Ever since World War II the Northeast Asian subsystem has occupied a prominent role in international politics, as the region's political, economic and military conflicts and arrangements have been closely intertwined with major global developments during this period. The Korean War, various aspects of the Cold War, global arms proliferation, global economic architectures, and a recent probable process of structural change of the international system are a few striking examples. Part of the reasons for this is the concentration of abundant economic, technological, military, and political capabilities in the region together with complex intraregional relations and extensive multilayer connections with other parts of the world.
Exploring the basic political-strategic interactions inside the region and between the region and major world powers and developments in a period marked by the global rise of China, this course takes a combined approach. Focusing on China, Japan, and Korea, it integrates theories and models of International Relations (IR) studies with meticulous historical analysis of formative developments and events. Main questions to be addressed are how the region impacts international developments and in turn is influenced by them; what are the region's stabilizing mechanisms; how does the rise of China impact the region and its relations with the United States; to what extent do Western-oriented IR theories explain Asian political-strategic developments. Specific themes to be studies are political-economic connections in the region, status-quo vs. revisionism trends, and regionalism vs. globalization tensions.