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USC School of International Relations

IR 360: International Relations of the Pacific Rim

Spring 2011

Instructor: Kosal PATH, Ph.D.

Email: phat@usc.edu

Office Location: VKC 314, Phone: (213) 740-4066

Office Hours: Thursday 10:00am – 11:30 am and by appointment

Class meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 11:00 - 11:50 am, ZHS 352

Course Goals

Complexity, diversity and hierarchy are the defining features of the Pacific Rim international politics since the end of the Cold War. This course is intended to familiarize students with theoretical tools (both traditional and critical security study approaches) to analyze the transition of the regional order, security dynamics, economic integration, and the emergence of a variety of new security challenges in this region since the end of the Pacific War. The main goals are:

  1. To enable students to apply different theoretical approaches to explain the evolving distribution of power (i.e. the implications of the rise of China on the regional order), specific sets of puzzle (i.e. the lack of institutionalization in Asian multilateralism), crucial events (i.e. the impact of the AFC), trends (i.e. cross-regionalism), or non-traditional security issues.

  1. To familiarize students with a research process, ranging from developing their research question (s), a literature review, collecting and identifying good quality of sources to formulating an argument.

Class Structure

Each session begins with a 20-30 minute class discussion followed by lecture. Students are required to do all assigned readings and come prepared to participate in class discussion.

Course Requirements

Students will be evaluated on class attendance and participation (15%), a midterm (20%), a research paper including topic, outline, draft and final version (35%), and a final exam (30%).

Required Readings

David Shambaugh and Michael Yahuda eds., International Relations of Asia (Lanham, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009) [hereafter Shambaugh & Yahuda]

Amitav Acharya and Evelyn Goh eds., Reassessing Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2007) [hereafter Acharya & Goh]

Anthony Burke and Matt McDonald eds. Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific, (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2007) [hereafter Burke & McDonald]

*The Course Reader [hereafter “Reading”], if not instructed otherwise, is available for purchase at the Magic Machine located at the University Village.



Week 1: Jan. 10-14, The Asia-Pacific Region: Course Overview

Crump, “Introduction: the world of Asia-Pacific,” Ch. 1, pp. 1-23 [Reading 1].

Michael Yahuda, “Introduction,” in The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, 2nd edition (New York, N.Y.: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), pp. 5-20. [Reading 2]

Discussion questions: What are some of the main definitive features of the new Asia-Pacific region or the Pacific Rim region? What are the major critical junctures of the region’s international politics?

Week 2: Jan. 17-21, Theoretical Approaches and Levels of Analysis

Shambaugh, “International relations in Asia,” Ch.1, pp. 3-31. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Samuel S. Kim, “The Evolving Asian System,” Ch. 2, pp. 35-56. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Discussion questions: What are the main security challenges in the region? What levels of analysis do you think are most useful to understand/explain the regional security dynamics? Describe theoretical assumptions of major IR theories that you think are useful in understanding or explaining those issues or puzzles.

Week 3: Jan. 24-28, Applying Theoretical Approaches

Anthony Burke and Matt McDonald eds. Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific, Ch.1, (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2007), pp. 1-21.[Burke and McDonald]

Amitav Acharya, “Theoretical Perspectives on International Relations in Asia,” Ch. 3, pp. 57-82 [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Group Exercises:

* Students will be divided into four small groups and each group would choose one of the four issues and applies a relevant theoretical framework from Acharya’s above article to analyze implications of: 1) The rise of China, 2) East-Asian multilateralism, 3) ASEAN-based security community, 4) Non-traditional security issues.

Week 4: Jan. 31-Feb. 4: The Impact of the Cold War in Asia

Chen Jian, “The Sino-American Rapprochement, 1969-1972,” Chapter 9, in Chen Jian, Mao’s China and the Cold War, (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001), pp.238-276. [Reading 3]

Donald E.Weatherbee, “The Cold War in Southeast Asia,” in International Relations in Southeast Asia: The struggle for Autonomy, 2ndedition (Oxford, UK: Rowman and Littlefield Press, 2009), pp. 63-90. [Reading 4]

Donald Zagoria, “The End of the Cold War in Asia: Its impact on China,” The Academy of Political Science, Vol. 38, No. 2, 1991, pp. 1-11. [Reading 5]

Bruce Cuming, “The History and Practice of Unilateralism in East Asia,” Ch. 2, in Calder, Kent E. and Francis Fukuyama, East Asia Multilateralism (Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), pp. 40-57. [Reading 6]

Discussion questions: How did the Cold War end in Asia? If compared with Europe, how different was the outcome of the end of the Cold War in Asia? How did the Cold War shape the post-war dynamics and structure of international politics in the Asia-Pacific?

