Politics among Nations in the 21st Century: A Study of Regional Order in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific
This thesis analyses the struggle over regional order in Southeast Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific. Specifically, it develops a novel ‘progressive realist’ analytical framework for the study of regional order based on Hans J. Morgenthau’s ‘normative concept of interest’. Contributing this novel perspective to the International Relations (IR) literature on regionalism and regional order is vital because existing perspectives tend to ignore a dynamic central to regional order: the normative dilemma of politics. This dilemma, the thesis argues, is that while political decisions always benefit some people, they disadvantage others. Regional orders are always inclusive towards some interests and exclusive towards others. This leads to a normative dilemma: who should decide what ‘order’ is as well as how and on which grounds and why should this choice become acceptable to the others? Consequently, progressive realism argues that the central problem to understand about regional order is the normative struggle over what the region ought to be, what the position of certain states within the region ought to be and who should be able to define what counts as legitimate political action.
The thesis empirically demonstrates the relevance of this argument by analysing regional ordering processes in Southeast Asia and the evolving struggle to order the Indo-Pacific region between 1967 and 2020. This analysis draws on thirty-one interviews with Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) member state diplomats, officials and regional experts, as well with diplomats, officials and regional experts from China, Germany, the UK and the United States. Analysis finds that the ultimate problem to order Southeast Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific region is how to reconcile the different political interests and moral principles that nation-states pursue in order to reinforce the vision of order that best supports the various national interests in the region. For the evolving normative struggle to order the Indo-Pacific sets an ASEAN-centred vision of regional order in a contest with a more liberal and west-centric vision supported by a coalition of western powers, on the one hand, and a more non-western or western resistant vision supported by China, on the other.
The thesis concludes that progressive realism is ideally equipped to explore regional ordering processes because, in contrast to extant perspectives, it does not foreclose scrutiny of regional orders’ normative dilemma. This thesis therefore develops a much needed and novel perspective for IR regionalist research in order to understand politics among nations in the 21st century.
ASEAN’s role in security regionalism in the ‘Indo-Pacific’, with a specific focus on maritime security and maritime politics of Indonesia and Vietnam.
The unintended consequences of interregionalism, with a specific focus on EU-ASEAN cooperation on maritime security.
- The ‘Asia-Pacific’ region is being redefined into the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region. Geographically, this means a reorientation of the Pacific and Indian Ocean with Southeast Asia at the centre. Politically, this has consequences for the region’s ‘security regionalism’ architecture, which to date focuses on an ASEAN-centred regional status quo. Other powers with interest in ‘ordering’ the region, notably Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, on the one hand, and China, on the other, are beginning to transform the regional status quo away from the ASEAN states by each providing an alternative ‘vision’ for security regionalism in the Indo-Pacific.
- States that participate in politics in the Asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific region each try to ideologically justify their foreign/regional policies by reference to abstract moral principles that define a ‘common good’ (e.g. what the region ought to be, what the position of certain states within the region ought to be, how the region ought to be governed, who ought to be included/excluded in the region, etc.). This phenomenon extends to all political action (for example also to EU interregional cooperation with ASEAN under the label of ‘maritime multilateralism’). The consequence is that these abstract moral principles, rather than being used to limit political action, are more often used to justify and impose particularistic national interests.
- Hans J. Morgenthau’s theory of Political Realism is relevant to study contemporary political phenomena and useful to highlight some of the weaknesses of contemporary International Relations theory (on regional order, as well as on the IR pluralism debate)
In a globalising and internationalising world, regional security institutions are becoming increasingly important for states and other actors to coordinate their affairs above the national level. Through regional institutions actors seek to deal with developments of an international system that is evolving an ever more interconnected and interdependent character in relation to politics, economics and society. Despite this interconnected and interdependent character of international politics, individual state interests do not cease to exist. Given the rising number of influential actors in global politics, implementing national and other-group interests becomes ever more complicated. Comparing different forms of regionalism(s) across the globe therefore becomes important to understand how regional security institutions contribute to ordering inter-state and inter-regional cooperation within and across different regional contexts. Awareness of contextual commonalities and differences across regions becomes particularly relevant to policy-makers while conducting policies that transcend their immediate regional sphere, including the EU's Maritime Security Strategy and its implications for interregional cooperation with ASEAN.
Dominik Giese is a Marie-Sklodowska Curie Action financed PhD Researcher at the Universtität Hamburg and University of Warwick. He works as part of the project ‘Globalisation, Europe & Multilateralism - Sophistication of the Transnational Order, Networks, and European Strategies’ (Gemstones). His theoretical research contributes to a growing body of literature that re-visits 20th century Classical Realism and applies this to current theoretical debates in the IR literature on regionalism and regional order. His empirical research focuses on Southeast Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific region, where he analyses security regionalism (e.g. maritime politics) through the perspective of Hans J. Morgenthau’s ‘Political Realism’.
