Utpal Vyas, Ching-Chang Chen and Denny Roy, (Eds). 2015. The North Korea Crisis and Regional Responses

Published date01 August 2016
Date01 August 2016
Subject MatterBook Reviews
262 Book Reviews
Southeast Asian terrorism allow the author to exhibit his deep knowledge of the
topic. In general, these chapters are excellent, succinctly providing the essence
of complex, decades-long disputes without becoming superficial or bogged
down in presenting chains of individual incidents. All of the terrorist actors, and
their potential for future violence, are analyzed briefly yet effectively, with an
eye to the regional linkages, which have formed in the face of the largely idiosyn-
cratic nature of the individual conflicts. The many paradoxes and intricacies of
the region’s government responses are also deftly brought into sharp relief, with
the impression given that there are no easy answers to these deeply entrenched
ethno-religious problems. Especially well detailed is the tight balancing act
played by the state in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, when seeking to
address the terrorist threat without alienating their large Muslim constituencies.
These sections would make an ideal primer for anyone seeking an introduction to
the topic.
Even they, however, are not without their issues. Mystifyingly, Acharya
chooses to largely ignore Myanmar, aside from a brief study of Rohingya Muslim
terrorism, in favour of a near exclusive focus on Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia
and the Philippines. Likewise, there is also little to no acknowledgement of the
disturbing shift by JI and others towards supporting the Islamic State group.
On the whole, Whither Southeast Asia Terrorism? is likely to receive a mixed
reception, depending on how the reader approaches it. Those coming to the work in
the hope of finding a new method of approach to the topic, crafted in light of recent
developments, are likely to come away feeling as though they have been pulled
back into debates they thought had been long concluded. Readers seeking a solid
introduction to the issues and groups underpinning the region’s terrorism hotspots,
however, are likely to come away feeling much more favourably disposed.
Regardless, it is still a work that deserves to be read and debated, even if one does
not agree wholeheartedly with the author’s views.
Mitchell Sutton
Independent Strategic Analyst
E-mail: mitchell_sutton@bigpond.com
Utpal Vyas, Ching-Chang Chen and Denny Roy, (Eds). 2015. The North
Korea Crisis and Regional Responses. Honolulu, USA: East–West Center.
168 pp. ISBN: 978-0-86638-254-0
DOI: 10.1177/2347797016645463
The denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has
been a common interest for Northeast Asian security. Each government in the
region agrees on a general perspective of denuclearizing North Korea, but it is
difficult to tune each individual government’s particular strategies and tactics to
approach the objective due to the lack of a mature multilateral security regime in

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