Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs
- Sage Publications, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Nbr. 8-3, December 2021
- Nbr. 8-2, August 2021
- Nbr. 8-1, April 2021
- Nbr. 7-3, December 2020
- Nbr. 7-2, August 2020
- Nbr. 7-1, April 2020
- Nbr. 6-3, December 2019
- Nbr. 6-2, August 2019
- Nbr. 6-1, April 2019
- Nbr. 5-3, December 2018
- Nbr. 5-2, August 2018
- Nbr. 5-1, April 2018
- Nbr. 4-3, December 2017
- Nbr. 4-2, August 2017
- Nbr. 4-1, April 2017
- Nbr. 3-3, December 2016
- Nbr. 3-2, August 2016
- Nbr. 3-1, April 2016
- Nbr. 2-3, December 2015
- Nbr. 2-2, August 2015
- Joko Widodo’s Fleeting Maritime Ambitions: An Actor-Specific Analysis of Indonesia’s Global Maritime Fulcrum
This study seeks to understand why President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo decided to implement the Global Maritime Fulcrum (GMF) the way he did. It examines his foreign policy decisions through the actor-specific approach in foreign policy, specifically focusing on the role of the highest executive leader in making foreign policy decisions. This study seeks to understand why the GMF declined in its importance through the lens of actor-specific theory. It examines the relation between Jokowi’s psycho-milieu and his choices of foreign policy within the context of implementing the GMF vision by drawing from insights at the individual level, namely by understanding Jokowi’s political ‘self’. This study makes two observations. First, Jokowi’s inexperience in foreign policy led to a ‘hands-off’ approach in the issue areas observed. Second, his overt technocratic outlook contributed to ad-hoc decisions, which eventually impeded the development of key GMF policies. This study examines three issue areas related to the GMF: maritime policymaking, infrastructure development and diplomacy. Across these three areas, Jokowi has shown a tendency to avoid involvement in areas where he lacks expertise, which results in a haphazard implementation of the GMF.
- Book review: South Asia Conundrum: The Great Power Gambit
B. M. Jain. 2019. South Asia Conundrum: The Great Power Gambit. Lanham, USA: Lexington Books. 171 pp. ISBN 978-1-4985-7175-3.
- Explaining Indonesia’s Under-balancing: The Case of the Modernisation of the Air Force and the Navy
The current maritime challenges that Indonesia faced had not led to the development of the navy and air force. While theories of neoclassical realism highlighted the importance of domestic factors when determining responses at the strategic level, inefficiencies within the state bureaucracy had often been the bane of prudent policies. Our article attempts to engage with the neorealist concept of under-balancing to look at the reasons why there is stagnation in Indonesia’s naval and air force development. The proponents of under-balancing blamed inefficient bureaucracy as the cause of the issue. Our study on Indonesia’s naval and air force development indicated that inefficient bureaucracy was not the only driver of under-balancing. Looking at the agenda of naval and air force modernisation, this research argues the lack of commitment from the government, limited economic sources and the different modernisation priorities at the military unit level that had greatly contributed to the mismatch between systemic pressure and the response, in this case through naval and air force development, against it.
- Indonesia’s China and US Approach: Crafting Policies Out of Standard Operating Procedures
This article examines Indonesia’s perceptions, strategies and policies towards the USA and China under the presidencies of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2004–2014) and Joko Widodo’s first term and early second term (2014–2020). It argues that on a strategic level, Indonesia’s behaviours are in line with structural realist principles, where it adopts a prudent approach of maintaining its strategic autonomy. However, deviations from structural realism are identified in the operationalisation of this strategy into specific foreign and security policies. This article explains such deviations by employing Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow’s models of decision-making, and argues that such suboptimal policies are driven by two domestic political factors, namely, organisational behaviour and governmental politics. Specifically, the article highlights two key tendencies: (a) that policy makers tend to stick to some a priori guidelines within their organisations, despite changes in external pressures; and (b) that policies tend to be by-products of competition between government organisations. In Indonesia–China relations, these tendencies are most apparent in Indonesia’s approach in the South China Sea, where policies and narratives articulated by the government have been largely stagnant, despite increased intensity of China’s activities in Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone. With regard to the USA, these factors manifest in the lack of tangible progress in defence and security cooperation between the two countries, due to a static interpretation of Indonesia’s Free and Active foreign policy maxim.
- Book review: Chung Min Lee. 2019. The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un
Chung Min Lee. 2019. The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un. United States: All Points Books, St. Martin’s Publishing Group. 320 pp. ISBN 9781250202833.
- Indonesia’s Foreign and Maritime Policies Under Joko Widodo: Domestic and External Determinants
- Balancing with Jokowi’s Characteristics: A Neoclassical Realism Approach to Indonesia’s Foreign and Security Policies in the South China Sea
The objectives of this article are twofold. First, it seeks to posit Jokowi’s foreign and security policies in the broader historical context of Indonesian foreign and security policymaking. Throughout history, Indonesia’s responses to its external environment, as manifested in its foreign and security policies, have been significantly influenced by a range of domestic factors including leaders’ personality and his/her attitude to international politics. Building upon the historical observation, this article seeks to understand Jokowi’s foreign and security policies in the South China Sea using a neoclassical realism framework. It argues that there has been a shift in Indonesia’s approach to the South China Sea problem, characterised by a more active and pragmatic diplomacy and a more assertive approach to territorial integrity. Both components, however, are not deterministic products of external threats as predicted by neorealist theories. Instead, they are influenced by Jokowi’s personality, attitude towards foreign and security policy and preoccupation of his administration with the domestic agenda.
