes with China and Korea. The triangulation analyses do not support most of the hypotheses except the explanatory relations with age, level of educational attainment, and Japan’s future projection: the higher the age group is, the stronger the territorial sovereignty conviction becomes; the higher the level of education is, the weaker the support for the Japanese government’s hawkish policy gets; and the more pessimistic the future confidence of Japan is, the bigger the threat perception of China becomes. These causality was established only when the probability level was relaxed from 0.05 to 0.10. This research finds a weak overall causal association between domestic state of affairs and territorial perceptions. The public opinion on territorial claims remain more or less the same being independent of domestic socio-economic conditions. This observation leads to a need to revise the conventional theorem of conflict cycle (i.e., status quo--->provocation---> rise of tension---> conflict relaxation) to reflect more of simultaneous and interactive nature of inter-state conflict (i.e., action {tension/status quo/reconciliation} --->reaction {tension/status quo/reconciliation}). The trajectory of intra-state affairs has become more vulnerable to unexpected and hard-to-control contingencies which defy the procedural progression of conflict management. This implies that the elites can no longer monopolize the policy decisions on foreign affairs.


The Gods must be crazy: Is interreligious violence derailing the East Asian Peace?

Joakim Kreutz & Mihai Catalin Croicu


Despite the general trend of a reduction in conflict and its severity in East Asia, there are also signs that that the current peace may be fragile. In particular, interreligious tension seems to have contributed to and fed communal violence, terrorism, and a new wave of insurgencies in countries as diverse as Japan, China, Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, and Indonesia in the last two decades. Yet, little systematic research exists regarding the dynamics, nature, and actors involved in this violence. This project aims to provide the first systematic data analysis of violence that specifically target religious sites and events over time in the East Asian region. Are attacks on sacred places and figures increasing? Are they becoming more lethal? And, do such attacks escalate into political-religious violence that in the end may challenge the East Asian Peace?

Identity Tension in China-Japan Relations and Its Implications for East Asian Peace:

A Constructivist Analysis

Rex Li
Sub-abstract

Through a constructivist analysis of the identity tension in China-Japan relations, this paper reveals the limitations of the ‘East Asian peace’. Unless China and Japan make a serious effort to address the fundamental issues in their identity clash, it would be difficult to sustain long-term peace in East Asia and North East Asia in particular.
Abstract

Japan and China are major powers in East Asia. They are also close trade partners with a high level of economic interactions. Until recently, the two countries were able to maintain relatively stable relationships despite their differences on various historical and security issues. Since 2012, there has been a rising tension in China-Japan relations as a result of their territorial dispute in the East China Sea. The growing tension is often explained by the Realist logic, in that the two Asian powers are engaging in a strategic rivalry due to the changing balance of power in East Asia. This paper focuses on the identity dimension of the China-Japan tension from a Constructivist perspective. It argues that the roots of the volatile relationship between the two countries lie in their changing self-identity and perceived identity of each other. In particular, the paper considers how the national identities of the two great powers are defined and constructed, and how their changing identity discourses are linked to their foreign policies and security strategies. In recent years, both countries have been involved intensely in a process of identity construction that reflects their national aspirations. Meanwhile, they perceive each other’s efforts to construct a potent national identity as a challenge to their own identity formation. Some of their responses to the other’s foreign and security policies are closely linked to a re-evaluation of their self-identity and the identity of their perceived rival. Given the significant role of both countries in East Asia, a deteriorating China-Japan relationship would have a detrimental impact on the security environment of the region. As Tokyo has strong security ties with the United States, a China-Japan conflict could have unpredictable consequences for regional and global security. The two nations need to make a serious attempt to reduce their identity tensions. More important, they must learn to accommodate each other’s aspirations and distinctive national identity. Only then would they be able to develop a more positive relationship and contribute to the preservation of East Asian peace.