01.12.16 – present Universität Hamburg, Hamburg (GER), and University of Warwick, Coventry (GBR) – PhD in International Relations
Dissertation title: Politics among Nations in the 21st Century – A Study of Regional Order in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific –Supervisors: Prof. Shaun Breslin & Prof. Kai-Uwe Schnapp
09.2014 – 11.2015 University College London, London (GBR) – M.Sc. in Security Studies
Dissertation title: The Role of Problem-Solving and Interest-Bargaining in EU Treaty Reform: Explaining the Absence of European Foreign Policy Communitarisation in the Context of the European Convention – Supervisor: Dr. Christine Reh
08.2012 – 06.2013 Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Strasbourg, Strasbourg (FR) – Diploma of International Studies
10.2010 – 07.2014 Loughborough University, Loughborough (GBR) – B.A. in International Relations
Dissertation title: Assessing differentiated integration in the European Union – understanding, explaining and predicting ‘an ever closer Union’? – Supervisor: Prof. Helen Drake
09.2002 – 06.2010 Dresden International School, Dresden (GER) – International Baccalaureate Diploma
Work experience (extract)
12.2019 – 02.2020 Universität Hamburg, Hamburg (GER)
Research Fellow on Stipend to finish PhD
12.2016 – 11.2019 Universität Hamburg, Hamburg (GER) / University of Warwick, Coventry (UK)
Research Associate and PhD Fellow in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences (WiSo) at the Universität Hamburg and PhD Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) at the University of Warwick
09.2018 – 02.2019 German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg (GER)
Visiting Doctoral Researcher
04.2016 – 09.2016 Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh (GER)
Project Management in the Program “Learning for Life“ (Intern for 6 months)
06.2013 – 07.2014 European Association for Young Entrepreneurs (AEJE), Strasbourg (FR)
Project Officer (Part-time)
- Karkour, H. and D. Giese (2020). “Bringing Morgenthau’s ethics in: pluralism, incommensurability and the turn from fragmentation to dialogue in IR”, European Journal of International Relations. Online First. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066120934044
- Giese, D (2021). “The ASEAN Way versus EU Maritime Multilateralism: the Unintended Consequences of EU-ASEAN Maritime Security Cooperation” in E. Lopez-Lucia and F. Mattheis (eds.) The Unintended Consequences of Interregionalism: Effects on Regional Actors, Societies and Structures. London; New York: Routledge.
- Giese, D. and J. Joseph (2021). “Critical Realism” in J-F. Morin, C. Ollson and E.O. Attican (eds.) Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of Key Concepts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Giese, D. and K-U. Schnapp (2021). “Deduction, Induction and Retroduction” in J-F. Morin, C. Ollson and E.O. Attican (eds.) Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of Key Concepts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Giese, D. “Distrust, Loss of Credibility and Increasing Irrelevance: Assessing the EU Maritime Security Strategy in the ‘IndoPacific’” (accepted at European Union and International Affairs (EUIA) Conference 2021)
- Giese, D. “Redebating Regional Security Governance with Hans J. Morgenthau: ASEAN Centrality in the Age of the ‘Indo-Pacific’” (accepted at International Political Science Association (IPSA) World Congress 2021)
- Giese, D. (2020). “The Role of EU External Action in the Waters of Southeast Asia. How to Upgrade Maritime Security Cooperation with ASEAN under Vietnam's 2020 Chairmanship?”, GEM-STONES Policy Briefs, AGORA Forum. Available at: https://gem-stones.eu/impact/publications/the-role-of-eu-external-action-in-the-waters-of-southeast-asia-how-to-upgrade-maritime-security-cooperation-with-asean-under-vietnam-s-2020-chairmanship
- Giese, D. (2018). “Deep Trouble – Holistic Maritime Security and the Importance of the Seabed”, GEM-STONES Policy Briefs. AGORA Forum. Available at: https://gem-stones.eu/impact/publications/policy-perspectives-on-the-eu-in-today-s-complex-world-promoting-holistic-security
Conference and Workshop Participations:
- IPSA World Congress 2021, Lisbon, Portugal (paper presentation upcoming)
- EUIA Conference 2021, Brussels, Belgium (paper presentation upcoming)
- ISA AsiaPacific Conference 2019, Singapore (paper presentation)
- EISA Workshop in International Studies 2019, Krakow, Poland (paper presentation)
- BISA Annual Conference 2019, London, UK (paper presentation)
- BISA Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers Conference 2019, Portsmouth, UK (paper presentation)
- IPSA World Congress 2018, Brisbane, Australia (paper presentation)
- GEMSTONES Summer School 2018, Geneva, Switzerland (paper presentation)
- GEMSTONES Summer School 2017, Geneva, Switzerland (discussant)
- 2021: lecturer in undergraduate core module “Methods in Empirical Social Research” (online course)
- 2019: lecturer in undergraduate core module “Introduction to Political Science”
- 2018/2019: lecturer in undergraduate core module “Introduction to Political Science”
- Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA)
- International Political Science Association (IPSA)
- Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft (DVPW)
- 2019 – 2020: Doctoral Fellowship under the Hamburg Act for the Promotion of Young Researchers and Artists (Gesetz zur Förderung des wissenschaftlichen und künstlerischen Nachwuchses, HmbNFG).
- 2016 – 2019: Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher Grant, European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme Grant Agreement No 722826