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IRPG833 – The United States, East Asia and the World: Hegemony, Conflict and Rivalry

2017 – S2 External

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Lecturer
Lloyd Cox
Contact via 98504096
W6A, room 423
Monday 2-4
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MIntRel or PGDipIntRel or MIntCommMIntRel or MIntBusMIntRel or MIntRelMIntTrdeComLaw or MTransInterMIntRel or GradCertIntRel or GradDipIntRel
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the United States began increasing its presence in East Asia. In the first instance the focus was on participation in the opening of Japan and China to western trade and influence, but by the end of the century the US had established a colonial foothold in the Philippines and Guam. The was the beginning of a long-term pattern of increasing US intrusion into East Asia, which would see it fight three major wars and emerge as the undisputed hegemon in the region. Today, this regional hegemony is challenged by the rise of an assertive, outward looking China. This unit places these developments in their historical context, while examining their contemporary expressions in emerging diplomatic, economic and military rivalry. Although touching in other countries, the main focus is on the US’s relationships with China, Japan the Koreas and Australia.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  2. To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  3. To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  4. To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics
  5. To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Review Article 20% Week 3, 17/8/2016
Major Essay 40% Week 8, 5/10/2016
Final Exam 40% Week 13, 9/11/2016

Review Article

Due: Week 3, 17/8/2016
Weighting: 20%

Students are to write a short review (800-1000 words) of one of the readings posted on ilearn for weeks one and two. The author should (1) situate the article within the broader debates of which it is a part; (2) summarize the key arguments of the article and (3) provide a critical evaluation (do you find the article convincing, and why?). Internal students will return their essays during tutorials. External students have an alternative assessment task.  


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  • To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics
  • To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia

Major Essay

Due: Week 8, 5/10/2016
Weighting: 40%

Students will write a 2000 word essay chosen from a list of essay topics that will be put on ilearn in week 2 of thus unit. This essay must be correctly referenced and provide a bibliography. Internal students will return their essays during tutorials, while external students can email their essays to me at lloyd.cox@mq.edu.au.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  • To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics
  • To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia

Final Exam

Due: Week 13, 9/11/2016
Weighting: 40%

The final exam will be two hours long and will require you to write four short essays drawn from a list of 12, which will cover content from the entire unit. Internal students will do the exam during normal class time, while external students will do the exam as a take home test over the weekend 11-13 November. I will post the questions on Friday 11 November at midday. Students must email their exam back as one file, labelled with their family name, no later than midnight on Sunday 13 November.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  • To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics
  • To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia

Delivery and Resources

The United States and East Asia: Hegemony, Conflict and Rivalry

President Obama's foreign policy was punctuated by a so-called "pivot to Asia", which is now in the process of being re-calibrated and transformed under the Trump Administration.  The content of this pivot is contested by scholars and politicians alike, but most agree that it has been occasioned by the rise of China. Indeed, the US's renewed focus on Asia has been widely viewed as an effort to counter China's expanded influence in the region, while preserving the hegemonic position that the US has enjoyed in Asia since the end of the Second World War. This unit explores the important political and strategic issues that this development raises, paying particular attention to the US's activities and relations in North East Asia - China, Japan, North and South Korea and Taiwan. 

Each week there will be a two hour lecture during the day, which will be recorded, and then a one hour tutorial.

 

Week 1 (3 August) Introduction: Key Issues for the United States n East Asia

In this first week an overview of the unit will be provided, followed by an introductory lecture that identifies they key issues that the United States faces in East Asia today. These include economic challenges entailed by increased integration and competition in the region, and security challenges posed by the rise of China, North Korean nuclear proliferation, and juggling the competing claims of various bilateral relationships and alliances. We will also explore in a preliminary way some of the issues raised by President Trump's recent posturing in the region.

Reading

Peter Harris, 'The Imminent US Strategic Adjustment to China', The Chinese Journal of International Politics Vol. 8, No 3 (2015) pp. 219-250

Kurt Campbell and Brian Andrews, 'Explaining the US 'Pivot' to Asia' Chatham House Report (2013)

Robert S. Ross, 'US Grand Strategy, the Rise of China, and US National Security Strategy for East Asia', Strategic Studies Quarterly, Summer (2013), pp. 20-40.

 

 

Week 2 (10 August) Hiroshima and the Shaping of US Hegemony in East Asia

The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 represented both the end of an era and the beginning of a new one: the era of US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific and the so-called "free world". This week we explore the foundations and nature of US hegemony, and the ways in which the early years of the Cold War shaped US priorities and actions in East Asia.  

