Book Review: Yongho Kim. 2017. Social Media and South Korean National Security

Date01 August 2018
Published date01 August 2018
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 223
as the chapter by Kriengsak Chareonwongsak equally convincingly argues,
ASEAN’s dispute settlement mechanism has been rendered irrelevant by the spirit
of conflict avoidance and the key obstacles are the principles of consensus and
non-interference. Chareonwongsak proposes that ASEAN must transcend its current
nature as an intergovernmental venture and involve civil society in conflict
mediation and resolution, to become a people-oriented regional community that
consults below the level of sovereign governments. A common thread in this book
is that whereas ASEAN has become an indispensable manager of regional security
because of its ironclad respect for sovereignty, its operation on the lowest common
denominator and its unusual mode of norm building that is emphatically
unaccompanied by specific sanctions, these very features have hindered its
effectiveness in dealing with various security issues in the region.
Although International Security in the Asia-Pacific falls short of explicating or
resolving this ‘ASEAN paradox’ (ASEAN’s success sows the seeds of ASEAN’s
failure), the authors suggest a number of ways for ASEAN to maintain its relevancy
in regional security governance. First, ASEAN can act as a hedge against the
dependence on completely bilateral and minilateral (engagements consisting of
more than two states but not inclusive of the majority of states in the region) security
arrangements among themselves (p. 10). Second, ASEAN can serve as a diplomatic
buffer or safety valve, should the great powers ail in maintaining a minimal level
of diplomatic civility (p. 10). Third, ASEAN can perform consolatory functions
where neo-realist competition marks out the shape of regional peace (p. 20).
The chapters by Takeshi Yuzawa and Manjeet Pardesi demonstrate that ASEAN
can also remain central in being the object of China’s, Japan’s and India’s tussle
for Asian influence. This, however, comes with the price that ASEAN is likely to
become a battleground for major power rivalries.
Although the title of this book may be misleading (no chapter in the bookdeals
with central issues of international security in the Asia-Pacific such as US–China
relations and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions), its subtitle is spot on.This book is a
good read for those who are interested in ASEAN’s role in the Indo-Pacific region.
Alexander L. Vuving
Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
Hawaii, USA
Yongho Kim. 2017. Social Media and South Korean National
Security. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. 220 pp. ISBN:
DOI: 10.1177/2347797018783128
Social Media and South Korean National Security seeks to answer the question of
how social media affects the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) national security.

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