As pro-China entities are exerting increasing pressure on the Hong Kong judicial system, it is worth remembering a judge who lived about one thousand years ago during the period of the Northern Song dynasty. Justice Bao Zheng was known for his honesty, and he has an important message for present-day China.Full Text PDF
ASEAN’s consensus-oriented modus operandi as a Formal Intergovernmental Organization has already nullified the efficacy of the organization in recurring crises in Myanmar, and this could yield a new form of informal grouping evolving in the context of other geopolitical developments in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific at large.Full Text PDF
The sight of the South Vietnamese flag in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 has aroused curiosity and criticism. Missing in the commentaries, however, is the multiplicity of its symbolism to Vietnamese Americans who had come to the United States as refugees or immigrants. Although its visual symbolism is forever tied to the history of the former Republic of Vietnam, its underlying meaning has changed to reflect the experience of Vietnamese after the fall of Saigon, not before.Full Text PDF
Reading the literature of the Vietnam War with Professor Michael Hunt was an intellectual voyage over choppy political waters that few had undertaken at the time because he had assembled the latest historical studies on the topic and encouraged us, his graduate students, to view the war from the perspectives of all the actors involved.Full Text PDF
Claiming the throne at the age of sixty-seven, Wu Zetian, commonly known as Empress Wu, is a controversial figure in imperial China’s historiography. In becoming the only female ruler in Chinese history, Empress Wu is often depicted in the popular imagination as either an enforcer of the patriarchal order or a rebellious heroine against it. The cultural representation of Empress Wu has thus undergone a series of rewrites, reformulations, and certainly reimagination in cinema and theater, where her depictions were shaped by landmark periods in Chinese history. Despite the empress’ iconic presence across a variety of Chinese cultural formats, there has rarely been any scholarly discussion about her cultural and political significance from the perspective of cinema studies. This article examines three important cinematic and theatrical works by Fang Peilin, Guo Moruo, and Tsui Hark in order to explore the ways in which the cultural imagination of Empress Wu has been radically shaped over a span of some seventy years by contemporary discourses on gender, sexuality, and nationalism. The article argues that such a cultural representation has become a convenient confluence of a wide array of ideological connotations. By offering an interdisciplinary interrogation into this multi-layered historical figure, my analysis sheds some light on the study of the discursive relationship between Chinese popular culture and the historical development of state politics, and the ways in which the empress has been employed by various ideologies.Full Text PDF
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This article argues that a distinguishing characteristic of the ‘Third Republic,’ a label used for the Narendra Modi government, is discernible in India’s calibrated effort to reshape its strategic culture as it aspires to emerge as a global power. India’s ways of dealing with security issues refer to its strategic culture, which encompasses the attitudes, values, symbols, traditions, and practices of managing threats and the use of force. However, strategic culture is a theme that is not very popular in Indian foreign policy discourse. One of the main reasons for its lack of popularity is the ambiguity about its precise nature and the operational dynamics. For instance, Indian policymakers conflate the country’s extant attitudes and beliefs about war, diplomacy and security with classical Indian treatises—Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Arthashastra. This article demonstrates the changing notions of ‘strategic autonomy,’ which have traditionally informed India’s strategic culture. The reshaping of India’s strategic culture is occurring because of China’s assertive and aggressive behavior which has caused concern among American policymakers who are promoting the Indo-Pacific concept. The new U.S. President, Joe Biden, has expressed his intention to work with India to preserve a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region. This article contends that since the structural realities of the international order would not allow the Biden administration to radically change America’s policy toward China, India would incrementally overcome its hesitation for strategic alignment. India’s integration of the Indo-Pacific and the Quadrilateral into its foreign policy thinking will have a lasting impact on the country’s strategic culture.
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A new security doctrine is needed to resolve the long-running conflicts in Northeast India, which must be analyzed afresh both from traditional and non-traditional approaches because the socio-political culture and regional geopolitics are infused with the challenges of insurgency and economic underdevelopment. The region, therefore, requires the most special treatment to end mistrust and improve connectivity between the people and the government. This article recommends that a paradigm shift away from national or international security to human security would have far-reaching implications for actors and institutions. Such an approach would focus on threat insecurity, development insecurity, insecurity of women and children, unemployment, poverty, ethnic mistrust/conflict, and insurgency. The article also recommends the adoption of a gender-sensitive perspective for conflict resolution to replace the gender-blind approach taken by policymakers and researchers. Such an approach is needed because men and women are differently involved in armed conflicts, but policies and research have reflected a blindness to this. The approach advocates the adoption of a practical strategy for the Northeastern states to be made equal stakeholders at every stage of the decision-making process for comprehensive regional development.
As the Cold War recedes further into the past, the old security order dominated by the United States and the regional structure created by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is increasingly under siege, with a new global strategic rebalancing underway. The Southeast Asian region is forced to contemplate new risks and the emergence of new rivalries and conflicts. In his new book, Southeast Asia After the Cold War, Ang Cheng Guan offers a complete, analytically informed contemporary history that covers the whole region, tracing developments from 1990 till around 2018-2019 and highlighting change, continuity, and the larger context in which decisions have been made.Full Text PDF