Reading

Michael H. Hunt, 'East Asia in Henry Luce's "American Century"' in Michael J. Hogan, The Ambiguous Legacy: US Foreign Relations in the American Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 232-278.

Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to use the Atomic Bomb (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), pp. 319-365. 

 

Week 3 (17 August) Challenges to US Hegemony; The Chinese Revolution and the Korean Civil War

To say that the US was hegemonic in East Asia in the years immediately following the conclusion of the Second World War, is not the same as saying that its supremacy was unchallenged. The two greatest challenges to US hegemony in these years were the Chinese Revolution in October 1949 and the Korean War (1950-1953). These events would shape US perceptions of and activities in East Asia for decades to come, and their effects continue to be felt right up to the present day. This week we explore the causes and consequences of these events and discuss the US's involvement.

Reading

Chen Jian, 'Mao and Sino-American Relations' in Melvyn P. Leffler and David S. Painter, The Origins of the Cold War: An International History (2nd edn.) (New York: Routledge 1994), pp. 283-298. 

Warren I. Cohen, 'The Korean War and its Consequences', in Warren I. Cohen, The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations (Vol. V): America in the Age of Soviet Power, 1945-1991 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 58-80. 

 

Week 4 (24 August) The Vietnam War and US Credibility in East Asia

As part of the general policy of containment, the US supported first French colonialists, then a brutal, dictatorial regime, in what became South Vietnam. Their military involvement intensified over time, to the point where they deployed combat troops in March 1965. The ensuing Vietnam War was fought on the rationale of the domino theory (if South Vietnam fell to Communists then neighboring states would surely follow) and the need to maintain US credibility - in the eyes of both allies (Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia etc) and enemies (China, North Korea, the USSR). In this lecture we examine the Vietnam war in the broader context of US diplomacy and efforts to preserve hegemony in East Asia.  

Readings

Robert Dallek, 'Fear, Ambition, and Politics' in Robert J. McMahon (ed), Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War (3rd edn.) (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003), pp. 177-189.

Fredrik Logevall, 'Choosing War' in Robert J. McMahon (ed), Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War (3rd edn.) (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003), pp. 189-205.

 

Week 5 (31 August) Detente and Normalizing Relations with China

Increasingly exhausted and economically weakened by the Vietnam war, the US sought detente (a relaxation of tensions) with both the USSR and China from the late 1960s. This expressed itself in a normalization of relations with China after 1972, which would grow into a flourishing economic relationship by the early 1990s, though not without tensions and crises along the way. This week we explore the evolving relationship that the United States developed with China in the 1970s and 1980s, and discuss how this effected China's immediate neighbors. This is important as it laid the foundations for the US's relationship with China today, which includes many tensions and contradictions that are at the heart of the unfolding economic and security challenges that the US faces in the region. 

Reading

Raymond L. Gartoff, 'Establishing Triangular Diplomacy: China and American-Soviet Relations, 1969-1972', in Raymond Gartoff, Detente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (1994), pp. 227-278.

 

Week 6 (7 September) End of the Cold War: Promises and Challenges

More than one US statesman has commented that US foreign policy was easy during the Cold War because we knew who our enemy was. Consequently, the end of the Cold War created uncertainty about how the United States should exercise its power on the world stage in general, and East Asia in particular. We identify and examine some key episodes in the decade after the end of the Cold War (e.g., the Taiwan crisis of 1995, the forced landing of a US spy plane on Chinese territory in 2001, North Korea's nuclear ambitions throughout this period), in order to illustrate the challenges that the US faced in East Asia after the end of the Cold War. 

Reading

TBA

 

Week 7 (14 September) Essay Writing Workshop

Clarity of writing expresses clarity of thinking, while clarity of thinking is manifested in clear writing. With this in mind, we will use this week to discuss what a good University Masters essay should accomplish and what it should include. I will begin by giving a presentation, which will be followed by a practical exercise and then a discussion. We will end by briefly considering each of the essay topics that will be on the ilearn site from week two. 

No Reading for the week   

 

Week 8 (5 October) The US and the Japanese Alliance

The United States has had a permanent military presence in Japan since 1945, and continues to do so despite the ostensible rationale for its presence having long since ended. The US's alliance with Japan, and its military bases on Japanese soil, constitute the bedrock of US hegemony and strategy in East Asia. It has taken on renewed importance with the growing influence of China in the region, though the Trump administration has created some uncertainty around the relationship. In this lecture we examine the nature and relevance of the US-Japan alliance, and analyze its role in the contemporary era. 