IMPORTANT DEADLINE: Paper topic due in lecture on Feb. 4

Week 5: Feb. 7-11, Post-Cold War Structure of the Asia-Pacific International Relations

Michael Yahuda, “The New Structure of International Relations,” in The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, 2nd ed. (New York, N.Y.: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), pp. 209-241. [Reading 7]

Nick Bisley, “Neither Empire nor Republic: American Power and Regional Order in the Asia-Pacific,” International Politics, 2006, 43 (197-218). [Reading 8]

John Ikenberry, “The Rise of China: Power, Institutions, and the Western Order,” in Robert T. Ross and Zhu Feng eds. China’s Ascent: Power, Security, and the Future of International Politics, (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008), pp. 89-114. [Reading 9]

Evelyn Goh, Hierarchy and the role of the United States in the East Asian security order,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Vol. 8 (2008) 353-377. [Reading 10]

Discussion questions:What are the implications of the rise of China on the existing regional security order in the Asia-Pacific? To what extent has the rise of China challenged the US predominance in this region?

Week 6: Feb. 14-18, Rivalry between China and Japan

William H. Overholt, “Asia’s Big Powers: Japan and China,” Ch. 4, in William H. Overholt, Asia, American and Transformation of Geopolitics (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 64-139. [Reading 11]

Phillip C. Saunders, “China’s Role in Asia” Ch. 6, pp. 127-148. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Michel Green, “Japan in Asia” Ch. 8, pp. 170-191. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Akio Takahara, “A Japanese perspective on China’s Rise,” in Robert T. Ross and Zhu Feng eds. China’s Ascent: Power, Security, and the Future of International Politics, (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008), pp. 218-237. [Reading 12]

Discussion questions: What are China’s intentions to use its newly acquired great power status in the region? How has Japan responded to the rise of China? How has Japan redefined and asserted its role in the Asia-Pacific region?

Week 7: Feb. 21-25, The Korean Peninsula: Nuclear Weapons and Security Dilemmas

February 21st (Monday), Presidents’ Day, University Holiday!

Marianne Hanson, “Nuclear weapons in the Asia-Pacific,” Ch. 11, pp. 183-197. [Burk and McDonald]

Scott Snyder, “The Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian Stability,” Ch. 12, pp. 258-273. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Jing-dong Yuan, “Arms Control Regimes in the Asia-Pacific: Managing Armament and WMD Proliferation, Ch. 8, pp.176-194. [Archaya and Goh]

Byung-Kook Kim, “Between China, America, and North Korea: South Korea’s Hedging” in Robert T. Ross and Zhu Feng eds. China’s Ascent: Power, Security, and the Future of International Politics, (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008), pp. 191-217. [Reading 13]

Roland Bleiker, “Dealing with a nuclear North Korea: conventional and alternative security scenarios,” Ch. 13, pp. 215-230. [Burk and McDonald]

Discussion questions: What factors have contributed to the persistent security dilemmas in the nuclear crisis in Northeast Asia? What is the origin of nuclear proliferation and nuclear threat in the region? What are some of the alternative solutions? Has South Korea responded to the rise of China and its security dilemma?

Week 8: Feb 28-March 4, ASEAN: Carving Out its Roles in the Post-Cold War

Amitav Acharya, “ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific Security,” in Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the Problem of Regional Order (London: Routledge, 2009), pp.192-241. [Reading 14]

Evelyn Goh, “Great Powers and Hierarchical order in Southeast Asia: Analyzing Regional Security Strategies,” International Security, Vol. 32. No. 3 (Winter 2007/08), pp. 113-157. [Reading 15]

Sheldon W. Simon, “ASEAN and the New Regional Multilateralism: The Long and Bumpy Road to Community.”Ch. 9, pp. 195-214. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Alan Collins, “Forming a Security Community: Lessons from ASEAN,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Vol. 7, Number 2 (2007), pp. 203-225. [Reading 16]

Discussion questions: Is ASEAN nothing more than a “talk shop” or an effective norms setting organization in the region? What strategies has it adopted to secure its relevance and its role as an important player in the great power politics in the region? What are some of the main challenges to its objective?

Week 9: March 7-11, Australia’s Dilemma: Redefining National Identity and Interests

David Martin Jones and Andrea Benvenuti, “Tradition, myth, and the dilemma of Australian foreign policy,” Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 103-124, March 2006. [Reading 17]

Hugh White, “Australia in Asia: Exploring the Conditions for Security in the Asian Century,” Ch. 10, pp. 215-233. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Anthony Burke, “Australia paranoid: security politics and identity policy,” Ch. 7, pp. 121-135. [Burk and McDonald].

Discussion questions: What are the implications of Australia’s closer identification with the Western values on its relations with Asian states? What implications of the rise of Asia on Australia’s security? As a middle power, what roles can Australia play in the region?

MIDTERM EXAM (IN CLASS): March 11 (Friday)

March 14-19: Spring Break!

