This book shows how one of the most powerful tools of security studies—strategic culture—illuminates the origins and implications of the Asia-Pacific region’s difficult issues, from the rise of China and the American pivot, to the shifting calculations of many other actors. Strategic culture sometimes challenges and always enriches prevailing neo-realist presumptions about the region. It provides a bridge between material and ideational explanations of state behavior and helps capture the tension between neoclassical realist and constructivist approaches. The case studies in this book survey the role of strategic culture in the behaviors of Australia, China, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and the United States. They show the contrast between structural expectations and cultural predispositions, as realist geopolitical security threats and opportunities interact with domestic elite and popular interpretation of historical narratives and distinctive political-military cultures to influence security policies. The concluding chapter devotes special attention to methodological issues at the heart of strategic cultural studies, as well as how culture may impact the potential for future conflict or cooperation in the region. The result is a body of work that helps deepen our understanding of strategic cultures in the Asia-Pacific in comparative perspective and enrich security studies.
This bookw as published as a special issue of Contemporary Security Policy.