Reading

Linus Hagstrom, '''Power Shift' in East Asia? A Critical Reappraisal of Narratives on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Incident in 2010' The Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. 10 (2012) pp. 267-297.

Christopher W. Hughes, 'Japan's 'Resentful Realism' and Balancing China's Rise', The Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. 9, No 2 (2016), pp. 111.

 

Week 9 (12 October) The US and the Korea Peninsular

As we saw in week three, the Korean Peninsular has been a central element in the US's strategic posture in east Asia since the end of the Second World War. It has continued to be so for different but related reasons. We examine these reasons, paying particular attention to the shifting US orientation to North Korea over the past decade, and how this impacts on diplomacy in the entire region. We end by considering the implications of the latest round of posturing and sabre rattling by both North Korea and the United States.

Reading

Jae Jeok Park, 'The US-led alliances in the Asia -Pacific: hedge against potential threats or an undesirable multilateral security state', The Pacific Review, Vol 24 No. 2 (2011), pp. 137-158.

 

Week 10 (19 October) The United States and China 1: Economics

China surpassed Japan in the mid-2000s to become the world's second largest economy. Many economists predict that it will overtake the US as the world's largest economy sometime in the 2020s. This spectacular growth has been accompanied by an increased integration with the regional economy, and indeed an increased interdependence between the Chinese and US economies. This process has been riven with tensions and contradictions, which this week's lecture explores in some detail.  

Reading

Robert Brenner and S. J. Jeong, 'Overproduction not Financial Collapse is the Heart of the Crisis: the US, East Asia and the World', The Asia Pacific Journal Vol 7, issue 6 number 5 (2009).

Jochen Prantl, 'Taming hegemony: Informal Institutions and the Challenge to Western Liberal Orders', The Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. 7, no 4 (2014), pp449-482

 

Week 11 (26 October) The United States and China 2: Politics

As China's economy has grown, so to has its political and diplomatic influence in the region. China has become increasingly assertive in promoting its regional agenda, sometimes at the expense of its neighbors, all of whom look to the US as a guarantor of their security. More broadly, China is challenging the unrivaled hegemony that the US has enjoyed in East Asia for decades. In this lecture we expand on some of the themes that we began to talk about in the previous session, and examine the politics of increased US and Chinese rivalry.  

Reading

John J. Mearsheimer, 'The Gathering Storm: China's Challenge to US Power in Asia', The Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol 3 (2010), pp. 381-396.

Jihyun Kim, 'Possible Future of the Contest in the South China Sea', The Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. 9, No 1 (2016) pp. 27-57

 

Week 12 (2 November) War and Peace in East Asia?

Recent developments in the South China Sea have been interpreted by many as a dangerous escalation of brinkmanship that could, ultimately, lead to war. Most liberal internationalists reject this interpretation as exaggerated, arguing that the level of economic integration between the US and Chinese economies precludes the possibility of war. We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the contending positions, and put the US/Chinese rivalry into a longer-term historical perspective, before summing up what we have learned over the previous 12 weeks.  

Reading

James Dobbins, 'War with China', Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, Vol. 54, No. 4 (2012) pp. 7-24

Mel Gurtov, Will this be China's Century? A Skeptic's View (Boulder, Lynne Rienner 2013), pp. 137-148

 

Week 13 (9 November) Class Test (for internal students - externals have a take home test)

For internal students there will be a 2 hour test that will be conducted in the usual lecture time and place.

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Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

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Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

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Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

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Graduate Capabilities

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  • To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics

Assessment tasks

  • Review Article
  • Major Essay
  • Final Exam

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  • To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics
  • To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia

Assessment tasks

  • Review Article
  • Major Essay
  • Final Exam

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  • To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics
  • To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia

Assessment tasks

  • Review Article
  • Major Essay
  • Final Exam

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • To enhance students' understanding of the role that the United States plays in contemporary global and East Asian affairs
  • To illuminate the historical continuities (and discontinuities) in U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the main theoretical and ideological approaches to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics
  • To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia

Assessment tasks

  • Review Article
  • Major Essay
  • Final Exam

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • To sharpen students' understanding of the relationship between, and the blurring of, 'domestic' and 'international' spheres of U.S. politics

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • To enhance students' capacity to clearly express, in written form, ideas and debates that are central to US foreign policy and international relations in East Asia