To consider the prospects for peace in East Asia, this paper focuses on the identity dimension of the China-Japan tension from a Constructivist perspective. In particular, it considers how the national identities of the two great powers are defined and constructed, and how their changing identity discourses are linked to their foreign policies and security strategies.
Democratization Enabling Peace? The Resolution of Civil Conflicts in Southeast Asia

Terence Lee


Recent scholarship on political liberalization and East Asian peace (Acharya 2010; Goldsmith 2014) have suggested that democratization, rather than being a recipe for violent discord, has lessened the potential for inter-state conflict. Far less well understood, however, is the impact democratization has on intra-state conflicts in East Asia. Specifically, does political liberalization (transition from authoritarianism to democracy) result in the amelioration of political violence and subsequently the resolution of civil conflicts?
Amitav Acharya (2010) has offered several testable hypotheses why democratization could be peace promoting, albeit from an inter-state perspective: First, leaders of newly democratising state are more likely to focus on internal consolidation and economic development to fulfil promises made during democratization, and hence more inclined to end costly internal conflicts. Second, with increasing rule of law in the domestically, this could lead to greater rule-based interaction and increased likelihood of negotiations among protagonists. Third, because the ruling elites in democratizing states are likely to give a higher priority to enhancing its international legitimacy than to regain territory forcefully, the more likely they are to seek the pacific settlement of disputes. Fourth, due to the struggle during democratization, and in an effort to win respect from the international community, newly democratising states are more likely to subject themselves to international mediation and arbitration, bringing an end to costly conflicts.
Do these causal processes apply in an intra-state context? Using the democratizing experience of 1986 Philippines (Mindanao), 1998 Indonesia (Aceh), and 1992 Thailand (South), this paper aims to evaluate to what extent, the Acharya’s (2010) purported pacific forces of democratization is relevant for our understanding in the resolution (or lack thereof) of civil conflicts in Southeast Asia.
Military rule, judicialization of politics and internal peace  : the Thai crisis in a comparative perspective
Eugenie Merieau
I would like to compare Thailand to Turkey and Egypt where similar processes of judicialization of politics have occurred with different outcomes. How to explain that military rule in conjunction with judicialization of politics in Thailand did not translate into more violence as it did in Turkey and more recently, Egypt ? (here, I define judicialization of politics as the direct involvement of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court in social conflict). 

Monks in Movements: Buddhism and Political Conflicts in Myanmar and Thailand

Marte Nilsen


From the time of the Buddhist kingdoms to the modern nation states, the politics of most Theravāda Buddhist countries has been shaped by a mutually dependent bond between Buddhism and state power. In times of violence and political crisis this bond is put to the test and Buddhist clergies are usually found on both sides of political divides.
Based on interviews with Buddhist monks and political activists, this paper aims to study the impact of monks and Buddhist organisations on political conflicts and political violence in contemporary Myanmar and Thailand. While Buddhist monks are expected not to engage directly in politics, there is a wide acceptance in both countries of Buddhist monks providing moral and spiritual guidance to the political sphere. Where the line between doing and guiding politics should be drawn, however, is widely disputed, and in both Myanmar and Thailand we see a number of profiled monks and Buddhist organisations involved in political mass-movements at various levels. What are the motivations and rationale of these monks to get involved with political movements? Does their involvement help decrease or intensify political conflicts and the risk of violence? How do monks and lay people in political movements assess the linkages between Buddhism and national identity?

To Revise or Not to Revise: Conservative Nationalism, the ‘Peace Constitution’ and National Identity in Japan

Yongwook Ryu



Abstract: The so-called ‘peace constitution’ has faced and withstood several attempts of revision since its adoption in 1946. This paper reviews the various historical attempts of revising the constitution, putting each attempt in the broader context of domestic political debate on constitutional revision. I argue that two major forces for constitutional revision have existed, involving the ideologically motivated conservative nationalists and international environmentally induced pragmatists. Furthermore, revising the constitution is intrinsically tied with altering national identity in Japan. On the one hand, the protectionists seek to maintain Japan’s postwar peace identity (heiwa shugi 平和主義), while pro-revision groups, on the other, aim to create the ‘normal country’ (futsu no kuni 普通の国) identity. I end the paper with an assessment of the likelihood of successfully revising the constitution in Japan in the future.

