Is Asia primed for increased rivalry or greater cooperation

These include the North Korean Taepodong missiles and nuclear research crises, the impact of the financial crisis on Asian countries and subsequent socio-economic turmoil, and conflict over the Taiwan Straits (Welch amp. Milne, 2014: p67). However, although the Asian region is a highly unstable one, the reasons for this rivalry are not entirely tied to these events as several scholars have claimed.While Friedberg’s argument contends that Asia cannot move towards cooperation due to its multi-polar geopolitics, the United States’ strategic interests in the region provide a stabilising power balance. In addition, the dearth of democratic and strong regional institutions, which is also part of his argument, would seem to contradict evidence showing the opposite as Indo-Sino cooperation is increasing (Alagappa, 2011: p157). In fact, regional actors pose the largest threat to stability and increased cooperation in Asia. The extremely different and isolationist values and beliefs professed by these actors make sovereignty contests in Taiwan and Korean waters a potential cause of military rivalry and conflict. These potential but intangible causes of rivalry and conflict should be given the closest attention. Moreover, the role played by the US in Asia cannot be ignored as its strategic military strength and alliances make it the dominant power (Alagappa, 2011: p159). This paper will aim to use three theoretical paradigms of international relations: the realist, liberal, and constructivist approaches, in examining the regional environment in Asia and forming a more considerate and accurate assessment of prospects for increased rivalry or cooperation in Asia.The liberal, realist, and constructivist approaches to IR offer different perspectives of what governs the behaviour of state actors, especially in the promotion of stability and cooperation or rivalry and conflict (Lanyi amp. McWilliams, 2013: p90). The realist school of IR thought considers power to be the main

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