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Asia in Washington

Exploring the Penumbra of Transnational Power

Kent E. Calder

Publication Year: 2014

For several centuries, international relations has been primarily the purview of nation-states. Key powers have included at various times Great Britain, France, Japan, China, Russia (then the U.S.S.R., and then Russia again), and the nation most influential in international relations for the past several decades has been the United States. But in a world growing smaller, with a globalizing system increasing in complexity by the day, the nation-state paradigm is not as dominant as it once was.

In Asia in Washington, longtime Asia analyst Kent Calder examines the concept of "global city" in the context of international affairs. The term typically has been used in an economic context, referring to centers of international finance and commerce such as New York, Tokyo, and London. But Calder extends the concept to political centers as well —particularly in this case, Washington, D.C.

Improved communications, enhanced transportation, greater economic integration and activity have created a new economic village, and global political cities are arising within the new structure —distinguished not by their CEOs or stock markets but by their influence over policy decisions, and their amassing of strategic intelligence on topics from national policy trends to geopolitical risk.

Calder describes the rise of Washington, D.C., as perhaps the preeminent global political city —seat of the world's most powerful government, center of NGO and multilateral policy activity, the locale of institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, and home to numerous think tanks and universities.

Within Washington, the role of Asia is especially relevant for several reasons. It represents the core of the non-Western industrialized world and the most challenge to Western dominance. It also raises the delicate issue of how race matters in international global governance —a factor crucially important during a time of globalization. And since Asia developed later than the West, its changing role in Washington raises major issues regarding how rising powers assimilate themselves into global governance structure. How do Asian nations establish, increase, and leverage their Washington presence, and what is the impact on Washington itself and the decisions made there? Kent Calder explains it all in Asia in Washington.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-xii

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xviii

Americans, like people of virtually all nations, reflexively view the world through the perspective of their nation-state. The doings of the president make front-page news almost daily, and the White House stands among our preeminent national symbols. The vital details of the nation’s birth and growth are commonplace to our schoolchildren, and the nation’s capital is a symbolic arena that we visit and revisit, vicariously at least, almost every day...

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Introduction: Toward a New Paradigm for International Relations

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pp. 1-7

For three and a half centuries and more, international relations has been seen as a matter of ties among nation-states: France, China, Russia, Japan, and, preeminently over the past two decades, the United States of America. Yet in a globalizing system of rising complexity, that view has grown too simple. It is time for a new paradigm...

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1. Washington as a Global Political City

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pp. 8-29

For well over three hundred and fifty years, since the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, states have been the central actors of the international system. Since the end of the Thirty Years’ War, it has been states, after all, that decide matters of war and peace, conduct diplomacy, and fight wars. In domestic affairs it is they that have generally guaranteed civil order, received and collected taxes, erected public works, and provided for the general welfare...

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2. Washington's Power Game and Its Transformation

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pp. 30-63

Washington today acts on an international stage and is the capital of arguably the most influential nation on earth. It is the quintessential global political city, whose local dynamics have fateful significance for the broader world. Yet its behavior is by no means a straightforward reflection of American national policy. Indeed, as shown in the preceding chapter, the way Washington operates is heavily shaped by distinctive, historically embedded, institutional features—subtly changing over time—that need to be understood in their own right...

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3. The Washington Factor in Asia

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pp. 64-85

Washington is a cosmopolitan city that interacts with its counterparts throughout the world. Many of its international relationships, together with their overall structure, have implications for the global political system because of Washington’s standing as the capital of the world’s preeminent superpower. It is Washington in both dimensions— as the American national capital and as a global political city—that I consider in this chapter...

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4. The Asia Factor in Washington

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pp. 86-101

Washington, as noted in the preceding pages, looms large today in Asia—much larger than before World War II and larger even than a decade or two ago. Given Asia’s heavy export dependence on the U.S. market, and the hub-and-spokes structure of security ties, Asian officials feel a strong need to network and coordinate with their Washingtonbased U.S. government counterparts...

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5. Asia across America: The Changing Calculus

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pp. 102-121

Washington, of course, has a distinctive local dynamic of its own—“inside the Beltway”—as a global political city. Yet it is also deeply linked, both politically and economically, to the rest of the United States, as America’s capital. As socioeconomic relationships across the Pacific steadily deepen, as immigration from Asia increases, and as Asian American activities across America intensify, ethnic politics becomes an increasingly important element of “Asia in Washington” as well...

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6. Profiles of National Response:Overview and Hypotheses

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pp. 122-139

Asian nations in general, as shown in chapter 5, have an unusual challenge in attaining and sustaining Washington access, for embedded historical and cultural reasons. Since World War II, and especially since the 1960s and 1970s, global growth and rising transpacific interdependence have made resolving that challenge ever more pressing. All the nations of Asia share this common challenge and the deepening urgency of an effective response...

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7. Northeast Asiain Washington

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pp. 140-201

Northeast Asia is a volatile, heavily armed region where many of the great powers of the world come warily into contact. China, Russia, and Japan all surround the divided Korean peninsula, where United Nations forces, with major American involvement, stand along an armistice line between a rapidly growing South Korea and a North Korea that has tested nuclear weapons and is developing long-range missiles...

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8. South and Southeast Asiain Washington

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pp. 202-252

South and Southeast Asia have forged longer and in many ways deeper historical ties with Washington than have their neighbors in Northeast Asia (see chapter 7). Thailand was the first nation in Asia with which the United States established diplomatic ties (in 1832), while the Philippines was the only Asian nation to have been under U.S. sovereignty (1898 to 1946). As we shall see, India and the Philippines, as early democracies, arguably had the strongest early post–World War II Asian presence in Washington, and Vietnam was a central preoccupation of American foreign policy (as a whole) until the mid-1970s...

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9. Global Implications

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pp. 253-267

Washington, as we have seen, is a complex, fluid, political community— one whose boundaries far transcend the formal institutions of the American nation-state. It includes, conspicuously, a penumbra of power surrounding the U.S. government that performs important global functions in its own right. Both the informal and formal sides of Washington are continually evolving. Indeed, political Washington has changed dramatically over the three decades and more since Ronald Reagan served as president. It has changed even more profoundly since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his associates began forging the modern presidency eight decades ago...

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10. Policy Implications

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pp. 268-280

As has become clear over the past nine chapters, paradox abounds in the transnational politics of Washington. Emerging historically from a distinctly parochial heritage, the District of Columbia has grown to become one of the most global of cities. In conventional realist terms, however, many of the largest and most powerful nations in the world have less visibility and influence within its confines than some of the smallest and seemingly most insignificant...

Appendix A. Important Events,America and Asia, 1784–2013

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pp. 281-286

Appendix B. Registered ForeignAgents in Washington, Key AsianGovernments, 1945–2010

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pp. 287-288


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pp. 289-292


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pp. 293-354


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pp. 355-366

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815725398
E-ISBN-10: 0815725396

Page Count: 366
Publication Year: 2014