Predictions of tragedy vs. tragedy of predictions in Northeast Asian security

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The main argument of this article is that most structure-oriented IR predictions about the future of Northeast Asia in the aftermath of the Cold War have been overwhelmingly pessimistic, thereby projecting a tragic regional order. They have failed to assess the progressive trends of regional interactions, mainly because their projections were blinded by the structure-oriented theoretical conjectures. My paper has three objectives: First, I attempt to empirically identify the diverging gap between the pessimistic predictions about the future of Northeast Asia made by the mainstream IR analysts and scholars during the post-Cold War era and the reality of the past 15 years, which has been relatively well-coordinated, cooperative, and surprisingly peaceful. I unpack the logical structure of these predictions and theoretically explain the reasons why there has been an increasing gap between the two. Second, I argue that conventional arguments about the future of Northeast Asia tend to overemphasize a few structural variables dictated by their theories, while underspecifying regional factors such as regional states' conscious efforts to manage the regional order. Lastly, I draw analytical implications that the actual choices made by state leaders of Northeast Asia must be the target of empirical examinations, not analytical assumptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-33
Number of pages27
JournalKorean Journal of Defense Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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