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Journal of International Studies (JIS) Vol. 5, 2009

Japan and a New Asian Order
Pumendra Jain
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Today the emergence of a new "Asian order" is being touted, especially with the rise of China and India as two key and influential players. Where does Japan stand in this new Asian order and what role it might play in it? Given Japan's location on the far eastern edge of the Asian continent its relations with the rest of Asia have always been challenging. Now Japan stands at a major crossroads in its relations with these now also successfully modernised Asian nations. Its status is transforming from the Asian leader to an Asian leader amidst rapid change in the politico-economic and security environment externally and domestic politico-economic and social change. These complex circumstances present new and very different challenges to Japan-Asia relations, especially since Japan's place in Asia profoundly influences Japan's place in the world. Early in the twenty-first century, Japan's central foreign policy challenge is how to balance support for the US as its key ally across the Pacific, while maintaining, and possibly expanding, its influence in Asia. The main argument of this paper is that Japan's contributions will remain vital - to Asia, to the Asia-Pacific and indeed to the overall global community. The September 2009 political change from the Liberal Democratic Party to the Democratic Party of Japan brings even stronger message from Japan of its Asian commitment.

The Changing Norms in Commonwealth Consular Relations: From Quasi to Formal Arrangement (1963-1972)
Radziah Abdul Rahim
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The conduct of intra-Commonwealth "consular relations " prior to the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations was unique in that the relations were dissimilar to that established between foreign states. The former had traditionally conducted theirs on a "host" convention, and with the assistance of British missions. The codification of the VCCR,which introduced an element of uniformity of consular rules and procedures, had posed a challenge to intra-Commonwealth quasiconsular practices. This came in a most difficult period in the Commonwealth relations - in what Harold Macmillan described as the "wind of change" that proved to be uncomfortable for Her Majesty's Government, not to mention Britain 's application to join the European Economic Community. The paper examines the impact of the VCCR on the Commonwealth's long-standing arrangement in consular relations. It looks at the British Government's efforts, vis-a-vis, the Commonwealth Relations Office to maintain the status quo and the factors that had influenced some member states to look towards formalising their consular relations. This desire to move away from the traditional norm indicated the coming of age of member states: to determine the direction of their governments' foreign affairs machinery rather than to be free from the vestiges of the British heritage. The paper also looks at why, after nine years, member states finally got together to address this issue and the implication of the 1972 London Conference on the Commonwealth's consular practices.

The Conflict in Thailand's Deep South and Its International Implications.
Omar Farouk Bajunid
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
It was partly the unresolved conflict in Thailand's deep south, accentuated since January 2004 that led to the military coup of September 19, 2006 which abruptly ended the premiership of ThaksinShinawatra and his regime. Today the resuscitated democracy followingthe general election of December 2007 is still in a state of turbulence.The underlying reasons for this have not changed much. The connectionbetween the conflict in Thailand's deep south and the Thailand 'spolitical instability at the centre is too obvious to escape notice. Therehave been many attempts to try to understand Thailand 's politicaldilemmas. As Thailand's deep south is culturally Malay, unlike the rest of Thailand, and has a chronic history of rebellion against central rule inBangkok, Malay-Muslim separatism is assumed to be the root cause of the problem. This paper argues that the on-going conflict in Thailand 'sdeep south is actually a function of a complex interplay of factors. Theinterconnected issues of the struggle for cultural autonomy, Thai national security, irredentism, the fear of international terrorism, geopolitics, the dynamics of regional integration, the growing posture of civil society and the pervasive role of the media demonstrate thiscomplexity as well as its international implications.

International Cooperation and Network Influences in Asia Pacific: The Case of Malaysia
Ahmad Bashawir Abdul Ghani
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Many Malaysian companies with business activities in the Asia Pacific region have strategic alliances with local companies. An exploratory overview of their strategic orientation and performance reveals that they are mostly local market oriented, and their success is closely associated with three factors; working relationships with partners, difficulties in partnering agreements, and difficulties arising from environment and cultural differences. These three factors remain important regardless of the varying objectives, motives and opinions concerning the benefits and governance of the alliances.