- Indonesia’s Global Maritime Fulcrum: From Hedging to Underbalancing
This article examines why Indonesia’s vision of the Global Maritime Fulcrum (GMF) was not properly developed in accordance to its strategic response to the increased rivalry between China and the USA in the Asia-Pacific region. Although the GMF initially focussed on achieving domestic agendas, Indonesia’s implicit intention is to utilise the GMF as a hedge in order to strengthen economic cooperation with China while keeping the USA engaged in the region’s security architecture. My article seeks to go beyond the existing literature’s employment of primarily structural realist analysis to understand Indonesia’s strategic behaviour by applying a neoclassical realist approach to Indonesia’s case, which better demonstrates current conditions exhibiting how conflicting elite interests generate political discord which in turn hinders the state’s ability to extract and mobilise domestic resources, ultimately hampering Indonesia’s ability to achieve its GMF goals. Although certain threats and opportunities within the international system have manifested themselves to actively encourage the proper implementation of GMF, this strategy remains underdeveloped since the time of its launch. Neoclassical realism provides a better explanation that enhances our understanding of how Indonesia assesses and responds to its strategic environment.
- Book review: Victor Teo. 2019. Japan’s Arduous Rejuvenation as a Global Power: Democratic Resilience and the US–China Challenge
Victor Teo. 2019. Japan’s Arduous Rejuvenation as a Global Power: Democratic Resilience and the US–China Challenge. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. 242 pp. ISBN 978-981-13-6189-0.
- Continuity in Indonesia’s Strategy in the South China Sea Under Joko Widodo
This study seeks to address two interrelated questions: Does Indonesia underbalance against China? Why does President Joko Widodo stick with the strategy of to this day? The study lays out three main arguments. First, there are two types of strategies: the appropriate and inappropriate one (under-balancing). Indonesia, under the first and beginning of the second term of Jokowi presidency, adopts the prudent strategy. Thus, it does not underbalance against the Chinese military threats in the South China Sea. Such prudent strategy consists of several dimensions: facilitating the United States’ security presence in Asia, engaging major powers such as China in bilateral and multilateral economic and political–military ties to socialise China into a peace-loving country. Second, Indonesia’s non-balancing action, which is the second-best strategy after a more traditional direct internal and external military balancing, is considered a prudent choice, for three main reasons: (a) it is predicated on the assessment that China is perceived as a risk-averse limited-aims revisionist power; (b) Indonesia has very limited capacity to directly balance China and (c) the United States is perceived to be willing and able to balance China. Lastly, the continuity of this strategy, which started during the post-Cold War era, is partly related to the positive feedback effects or self-reinforcing process of existing formal institutions.
- Why Quasi-Alliances Will Persist in the Indo-Pacific? The Fall and Rise of the Quad
The rise of and increasing assertiveness by China presents a significant structural challenge in the Indo-Pacific region (IPR). In an effort to retain the status quo, a number of states have signed-up to the ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP). In support of FOIP, operational mechanisms have...
- Pakistan: National Security Dilemmas and Transition to Democracy
Empirical evidence supports the notion that emergent and hybrid democratic regimes are often unstable and conflict-ridden. While these are important findings, the implication that instability is induced by democratic transitions provides a partial understanding of the dynamic. Pakistan’s recent...
- Pakistan’s Dependence and US Patronage: The Politics of ‘Limited Influence’
Despite having poured billions of dollars of aid into Pakistan’s economy and its military over the years, there is a general acceptability among scholars and policymakers that the United States exercises limited leverage in Pakistan. Although India remains the centrepiece in US–Pakistan policy...
- Book review: Arunabh Ghosh, Making It Count: Statistics and Statecraft in the Early People’s Republic of China
Arunabh Ghosh, Making It Count: Statistics and Statecraft in the Early People’s Republic of China. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2020, 340 pp., ISBN: 978-0-691-17947-6....
- Book Review: Stephan Frühling. 2014. Defense Planning and Uncertainty: Preparing for the Next Asia-Pacific War
- Book review: Chung Min Lee. 2019. The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un
Chung Min Lee. 2019. The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un. United States: All Points Books, St. Martin’s Publishing Group. 320 pp. ISBN 9781250202833....
- Book Review: Eamon Murphy. 2012. The Making of Terrorism in Pakistan: Historical and Social Roots of Extremism
- Biting the Cow’s Tongue: Securitization and Capacity Building in the South China Sea
The South China Sea (SCS) territorial disputes have become one of the most significant security challenges in the East Asian Supercomplex (EAS). Described in Buzan and Wæver’s classic study as a Great Power Bipolar Supercomplex defined by China and Japan, the emergence and actions of South Korea...
- East Asia’s Enduring Rivalries: Ripe for Abatement?
Despite earlier premonitions that East Asia might be ‘ripe for rivalry’, interstate relations in this region have generally become less tense in recent years. Naturally, this observation does not deny the existence of ongoing tension, such as pertaining to maritime disputes in the East and South...
- Hesitant Realism: China–India Border Tensions and Delhi’s Deepening Strategic Ties with Tokyo and Canberra
The deadly conflict on the Ladakh border in June 2020 will force India to re-evaluate its approach to foreign policy. This dangerous turn, despite decades of mutual restraint, border talks, agreements and recent bonhomie between the Indian and Chinese leaders, has intensified the strategically...