In the age of growing global populism, the continued popularity and relevance of a populist government is anchored on the ability of its populist leader to convince the voters that the primary objective of his foreign policies is to secure the interests of the state and its citizens. However, without an adequate level of state power, pursuing realist foreign policies to improve the state’s relative gains and position in the international system can pose significant risks even for the most influential populist leader. Hence, the question is, how do populist leaders acquire an adequate level of state power to implement realist foreign policies, without ultimately losing their political capital and institutional legitimacy in the process? To answer this question, I develop a model that illustrates the three-way linkage between populism, securitization, and realism. I use this model to explain the rationale behind President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine, as well as its implications for U.S. foreign policy making. I argue that “populist securitization” is a conduit through which populist leaders formulate, execute, and justify their realist foreign policies. Using Trump’s securitization of the U.S. economy as a case study, I reveal how a populist securitization act can trigger the illiberal tendencies and nativist sentiments of the nationalistic voters, which, in turn, allow populist leaders to maintain their popularity and legitimacy among these voters while they experiment with realist foreign policies.
In the contemporary Asia-Pacific context, the fault lines leading to the Thucydides trap can be attributed to the continuing strategic competition between a seemingly declining United States and a rising China. Failure to circumvent this trap can ultimately result in a war of all against all. Against this backdrop, this article investigates how a small power re-evaluates its foreign policy and strategic behaviour using neoclassical realism theory. In particular, I examine President Rodrigo Duterte’s method which is characterized by four key elements: cultivating a more favourable image for China; moderating the country’s American-influenced strategic culture; mobilizing state-society relations supportive of ‘Sinicization’; and reorienting the country’s Western-based institutions to better accommodate Chinese pressures and incentives. Does a China-centric approach give a small power an indispensable strategic capital to successfully navigate and exploit both the challenges and opportunities of the impending new order? Do the Philippines’ shifting rules of engagement under the Duterte administration represent a forward-thinking strategic outlook rather than a defeatist and naïve stance? The article answers these questions by examining the factors and dynamics underpinning the conception and construction of the Duterte method, as well as its implications a vis-a-vis a small power’s foreign policy and strategic behaviour.
This article attempts to explore and analyse the evidence for cohabiting the human security concept into the national security frameworks of ASEAN countries. Using the Philippines and Malaysia as case studies, the article determines the extent to which public officials and policymakers have redefined and reenvisioned national security by incorporating non-traditional, people-centered elements of human security. The word 'cohabitation' refers to national governments' efforts to amalgamate statist and humanist dimensions of security when articulating and implementing their national security rhetoric and agenda. It argues that human security naturally complements state security, and vice versa. As such, human security and state security co-exist in a constructive manner that enhances the overall level of national security. In other words, they are mutually constitutive rather than mutually corrosive. Both cases underscore a two-pronged assumption. First, the meaning and provision of national security can neither be eloquently articulated nor completely substantiated without considerations for 'below the state' actors and issues. And second, the eminent status vis-à-vis power of the state in providing national security can neither be trivialized nor undermined.
How does a once familiar and benign ethnoreligious community become a stranger and a threat? This paper examines the underlying cyclical process that drives different ethnoreligious factions within a territorially bounded polity to frame each other as threats to their relative security and power position. By synthesizing interdisciplinary theories on security, religion, and nationalism, I develop a framework that explains how collective imagined insecurities are manufactured as tangible security threats. In particular, it identifies and describes the phases and the dynamics through which threatening conceptions and narratives about the ethnoreligious ‘others’ are developed, socialized, and legitimized. Applying this framework to analyze the lingering tensions between Muslim and Christian communities in Indonesia, I argue that this chauvinistic, zero-sum practice is underpinned by a three-phase cycle that is being precipitated by the emotive effects of ethnoreligious nationalism; hostile predispositions to securitize other ethnoreligious categories; and perceived indivisibility of sacred ethnoreligious homelands.
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