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This chapter explores Dominican-American author Junot Díaz’s 2007 novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Reading the novel as a Caribbean text that offers a revisionist history of the Dominican Republic, the chapter theorises how Diaz crafts a ‘dictator-narrator’ in protagonist Yunior, whose presence allows readers to reflect not only on the dangers of dictatorship but also on the transformative possibilities of multilingual, hemispheric citizenship. At its core, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao allows readers to reflect on the hybridity of contemporary American literature, offering routes to conceiving of citizenship as an archipelago of rights and responsibilities, as well as readerly, participatory, and queer.

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship

The EU is the biggest trade bloc in the world, but its presence is less palpable in the Asia-Pacific, which is currently the most dynamic global region. The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement has only increased this perception. The EU has no free trade agreement with China, India, Japan, Australia or New Zealand. This chapter first examines the EU’s economic and trade presence and policies in the region and then assesses whether the EU is under-represented. If so, we will attempt to explain why, but if this is not the case, and the EU has a greater presence than first thought, the second part will attempt to explain why this is the generally accepted view. Methodologically, the starting hypothesis is that the EU has neglected the Asia-Pacific region for several primary reasons: overly focusing on the Atlantic, the distance, cultural differences, an overemphasis on China, a lack of strategic presence and vision, and internal problems.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific
Inter-regionalism in a new era

The idea of a return to Asia reflected the growing economic and strategic influence of the Asia Pacific region, particularly in the light of the failure of Western markets and the continuing rise of Chinese economic power. Europe too has begun to reconsider the state of its relations with East Asia. This view has gained a high level of support from European Asia-watchers and politicians, not least the EU High Representative herself. In the 1990s, the EU launched a ‘new strategy’ towards the East Asian region, and participated in the establishment of the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) in 1996. This chapter examines this apparently renewed European approach to Asia, within the context of inter-regional relations through the ASEM framework, and as a European tool for the collective management of external relations with Asia. It is argued that weak institutional structures combine with a rise in the number of bilateral agreements and contentious intra-regional dynamics within Asia and Europe, thereby diluting the effect of any EU pivot. Inter-regionalism should thus be regarded as an issue and process-led form of managing foreign policy, rather than a general narrative for understanding relations among regions today.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific

The ties that bind Australia and New Zealand to the nations of Europe are many and varied, but what does the European Union mean to Australia and New Zealand? More importantly for the purposes of this volume: what do Australia and New Zealand mean to the EU? These questions are difficult to answer. Relations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand have been marked not only by deep cultural commonalities and shared policy concerns but also by policy differences, asymmetry (given the huge discrepancies in market size) and even, at times, indifference. The rapid development of the Asia-Pacific, particularly China, adds another dimension to the EU’s economic and strategic engagement with these outposts of ‘the West’.

This chapter thus aims to clarify the EU’s relations with Australia and New Zealand, highlighting the main points of both commonality and contention. The focus is on specific key policy areas, including agricultural subsidies, climate change, regional security and human rights. The picture that will emerge is of a relationship that is strong but not unproblematic; historically rooted and of great contemporary resonance.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific
Strategic reflections

While the EU maintains strategic partnerships with several Asian countries, there are doubts in Asia over whether it can be a genuine strategic partner. The perceptions may not match – the EU has over the years developed numerous policies and initiatives on the region. In doing so it has demonstrated its comprehensive interest in Asia, not only in terms of foreign policy but also in the dimensions of politics and security. However, the perceptions of the two sides are mutual yet. In light of the new 2016 EU global strategy, this chapter explores the consequences it may have on the EU’s strategic approach to Asia in general, and its strategic partnership diplomacy in particular. In Asia, where profound changes are occurring, investing in regional security and strengthening global governance will be essential features of this policy.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific
Rethinking Europe’s strategies and policies

Since the mid-1990s, the European Union has defined the Asia-Pacific as one of its key strategic targets on its ambitious road towards global power. The EU has ever since made consistent efforts to implement strategies, policies and activities in the Asia-Pacific. Over the past decades, big changes have taken place on both sides and the wider world. It is high time to evaluate the EU’s performance in its Asian policy. In fact, the EU is at crossroads with its Asia Pacific policy. On several aspects, the EU is compelled to redefine its interests and roles, and rethink its strategies and policies towards the dynamic and ever-important Asia-Pacific region of the contemporary world. This volume addresses this theme, by elaborating the general context, major issues and countries in the EU’s Asia-Pacific policy. It covers issues and areas of traditional security, economy and trade, public diplomacy, and human security and focuses on the EU’s relations with China, Japan, the ASEAN countries and Australasia.

