Book review: Peter Lehr. 2020. Militant Buddhism: The Rise of Religious Violence in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand

Published date01 August 2021
Date01 August 2021
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 275
relations or Kazakh–Uzbek relations can help to hedge against Russia-Kazakh
relations within the framework of neo-Eurasianism.
In view of the book’s emphasis on neo-Eurasianism as a tool for regime
legitimacy at home, a minor quibble with the study is the absence of any discussion
about the extent to which legitimacy is important in sustaining authoritarian
regimes. After all, the significance of elite unity or disunity, elections and other
forms of norm institutionalisation, and objects of political legitimacy (the nation,
state, regime, ruler, policies) in facilitating authoritarian resilience appear
particularly relevant for Nazarbayev’s regime. In any case, the intended audience
of the book—students and scholars of politics and international relations—and
their assumed familiarity with the academic literature on this subject probably
explain its omission.
Such issues notwithstanding, Analyzing Kazakhstan’s Foreign Policy provides
a masterful account of the driving themes and issues with Kazakhstan’s foreign
policy since its independence. Thanks to Anceschi’s incisive analysis of
Kazakhstan’s foreign policy approach to date, the onus now lies on other scholars
of Central Asia to reflect on the following issues going forward: to what extent
will regime neo-Eurasianism continue under the current President Kassym-Jomart
Tokayev, given that this approach was closely associated with the person of
Nazarbayev? Will Central Asian regionalism be given a boost with the change of
leaders in the two key states of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan amidst the rise of a
younger generation less beholden to Russia? Stay tuned.
Li-Chen Sim
Anceschi, L. (2008). Turkmenistan’s foreign policy: Positive neutrality and the
consolidation of the Turkmen regime. Routledge.
Anceschi, L. (2020, July 1). Kazakhstan’s Eurasian illusions. Open Democracy. https://
Fazendeiro, B. T. (2017). Uzbekistan’s foreign policy: The struggle for recognition and
self-reliance under Islam Karimov. Routledge.
Toktomushev, K. (2018). Kyrgyzstan—Regime security and foreign policy. Routledge.
Li-Chen Sim
Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates
Peter Lehr. 2020. Militant Buddhism: The Rise of Religious Violence in Sri
Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, Palgrave Macmillan, vi + 306 pp. ISBN:
DOI: 10.1177/23477970211017747
Peter Lehr’s new book Militant Buddhism: The Rise of Religious Violence in Sri
Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand explores the rise of militant Buddhism to shed

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