The Military and the Praetorian Regimes in Pakistan Politics: Political Usurpers or Protectors of an Incipient Democracy?
Shamsul Khan
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Pakistan seems to be a classic example of a praetorian state with regimes oscillating on both sides of the middle point of a military rule democracycontinuum, where the armed forces - often in collusion with the civil bureaucracy - is lodged in the centre of governance, dictating the actual course of actions, even when there is a civilian regime. Even now when Pakistan is supposedly going through a new round of parliamentary democracy, the military is likely to continue to play an important role in the politics of Pakistan, particularly in the backdrop of the military operations in Swat and surrounding districts which comes amid longstanding US pressure on its Muslim ally to root out AI-Qaeda and Taliban hideouts along the border with Afghanistan. Consequently, there are reasons to be worried that praetorian ism may persist in Pakistan.

India's Myanmar Policy since 1988: Between Democratic Ideals and Geostrategic Imperatives
Jatswan S. Sidhu
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
India has had a long history of relations with Myanmar (Burma) even prior to their independence, as both were British colonial possessions. Relations since Myanmar's independence in 1948 were cordial such that both countries even shared similar views on non-alignment. Although in 1964, Myanmar nationalized privately-owned enterprises that negatively impacted on the livelihood of Indians in the country, relations between both remained cordial, though at times low key. In addition, Myanmar 's self-imposed policy of isolation was another major reason for the state of relations between both during this period. In 1988, when major demonstrations against military rule rocked Myanmar, India became one of the major critics of the latter's poor human rights record and a staunch advocate for the return of democracy to the country. It was obvious that for India, upholding its democratic ideals became the cornerstone of its policy toward Myanmar. However, since the early 1990s, India has changed its earlier stance to one that is currently shaped by geostrategic and geo-economic concerns. This shift has been due to at least three major factors namely the China factor and Myanmar 's abundant natural resources.

Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions in Malaysia: Current Developments
Mohd Najib Mansoro
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
This paper presents current developments in Islamic banking and financial institutions in Malaysia. It begins by discussing the paradigm of Islamic banking and finance through the concept of Islam and economics, the emergence of Islamic financial institutions in Malaysia, the concept of AI-Bai' Bithaman Ajil (BBA) and also the future direction of Islamic banking. The writer argues that Islamic banking is still within the framework of the conventional system except on the element of riba in its transaction. The growing number of products, systems, infrastructures and supporting institutions of Islamic banking in recent years may sustain the development of the Islamic banking industry. With the current issues in BBA, the industry needs to better understand the basic tools in Islamic banking and any weaknesses in today's system should be rectified so as to help develop Islamic banks become truly innovative, competitive and integrated part of the contemporary global finance.

Knowledge Transfer, Modernization and Bilateral Linkages between the Middle East and Southeast Asia
Jan Stark
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Relations between the Middle East and Southeast Asia have for many centuries been described as an one-sided relationship where the scriptural and religion-wise dominant Middle East has "enlightened" the "syncretistic" Southeast Asia with its oral and lax Sufi and HinduBuddhist traditions. Southeast Asian students studying in Cairo have enforced this perception since the 19th century - the Islamic resurgence of the 1980s was the last one to import perceived "Arab" ideas across the continent and into the "Lands behind the Wind". However, recently there has been a tremendous change in this relationship, where modernizing discourses on Islam and numerous trade initiatives of the "Asian Tiger States" like Malaysia and Singapore have started to influence and even dominate emerging dialogues with rather stagnant Middle Eastern partners. Knowledge on Islamic banking, on halal food trading business, on developmentalism and "evolution instead of revolution" in terms of political contacts has shown new perspectives but also poses new challenges to western policy makers, who no longer reign unchallenged while South-South-relations develop into new forms of bilateral relations and globalized governance.

A Country Report
Tri Ratna Manandhar
Introduction Ɩ Full Text
Nepal is a tiny Himalayan state situated in the northern part of South Asia. A land locked country, it is bounded by China (autonomous region of Tibet) in the north, and India in the east, west and south. It occupies about 56000 sq. miles of land and its population is about thirty million. Geographically, the country may be divided into three parts Himalayan region, Hill areas (including Kathmandu Valley), and the Tarai (plain). Nepal was a monarchical country from the beginning of its history, but recently (2008), monarchy was abolished and now it is a republican state. Various ethnic groups reside in different parts of the country, and most of them have their own mother tongue. Nepali in Devanagari script is the official language, but all the languages spoken in the country as mother tongue are recognized as national language. Nepal is an independent state from the very beginning of its history, and it never came under the yoke of any foreign rule.