Week 10: March. 21-25, The Roles of American Power in the Asia-Pacific Security Order

Takashi Inoguchi and Paul Bacon, “Empire, hierarchy, and hegemony: American grand strategy and the construction of order in the Asia-Pacific,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Volume 5, (2005), pp. 117-132. [Reading 18]

Robert Shutter, “The United States in Asia,” Ch. 4, pp. 85-103. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

David Kang, “U.S. Alliances and the Security Dilemma in the Asia-Pacific,” Ch. 3, pp. 71-92. [Archaya and Goh]

Ralph A. Cossa, “Security Dynamics in East Asia: Geopolitics vs. Regional Institutions,” Ch. 15, pp. 317-338. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Matt McDonald, “US Hegemony, the ‘war or terror’ and security in the Asia-Pacific,” Ch.12 , pp. 198-211. [Burk and McDonald].

Discussion questions: Is the US predominance in the Asia-Pacific necessary to maintain peace and stability in the region? In what direction (balance of power, hierarchical order, or multilateral institutions) is the Asia-Pacific security order heading? Would the emerging regional security arrangements in the region reduce the need for the US’s role as an “outside balancer” in the region?

IMPORTANT DEADLINE: Outline and Bibliography due in class on March 25

Week 11: March 28-April 1, The Roles of “Cooperative Security” in Conflict Management

Amitav Archaya, “Regional Institutions and Security in the Asia-Pacific: Evolution, Adaptation, and Prospects for Transformation,” Ch.1, pp. 19-40. [Acharya and Goh]

Romary Foot, “Modes of Regional Conflict Management: Comparing Security Cooperation in the Korean Peninsula, China-Taiwan, and the South China Sea,” Ch. 4, pp. 93-112. [Acharya and Goh]

Shedon W. Simon, “Whither Security Regionalism? ASEAN and the ARF in the Face of New Security Challenges”, Ch. 5, pp. 113-131. [Acharya and Goh]

Hanns W. Maul, “The European Security Architecture: Conceptual Lesson for Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation,” Ch. 12, pp. 253-274. [Acharya and Goh]

Julie Gilson, “Regionalism and security in East Asia,” Ch. 1, pp. 25-40. [Burke and McDonald]

Discussion questions: Why is the widely accepted concept of “cooperative security” in the Asia-Pacific unique and how is it different from a “security regime”? Would it replace or compliment the prevailing bilateral “hub-and-spoke” system and balance of power politics? What are the limitations of the ARF-based “cooperative security” in conflict management in the region?

Week 12: April 4-8, The Nexus between Economics and Security

Mark Beeson, “The Political economy of security: geopolitics and capitalist development in the Asia-Pacific,” Ch. 3, pp. 56-71. [Burke and McDonald]

Edward J. Lincoln, “The Asian Regional Economy,” Ch. 13, pp. 277-299. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Chu Shulong, “The ASEAN Plus Three Process and East Asian Cooperation,” Ch. 7,

pp.155-176. [Acharya and Goh]

John Ravenhill, “Mission Creep or Mission Impossible? APEC and Security,” Ch. 6, pp. 135-154. [Acharya and Goh]

Shaun Narine, “Economic Security and Regional Cooperation n the Asia-Pacific: Evaluating the Economics-Security Nexus,” Ch. 9, pp. 195-218. [Acharya and Goh]

Discussion questions: What factors explain the growing economic cross-regionalism in the region? Can the growing intra-regional economic integration in East-Asia lead to regional economic institutionalization similar to that of the European Union? How likely is it that the expanding economic integration leads to the states’ renunciation of military force or war as a mode of conflict resolution among themselves?

Week 13: April 11-15, Non-traditional Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific

Amitav Acharya, “Human Security and Asian Regionalism: A Strategy of Localization,” Ch. 11, pp. 237-254. [Acharya & Goh]

John McFarlane, “Cooperation on Countering Translational Criminal Networks in the Asia-Pacific: Cautious Optimism for the Future?” Ch.10, pp. 219-236. [Acharya & Goh]

Lorrane Elliot, “Harm and emancipation: making environmental security ‘critical’ in the Asia-Pacific,” Ch. 8, pp. 136-151. [Burk and McDonald]

Sara E. Davis, “Seeking security for refugees,” Ch. 9, pp. 121-135. [Burk and McDonald].

Beth K. Greener-Barcham and Manuhui Barcham, “Terrorism in the South Pacific? Thinking Critically about approaches to security in the region,” Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 67-82, March 2006. [Reading 19]

Discussion questions: What are the major sources of human insecurity in the region? What are the major factors that have caused impediments or barriers to the resolution of transnational crimes, terrorism, and refugees issues in the region? What are some of the ways of making human security acceptable in the Asia-Pacific?

