Democracy and security in East Asia

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary WorksRGC 12 - Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review

3 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecurity politics in the Asia-Pacific
Subtitle of host publicationa regional-global nexus?
EditorsWilliam T.  Tow
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9780521758826, 9780521765350, 0521765358, 0521758823 
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


Does it matter for security in East Asia whether governments operate democratic or authoritarian regimes? Where democratic change has taken place, do governments grow so accountable to their citizens that security is enhanced? Conversely, are governments that operate authoritarian regimes so unchecked that they are necessarily reckless in their policy-making, causing security to diminish? This chapter marks a preliminary effort to address these questions about causal relations between democracy and security in the East Asian setting. We will see that their answers have both regional and global implications. They show how governments in East Asia that operate different kinds of political regimes may achieve different security outcomes. Hence, they bear lessons too for governments outside the region which, in seeking to promote security, may favour particular regime types. In this analysis, democracy is understood in ‘minimal’ procedural terms. In its twin dimensions, then, specified by Robert Dahl (1971), democracy involves respect for civil liberties, most notably, freedoms of communication and assembly, coupled with elections that are regular, fair and meaningful in their determination of top position-holders who wield state power. Following the Copenhagen School (Buzan, Wæver and de Wilde 1998), however, security is conceptualised in a more ‘holistic’ way. Though it includes traditional concerns of territorial integrity and sovereignty, the notion of security - and the discourse about security that governments conduct - has come in the wake of the Cold War to embrace such issues as economic development, cultural outlooks and sustainable environments.

Citation Format(s)

Democracy and security in East Asia. / Case, William.
Security politics in the Asia-Pacific: a regional-global nexus?. ed. / William T.  Tow. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. p. 122-143.

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary WorksRGC 12 - Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review