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Northeast Asian Security Super Complex; The United States Factor as Hierarchy-Assuring Great Power

Northeast Asian Security Super Complex; The United States Factor as Hierarchy-Assuring Great Power

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Published by Tangguh
In the region of Northeast Asia, the largest power in the international system in Asia is an extra-regional actor, the United States (US). The US enjoys an unprecedented dominance over all other nations and becomes the central force in constituting regional stability and order of Northeast Asia. It is based on US‟s structural power that can even influence the behavior of other, apparently powerful, states like China and Japan and other potential rivals. Those states within the Northeast Asia regional system cannot definitively influence events within their regional system alone and choose to cooperate and align with the US: Japan has been loyal ally of the US while South Korea is so much under the influence of the US, China never wants confrontation with the US knowing the huge capability gap, and North Korea has been using their nuclear issue to demand large-scale economic development assistance, diplomatic normalization, and a security guarantee from the US. We can assume that the US has consistently constituted regional order of the Northeast Asia while other regional security actors have also sought to leverage on American power to maximize their own interests and to influence the development of regional security architecture, identity, and order, hence predicating regional security order upon the US‟s role and position.

This paper investigates the following questions: What is the significance of US structural power in Northeast Asia? Why do so many other regional powers choose to cooperate and align with the US, and support its national strategy and regional policies? How and to what extent is regional security order predicated upon the US’s role and position?
In the region of Northeast Asia, the largest power in the international system in Asia is an extra-regional actor, the United States (US). The US enjoys an unprecedented dominance over all other nations and becomes the central force in constituting regional stability and order of Northeast Asia. It is based on US‟s structural power that can even influence the behavior of other, apparently powerful, states like China and Japan and other potential rivals. Those states within the Northeast Asia regional system cannot definitively influence events within their regional system alone and choose to cooperate and align with the US: Japan has been loyal ally of the US while South Korea is so much under the influence of the US, China never wants confrontation with the US knowing the huge capability gap, and North Korea has been using their nuclear issue to demand large-scale economic development assistance, diplomatic normalization, and a security guarantee from the US. We can assume that the US has consistently constituted regional order of the Northeast Asia while other regional security actors have also sought to leverage on American power to maximize their own interests and to influence the development of regional security architecture, identity, and order, hence predicating regional security order upon the US‟s role and position.

This paper investigates the following questions: What is the significance of US structural power in Northeast Asia? Why do so many other regional powers choose to cooperate and align with the US, and support its national strategy and regional policies? How and to what extent is regional security order predicated upon the US’s role and position?

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Published by: Tangguh on Dec 28, 2009
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Northeast Asian Security Supercomplex:The United States Factor as Hierarchy-Assuring Great PowerArranged as Requirements forASEAN and the Regional Dynamic of East Asia
by:Tangguh (0706291426)
Department of International Relations StudiesFaculty of Social and Political StudiesUniversity of Indonesia2009
 
 1
IINTRODUCTION
I.1. Background
 
In the region of Northeast Asia, the largest power in the international system in Asia is an extra-regional actor, the United States (US). The US enjoys an unprecedented dominance over all othernations and becomes the central force in constituting regional stability and order of Northeast Asia. It is
 based on US‟s structural power that can even influence the behavior of other, apparently powerful,
states like China and Japan and other potential rivals. Those states within the Northeast Asia regionalsystem cannot definitively influence events within their regional system alone and choose to cooperateand align with the US: Japan has been loyal ally of the US while South Korea is so much under theinfluence of the US, China never wants confrontation with the US knowing the huge capability gap, andNorth Korea has been using their nuclear issue to demand large-scale economic development assistance,diplomatic normalization, and a security guarantee from the US. We can assume that the US hasconsistently constituted regional order of the Northeast Asia while other regional security actors havealso sought to leverage on American power to maximize their own interests and to influence thedevelopment of regional security architecture, identity, and order, hence predicating regional security
order upon the US‟s role and position.
 
I.2. Thesis Question
 
This paper investigates the following questions:
What is the significance of US structural powerin Northeast Asia? Why do so many other regional powers choose to cooperate and align with theUS, and support its national strategy and regional policies? How and to what extent is regional  security order predicated upon the US
’ 
 s role and position?
 
I.3. Significance
 
This paper has an academic significance in the point that it explains the importance of a nation‟s
structural power to influence the security order of a region, how and to what extent the regional securityorder is predicated upon the role and position of a great power.The practical significance of this paper is to serve as basis for Northeast Asia
n security actors‟ policymaking on the light of interaction with the US‟s and other extra
-
regional actors‟ structural power.
 
 
 2
IITHEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
II.1. Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT)
Regional security complex theory (RSCT) has been a distinctive contribution of the CopenhagenSchool of International Security Studies with Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver at its core. The definition of a regional security complex (RSC) that Buzan and Wæver formulated was
a set of units whose major  processes of securitization, desecuritization, or both are so interlinked that their security problemscannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from one another 
‟.
1
The central idea is that substantialparts of the securitization and desecuritization processes in the international system will manifestthemselves in regional clusters. These clusters are both durable and distinct from global level processesof (de)securitization. Each level needs to be understood both in itself and in how it interplays with theother.
2
 RSCs are defined by durable patterns of amity and enmity taking the form of sub-global,geographically coherent patterns of security interdependence. The particular character of a local RSCwill often be affected by historical factors such as long-standing enmities or the common culturalembrace of a civilizational area. Another component is the power relations, since power operates on aregional scale (the concept of a regional balance of power), in which powers that are not directly linkedto each other still take part in the same network of relations. Thus RSCs, like the international system of which they are substructures, can be analyzed in terms of polarity, ranging from unipolar, through bi-and tripolar, to multipolar.
3
 There are four levels of analysis specified in RSCT that constitute the
security constellation
:
1)
 domestically in the states of the region, particularly their domestically generated vulnerabilities;
2)
 state-to-state relations;
3)
the re
gion‟s interaction with neighbor 
ing regions; and
4)
the role of globalpowers in the region. RSCT asserts that the regional level will always be operative, and sometimesdominant. The
essential structure
of an RSC embodies four variables:
1)
boundary,
2)
anarchicstructure,
3)
polarity, and
4)
social construction. From its configuration at any given snapshot in timethere are thus three possible evolutions open to an RSC:
1)
maintenance of the status quo
,
2)
 
internal
1
Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver,
 Liberalism and Security: The Contradictions of the Liberal Leviathan
, Copenhagen:COPRIWorking Paper 23, p.201
 
2
Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver,
 Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security
(Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 2003) p.45
 
3
 
 Ibid 
. p.45-49
 

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