Sub-Abstract: The proposed paper contributes to the EAP project by tackling the project’s two research questions. The paper is directly relevant to the question of how can the East Asian peace (or conflict) be explained, because it the critical issue of constitutional revision in Japan. The terms of revision, if ever successful, as well as the perception of the revision by neighboring countries will have a major impact on Japan’s foreign relations with regional countries and, by implication, on future regional peace and stability.

The paper is also relevant to the question of how deep is the East Asian peace, as it touches on nationalism in Japan and how it has evolved over the years, as reflected in the debate on constitutional revisionism.


The Role of International Law in Facilitating the Rise of China

Shirley Scott
An important component of the explanation for the East Asian peace is the system of international law that has facilitated China's rise in relative power while acting as a strong deterrent to military confrontation, particularly where there is a real risk that it could draw in the United States. This paper will make the argument that, even though many critical theorists of international law decry international law for its role in European colonialism and in continuing unequal relationships of power at a global level, this does to seem to have been the case with China.  Despite China having suffered exploitation via international law, it has over recent decades been able to participate in the international legal system in a way that has enabled it to enhance its own prosperity even to the extent of becoming the world's largest economy. Current research shows that China is increasingly proactive and influential in shaping emergent and established norms across a broad range of international legal regimes. Drawing on the writings of, amongst others, Ikenberry and Steinfeld, this paper will consider the implications both for our understanding of China's rise and of international law.
War, Identity, and Collective Guilt in Sino-Japanese Relations

Ria Shibata


In recent decades, the role of identity in international conflict management has received a great deal of attention. Conflict scholars argue that traditional methods of negotiation and interest-based bargaining are not appropriate strategies for handling protracted conflicts. These conflicts are often not generated from competition over resources but are instead driven by the group’s needs for security, positive identity and recognition (Burton, 1990). How both the perpetrator group and the victimised group deal with their past history of violent trauma is critical to resolving an intractable conflict (Staub, 2006). Nearly seventy years have passed since the end of Second World War, and the ‘history issue’ still haunts and prolongs the conflict in Northeast Asia. Japan’s ‘historical amnesia’—represented by its denial of the Nanjing Massacre, sanitization of its history textbooks and the controversial visits of its heads of state to the Yasukuni Shrine—has generated considerable hostilities from the victimized nations. Despite years of developing multiple layers of economic, educational and cultural exchanges, issues involving war history, guilt and contrition stand as obstacles to reconciliation and exacerbate tension between China and Japan. This thesis seeks to understand the identity needs of the perpetrator group and key psychological factors that may be impeding the present Japanese generations’ feelings of contrition for the nation’s past injustices. Drawing on social identity theory, this paper will examine the extent to which the perpetrator group’s need for positive moral identity, and competitive victimhood can become serious obstacles to the group’s acceptance of collective guilt and hinder the process of peace and reconciliation.

Securitizing Cyberspace in Southeast Asia

Aim Sinpeng


Cybersecurity has emerged as a priority strategy for national security in many countries in recent years. Yet there is ongoing debate as to what constitute “cyber threats” and whether international conflicts can actually occur in cyberspace. What does peace and security look like in the realms of the cyber world? This paper seeks to analyse state rationale and responses to what they perceive as cybersecurity threats through the creation of new institutions, particularly cyber legislation. It focuses on Southeast Asia – a region where most of its Internet connectivity is below the global average. Despite this every single major Southeast Asian state has, in the past 5 years, established new cyber laws in the name of national security. Adopting the constructivist conceptual framework, it argues that the securitization of cyberspace in Southeast Asia reflects increasing internal state-society conflict over the governance of the cyber world, rather than concerns over potential armed conflicts in the traditional sense. As such an increasing adoption of cybersecurity legislation among Southeast Asian states poinst to potential intrastate conflict within the cyber world, not interstate. This suggests that Southeast Asia views “peace” in cyberspace as unstable and cybersecurity legislation serves as instruments to stabilize and securitize the online sphere.