Lessons from the Asia-Pacific

The debate on the EU’s ‘actorness’ has continued over two decades. Related research questions have primarily focused on whether the EU acts as one in the world and whether it does so effectively. Corresponding empirical investigations have analysed the EU’s presence in its neighbourhood, its relations with international and regional organisations and its partnerships with powerful nation-states such as the US, Russia and China. We have little knowledge, however, of the role and presence of the EU in sub-systems of the international system, in which the EU and its member states have not, at first glance at least, immediate interests. In this chapter we examine whether the EU is a human security provider in the Asia-Pacific region. The first section briefly presents the concept of human security and how it has been perceived in EU circles. The second section provides a systematic empirical analysis of the methods used by the EU to offer human security in the Asia-Pacific. Foreign policy instruments, development, trade, humanitarian aid, global health and environmental instruments are assessed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the EU’s presence in the Asia-Pacific as a human security provider may inform the debate around its actorness.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific
Navigating between trouble and promise

Since 2003 the EU and China have acknowledged their strategic partnership, and have slowly but steadily built on it to develop one of the most structured relationships between two global powers in the world today. The re-emergence of China is a major driver of change in the ongoing transformation of the international system, and the EU–China strategic partnership is an important dimension in both Chinese and European foreign policies. As major trading entities, China and Europe have a significant effect on each other. China’s re-emergence and growing influence are, however, affecting Europe’s relative position in the global distribution of capabilities, and also pose a challenge to Europe’s governance outlook and to its very identity. In the wake of the great recession, friction has increased in the economic and trade relationship of China and the EU, which is the fundamental link between them. While they have many common interests, they are also competitors – and increasingly so. The future relationship between the EU and China is bound to be a difficult balancing act between competition and co-operation – at best an enlightened calibrating of national interests and global governance ambitions within a complex and transforming international environment.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific

This chapter argues that the EU has begun to view the ASEAN in strategic terms. The roles of EU nations as serious security players in Southeast Asia have long receded, with decolonisation by the Netherlands, Portugal, France and the UK completed by 1984. The EU can make and has, however, made a difference through the civilian missions of the European Security and Defence Policy since 2000, notably the Aceh mission of 2005–6. The EU’s main interests in ASEAN continue to be trade and investment, over and above its own self-proclaimed normative goals of promoting human rights and democracy, with individual member states competing for shares of the growing market in East Asia. Its human security interests, particularly in development and counter-terrorism, have begun to overlap with the priorities of Southeast Asian countries, providing the EU with the potential to play a role in the Asia-Pacific. These aims must be strategised and prioritised within the EU’s broader goals in the Asia-Pacific, which have hitherto been dominated by its relations with China and the US.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific

This chapter analyses the European Union security policy regarding the Asia Pacific, in the context of current trends in international security. Section one explains why the EU regards specific international security trends as important to Europe and the world and why, consequently, EU foreign and security policy-makers assume they can also influence the management of security in the Asia-Pacific. The tendency to develop regional initiatives for the co-management of security issues and the progression of the non-proliferation of nuclear and mass destruction armaments are among the trends identified. In section two, the security culture of European and Asia-Pacific nations is examined, to develop a good knowledge basis for assessing the likelihood of meaningful dialogue on security between the EU and Asia-Pacific nations. In the third section, the present state of the CSDP, common security and defence policy, is analysed in depth, to assess the likelihood of the EU becoming further involved in the Asia-Pacific security process, as a united block of countries. In the fourth and concluding section, the state of current security initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region and the future role of the EU in those initiatives are analysed.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific