This article discusses the history of Japan’s pursuit of its nuclear policy and views on nuclear weapons since the Second World War. It explains how Japan’s strategic thinking on nuclear weapons changed in accordance with changing security environment over the past decades, and the details of Japan’s past examinations of its nuclear option as well as Japan’s efforts to sustain and strengthen credible deterrence and policy on nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, and arms control. The article concludes that the likelihood for Japan to go nuclear seems extremely low as long as the current trend in the security environment may not experience significant transformation. Instead, Japan will continue to strengthen its alliance with the United States and overall deterrence posture while pursuing nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, and arms control together with the international community, especially the countries in East Asia. This article also argues that Japan’s focus on nuclear option should not be seen as undermining the security and stability of Asia, but rather that it is a prerequisite, in a way, to foster healthy discussion over security policy in Japan, and to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, to prepare for new security challenges in evolving strategic environment in this region.
This article analyzes Malaysia’s changing policies toward China and other big powers during the period 1971-1989, as a case to illustrate how and why smaller states adjust their alignment choices in the wake of reduced strategic commitment of their big power patrons the way they do. It argues that it was due to the changing distribution of regional power in the face of the British East of Suez policy and the American retreat from mainland Southeast Asia in the late 1960s – in conjunction with domestic political considerations in the post-1969 period – that had compelled Malaysia’s ruling elite to replace the country’s long-standing pro-West policy with a new posture of “non-alignment” and “regional neutralization”. In the view of the elite, in order to get the big powers to recognize and guarantee the region as an area of neutrality, the Southeast Asian states should acknowledge and accommodate each of the major powers’ “legitimate interests”, while observing a policy of “equidistance” with all the powers. This new alignment posture necessitated the Tun Razak government to adjust its China policy, paving way for the Malaysia-China rapprochement of the early 1970s.
This article examines Southeast Asian regionalism amidst globalization in the context of China’s soft power strategy in the region. This article contends that its model of regionalism allows Southeast Asia to cope with the challenges of globalization and provides countries in the region a louder and collective voice when dealing with major powers like China. While there seems to be a convergence of Southeast Asian regionalism and China’s use of soft power, this article identifies some pitfalls that limit the luster of China’s soft power appeal in the region.
Political cooperation between the different races in the Malay Peninsula started in a period following the Second World War. Given the existing challenges of that time, some had succeeded and some had come to a dead end. The Malays’ political maturity and openness started with the joint cooperation of Pusat Tenaga Rakyat (PUTERA) with the All Malayan Council of Joint Action (AMCJA) in 1947. This political tolerance succeeded in giving birth to the People’s Constitution. However, it was promptly rejected by the British as it was put forward by radical group. Thereafter, another political cooperation, this time of the moderate parties, involving the United Malayan National Organization (UMNO) and Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) gave birth to what is famously called PERIKATAN in 1949. In the run-up to the Independence, there was another failed effort at political cooperation among the radical groups, known as SOCIALIST FRONT. Eventually, the political cooperation managed to prove to the British that the Malays and non-Malays can exist together and politically cooperate in order to fulfill their common aspiration of achieving independence. Thus, this article will explore the early history of multi-racial political cooperation and tolerance in Tanah Melayu.
This article discusses the process of democratization at the local level in Indonesia by looking at the mechanism of electing heads of local district (Pilkada) and the creation of new districts. Pilkada is seen as the best solution to cultivate local democracy in Indonesia after the collapse of the New Order. During Soeharto rule, democracy at the local level was seen as ‘dead`, especially with the emergence of local strongmen and central political elites (stationary bandits). During that time, local leaders were merely seen as tools to take care Jakarta`s interest instead of that of the local people. However, after the downfall of the Soeharto regime, people`s hopes for changes through Pilkada and the creation of new district failed to materialize. This is due to continuous strong role played by local strongmen who used stationary bandits to block political transformations from taking place. This article, therefore, discusses the role played local strongmen and stationary bandits in both during the Soeharto and Reformasi period. The main focus of this article is to analyze how the interaction between local strongmen and the stationary bandits during the New Order and the Reformasi era contributed to the creation of new districts, and to discuss the strategy of those roving bandits in dominating and exploiting the district politics. The main argument of this article is that local strongmen and roving bandits are still controlling local politics, though Indonesia has undergone political transformation for almost a decade. Local democracy is still dictated by the interest of local elites.
Prior to British occupation in Pahang, British officers had little knowledge of the state compared to other Malay states such as Perak, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. During the 19th century, Pahang was known to be unique due to its vastness in size but small in population of both local people and foreigners such as the Chinese, Indians and Europeans. Since the British officers had never explored the Pahang territory, they knew little of what Pahang had to offer. Nonetheless, they were interested in expanding British influence there on the reason that the state’s vast size could also mean abundance in natural resources such as tin that could potentially generate big income, and thus offer economic wealth. Therefore, the British were greatly reliant on information concerning the activities of the Malay community in Pahang. This article will discuss these activities based on British reports and opinions, as well as their efforts toward British intervention in Pahang.
The Philosophés and Enlightenment were thought to play an important role in the French Revolution of 1789. They were claimed to champion radical demands for equality and democracy for the people, thus challenging the prevailing aristocratic order. It was even said that without them, the French would have not achieved political enlightenment and the revolution of 1789 might not had happened. This writing, however, questions the validity of that perception. What were the true roles of the philosophés in the revolution? Were the ideas and goals of the movement radical in the context of politics and culture of France in 18th century? This study discovered that there are solid proofs that shows that, far from championing the principles of democracy and equality for the people, the philosophés was really a movement of elites, conservatives and reactionaries, who fought to defend and further strengthening the institutions of aristocracy and monarchy in France until the revolution.
Jebat: Journal of History, Politics and Strategy, School of History,
Politics and Strategic Studies (PPSPS), Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM, Bangi Selangor, Malaysia.