Sovereignty, Reform, and the Political Foundations of Durable Peace
Dan Slater
Virtually all political conflicts in the modern world can ultimately be traced to competing visions of sovereignty and reform. This address introduces new typologies for both of these fundamental yet deeply contested concepts. It argues that durable peace across Asia will ultimately rest in how states manage the transitions from conservative toward progressive strands of reform, and from territorial toward popular forms of sovereignty.
From Rebels to Rulers: The challenges of transition for non-state armed groups in Mindanao and Myanmar
Ashley South and Christopher M. Joll
This article presents a critical comparison of the on-going peace processes in Mindanao (southern Philippines) and Myanmar. The actors in these armed conflicts are ethno-nationalists struggling for self-determination against states that are not only considered as culturally alien, but economically and politically dominant. Furthermore, both are characterised by complex combinations of ‘greed’ and ‘grievance’ factors. This paper contrasts the degree of international involvement in these peace processes, and the ways in which insurgents' political-economic demands have been articulated and addressed. The peace process between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) represents a rare example of a Muslim minority pursuing its political objectives through structured dialogue. The article focuses on the challenges faced by armed groups moving from insurgent organisations to credible political actors and governance authorities. We delineate the strategies and stumbling blocks faced by armed movements in transforming themselves from rebels to rulers. Our analysis draws on peace-building literature, specifically the phenomenon of ‘rebel governance’. With respect to both Mindanao and Myanmar, we explore the complex relationships between armed ethnic groups, conflict-affected communities and civil society actors, with international aid and diplomatic actors. The article concludes by sketching the prospects for achieving substantial and sustainable peace agreements in both countries before the forthcoming elections in Myanmar (2015) and the Philippines (2016).
Transitional justice and East Asian Peace: What is the relationship?

Chandra Lekha Sriram


Discussions of transitional justice globally seldom consider East Asia, in part because its key transitions took place prior to the ‘justice cascade’ since the late 1980s. This paper examines the experiences of Japan and South Korea. While each country has instituted a mixture of trials, commissions of inquiry, and reparations, these are rarely characterised as transitional justice. In Japan, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East addressed crimes committed by the imperial regime during the Second World War, primarily against other states or citizens of other states, but left abuses of some civilians, notably Korean “comfort women” unaddressed. In South Korea, processes of accountability have focused on the legacies of the authoritarian period, and with vocal demands for addressing the abuses committed by Japan against Koreans. This situation presents a research puzzle. While advocates of transitional justice argue that it is essential both for domestic and regional peace, Japan and South Korea have experienced peace and stability internally and in relation to one another without implementing transitional justice measures. Three possible explanations are explored in my paper: 1. The relative absence of transitional justice measures has not affected the continuity of regional peace, suggesting that at least for these two countries, the necessity of transitional justice for stability is overstated; 2. The relative absence of transitional justice measures hasn’t affected basic peace and stability, but may have deeper implications for positive peace that merit closer scrutiny; and 3. Transitional justice measures have been utilised to a greater degree than have been recognised because they have not been so termed, and closer examination of their effects is essential.
External Resources and Political Violence: Foreign Assistance to Indonesia