IMPORTANT DEADLINE: Draft paper is due in lecture on April 15

Week 14: April 18-22, Non-traditional Security Issues (Con’t)

Alex Mellamy and Bryn Hughes, “Emancipation and force: the role (s) of the military in Southeast Asia,” ch. 2, pp. 41-55. [Burk and McDonald]

Hazel J. Lang, “‘Freedom from fear’: conflict, displacement and human security in Burma,” Ch. 5, pp. 105-120. [Burk and McDonald]

Richard Chauvel, “Constructing separatist threats: security and insecurity in Indonesia Ache and Papua,” Ch. 5, pp. 89-104. [Burk and McDonald]

Katrina, Lee-Koo, “Security as enslavement, security as emancipation: gendered legacies and feminist futures in the Asia-Pacific,” Ch. 14, pp. 231-246. [Burk and McDonald]

Discussion questions: Why has “human security” advocacy fared poorly in the Asia-Pacific? From CSS perspective, what are some of the alternative ways to manage, if not solve, these issues?

Week 15: April 25-29, Conclusion and Final Exam Review

Michael Yahuda, “Looking Ahead: A New Asian Order?” Ch. 16, pp. 341-358. [Shambaugh and Yahuda]

Simon Dalby, “Emancipating security in the Asia-Pacific?” Conclusion Ch., pp. 247-263 [Burk and McDonald]

IMPORTANT DEADLINE: Final Paper due in lecture on April 29 (Must be between 2,500 and 3,000 words in length including notes and bibliography).

FINAL EXAM: Wednesday, May 4, 11:00am-1:00pm

You must bring your own blue book(s)

Additional Course Requirements

Be sure to read these paragraphs carefully.  By enrolling in this course, you agree to fulfill the following course requirements (as well as all relevant university regulations). Violations will result in grade reductions and/or failure of, and removal from, this course.

Attendance and Participation

Attendance and participation in lectures and sections are required.  Students who do not observe this requirement will fail the course.  In particular, students repeatedly missing class will receive a grade reduction, and any student missing more than half of the lectures in this course (that is 14 lectures) will automatically fail the course regardless of any work completed.

Cellphones and Laptops

NO CELLPHONES-You will be asked to leave the course for a day if caught using your phone. 

YOU MAY USE COMPUTERS FOR NOTES BUT NO FACEBOOK, MYSPACE OR ANY OTHER INTERNET SURFING. You will be asked to leave class if caught violating this rule.


I need to know as soon as possible about your disability and your requirements.  Students requesting academic accommodations based on disability must register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations must be obtained from DSP (once adequate documentation is filed). Please deliver a copy of the letter to me as soon as possible and, at the very latest, as indicated on the DSP website, three weeks before the requirement on which you are requesting an adjustment.  This means “no later than Tuesday Feb. 23, three weeks before the first exam (if you are requesting adjustments on exams). After these dates, in order to maintain the academic integrity of the class, adjustments can only be made for new diagnoses, so be sure to file your request for an adjustment in time.  DSP is in STU 301; the phone number is 213-740-0776.

Make-up Requirements

There will be no make-up assignments or tests for unexcused absences or unannounced failure to appear or hand in an assignment.  Acceptable excuses must be provided to the instructor, in writing, or by phone before an absence or failure to complete work and in writing afterwards in order to be considered.  After considering the written communication, a decision will be made about make-up possibilities.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Students must avoid plagiarism and/or cheating on exams.  If they see or hear of another student acting in this manner, they must report it to the instructor.  The instructor of this course, and the university as a whole, are committed to the general principles of academic honesty.  These principles include and incorporate the concept of respect for the intellectual property of others, the expectation that individual work will be submitted unless otherwise allowed by an instructor, and the obligations both to protect one’s own academic work from misuse by others as well as to avoid using another’s work as one’s own. 

You will automatically be failed in the course if you are caught cheating on an exam or plagiarizing the term paper. This is the recommended penalty in SCampus, whose relevant section you should review online at c.edu/dept/publications/SCAMPUS/gov/appendix_a.html.  Plagiarism includes (but is not limited to) copying text from the web (for example, from Wikipedia) and pasting it anywhere (online or hardcopy) without attribution, implying that it is your own work.  If you are in any doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, ASK! We would far prefer to clear up uncertainties informally in advance rather than formally via plagiarism proceedings.

Language and Communications

In lectures and discussions, students must ask questions and conduct debate in a respectful fashion, using appropriate language.  Email communications must also be conducted in an appropriate and respectful manner. 


Recordings of any type (sound or video) are prohibited except by written permission of the instructor.


The instructor will not accept travel, the purchase of plane tickets, absence from LA, and similar events (except for university-approved travel) as excuses for failing to fulfill course requirements.  If you have made travel plans before the start of this semester, please make sure they will allow you to fulfill all course requirements.  Excused absences are allowed on the basis of acceptable medical documents and other acceptable emergency reasons.


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