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Additional info for Asian and Pacific Regional Cooperation: Turning Zones of Conflict into Arenas of Peace

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Transactional pluralists, in other words, favor economic regionalization as a stepping stone toward a peaceful world with universal economic globalization. However, Johan Galtung (1973) has thrown cold water on transactional pluralism in his analysis of the movement toward a European Common Market. He argues that greed and profits, not idealism, motivate those trying to unify Europe economically. He has warned that transactional pluralism may stoke competition that might backfire when some countries fail to maintain comparative advantage in what they produce.

In Confucianism, for example, there is no acceptance of the Western concept of “reason of state,” the view that states are not bound by norms applicable to individuals. Instead of Westerners’ penchant for rational and impersonal calculations prior to agreements, Asians first develop personal relationships with one another to reach a level of mutual trust, whereupon agreement becomes possible. According to the Indonesian concept of mushawarah, discussions take place between friends on the same side of the negotiating table rather than between adversaries on opposite sides.

By the 1990s, there were about 50 intergovernmental organizations in Asia and 25 in the Pacific region. Within 20 years, those figures had nearly doubled for both regions. One explanation for the increase is that they shared common values rooted in historical experiences and common approaches linked to cultural affinity. For anthropologists, culture is a set of norms developed by a group of humans that defines their way of living from generation to generation. In international studies, culture is usually viewed as an “operational code” guiding behavior (Anand 1981).

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