External Great Powers as Drivers for Regional Integration and Cooperation: A Comparative Study on Central Asia and Southeast Asia

Wu, Lunting (2018). External Great Powers as Drivers for Regional Integration and Cooperation: A Comparative Study on Central Asia and Southeast Asia. UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies.

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  • Sub-type Working paper
    Author Wu, Lunting
    Title External Great Powers as Drivers for Regional Integration and Cooperation: A Comparative Study on Central Asia and Southeast Asia
    Volume/Issue No. 3
    Publication Date 2018
    Place of Publication Bruges
    Publisher UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
    Language eng
    Abstract

    With their high geopolitical importance and rich natural endowments, both Central Asia and Southeast Asia are inserted in the arena permeable to the influence of external great powers that seek to safeguard their interests and maintain their grip on regional affairs. The lack of incentives for spontaneous integration and the primacy of sovereignty in both regions concedes a greater role for external powers in shaping integration and cooperation conforming to their interests. Drawing upon the theories of neorealism and neoliberalism, this paper attempts to discern how external powers’ interests and practices may promote regional integration and cooperation. Through the neorealist prism, the perception of threats reveals the necessity for external powers to ensure their security and maintain their sphere of influence. The convergence of common security interests between Russia and China in countering not only conventional but also unconventional threats has led to the establishment of security regimes that foment collaboration and even integration in Central Asia, while the long prevalence of traditional threats in Southeast Asia has pushed countries to align with US security strategies that by and large have guaranteed regional security and nurtured ideological proximity. From a neoliberal perspective, the asymmetrical interdependence fostered by external powers in an institutional context, notably by China, by virtue of its strong economic power and through the exercise of economic inducements, has attracted secondary states in both regions into its development orbit and has generally won deference from them to those multilateral institutions in which policy coordination and economic cooperation have been cultivated. In sum, exogenous powers have strategically sponsored integration and promoted cooperation in these two regions.

    UNU Topics of Focus Regional integration
    Keyword Regional integration
    Cooperation
    Central Asia
    Southeast asia
    International relations
    Copyright Holder UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
    Copyright Year 2018
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Fri, 15 Feb 2019, 14:22:52 JST