Jessica Trisko Darden

What is the relationship between the provision of external support to a state and the occurrence of state-led violence? Unlike natural resource rents, foreign assistance is a form of external support that can easily be manipulated by donor countries. Yet, the evidence suggests that foreign aid is rarely cut-off, even in the face of egregious human rights violations. This suggests that the continued provision of foreign aid may have significant implications for state-led political violence. I provide a theory of the coercive effect of foreign aid which takes this account the complex relationship between various forms of foreign assistance and changes in the recipient state’s coercive capacity. Using archival evidence and data on aid and arms transfers by the United States and the Soviet Bloc, I use a case study of Indonesia to examine the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between foreign assistance and state violence against civilians observed in cross-national studies. In particular, I identify two mechanisms linking the provision of foreign assistance in the form of aid and loans to subsequent episodes of state-led violence: 1) a direct capacity building mechanism, and 2) and indirect income substitution effect. The evidence suggests that military and economic aid provided to Indonesia created an enduring capacity for violence in the inward-oriented Indonesian military, which in turn allowed the central government to rely on violence as a tool of governance even after foreign assistance declined.
EAP Sub-abstract: This paper examines the role of external resources in developing and supporting a state’s coercive capacity. I argue that although the financial resources provided by the United States and other major aid donors may have supported international stability in the region throughout the Cold War, this financial support contributed to political violence within aid-recipient states. I illustrate my argument using a case study of Indonesia.
Do Recent Demographic Trends in East Asia Support Peace?

Henrik Urdal


Global statistical studies of armed conflict have found a strong relationship between large youth cohorts, or ‘youth bulges’, and conflicts. But large youth cohorts can also be a driver of economic development. When fertility and dependency rates start to decline, public investments may be shifted from child education and health care to activities that provide employment opportunities for young people. This ‘demographic bonus’ is particularly well documented for many of the Asian ‘Tiger Economies’ such as South Korea and Taiwan. Similar demographic shifts have taken place across East Asia over the past decades, with recent major declines in fertility in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam. The paper discusses how demographic trends may have contributed to support peace and development in East Asia in the recent decades. It also addresses more recent concerns over current and future demographic developments, in particular urbanization and ‘excess males’ due to sex-selective abortion. Finally, it discusses these demographic trends in relation to both armed conflict and a recent dataset on urban violence and non-violent political actions that cover major cities in all East Asian countries.

Is China trying to push the U.S. out of East Asia?

Wang Dong
Is China trying to push the United States out of East Asia and build a China-dominated regional order? The answer to this question will to a great extent determine whether or not the future trajectory of the regional order will be peaceful or fraught with conflict. Some Western analysts accuse China of pursuing a Monroe Doctrine and excluding the United States out of the region. This article argues the Western discourse of China practicing the Monroe Doctrine is a misplaced characterization of China's behavior. Rather than intend to push the United States out of East Asia and build a China-dominated regional order, China is pursuing a hedging strategy that aims at minimizing strategic risks, increasing freedom of action, diversifying strategic options, and shaping U.S.' preferences and choices. It demonstrates so by looking at five issues areas: China's ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (the ASEAN), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (the SCO) and China's foreign policy activism, China-Russia relations, the Conference on Interactions and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (the CICA) and the New Asian Security Concept, as well as China-U.S. relations. The paper argues that China's hedging strategy has helped prevent Beijing and Washington from falling into a Thucydides Trap, reduce regional tensions, and usher in a more peaceful regional order in the future.

Economic Performance and Domestic Peace in East and Southeast Asia

Fiona Yap


How does weak economic performance affect domestic peace in East and Southeast Asian countries? A large literature on the region notes that economic performance undergird citizens’ quiescence in these countries to ensure domestic peace even under less-democratic conditions. In contrast, few studies systematically study the effects of weak economic performance on domestic peace in the region. This paper fills the gap. Using waves of survey data on East and Southeast countries since 1990, we evaluate how economic weakness affects domestic peace in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia across time. The results are relevant in three respects: first, it clarifies if domestic peace in East and Southeast Asia is robust to economic downturns, a useful insight in times of economic uncertainty. Second, it provides the missing complement on the effects of economic conditions on domestic peace in the region for theory-building. Third, the systematic study over time clarifies if and how responses have changed to highlight the depth of the effect of weak economic performance on domestic peace. 





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