On this manqué paper anniversary of my first international-affairs journal (praised by a cosmopolitan journalist as well as a universitarian political science professor), I can now inaugurate its successor: a weblog detailing and analyzing southeastern Asia’s transnational relations.
My use of the term does not refer to the geoscheme backed by the United Nations, instead designating an amalgamation of the UN’s regions of Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeastern Asia. Hence, articles published on this blog will focus on the major political events, be they international or national, affecting the nations of:
Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; India; Iran; the Maldives; Nepal;
Pakistan; Sri Lanka; China and its territories; Japan; Mongolia; North and South Korea; Brunei; Cambodia; Timor-Leste; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia; Myanmar; the Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; and Vietnam.
These twenty-four countries, combined, can boast a populace of close to four billion (according to the CIA’s July 2014 estimates)—roughly 54% of the world population. They can also claim some of the world’s diplomatic hotspots: the ‘Demilitarized’ Zone between the Koreas, the Senkaku (according to the Japanese) or Diaoyu (according to the Chinese) or the Diaoyutai (according to the Taiwanese) Islands, the quadrilaterally-claimed Kashmiri province, China’s nine-dash map of the South China Sea… Over time, I wish to cover these stand-offs and their ilk, with regular newspaper-like articles centering on political shifts in the region. However, in order to stand out and make the perusal of this blog instead of a recognized journal worthwhile, I will equally be attempting to apply theories from the domains of political science and comparative politics to the situations described.
To allow the setting of more reasonable expectations, I will be shedding light on my personal situation. As a Canadian-American minor currently residing in the northern province of Quebec, I do not have particularly strong ties to the United States, but a theory that I have been playing with is that, prizing my American history for its unusual value across the frontier, I may have drawn the link that, as a citizen of an international strongman, it was to a certain degree my duty to understand American actions around the world. Perhaps it’s a broken theory, but perhaps it is such a feeling that brought me to discover an interest for global affairs, an interest which now spans far beyond what the White House instigates.
Ties between psychology and the understanding of diplomacy can also be made. The latter is to grasp the meaning of, and the motivations behind, interactions between two states; the former is to grasp the meaning of, and the motivations behind, interactions between two individuals. Both are of interest to me, and perhaps one can build a third link between this and my hobby of writing: the two allow to establish a model, a precedent on which to base predictions of one’s actions, and the entire world created to host a storyline must follow these same rules; it must be coherent.
Lastly, the thought behind the site name. Easterndispatch. It’s rather perfunctory, as names go; Asia, more specifically the India-Indonesia-Japan triangle roughly covering my countries of interest, is traditionally seen to be on the eastern half of the world. In a less Eurocentric view, the aforementioned troika is undeniably on the eastern half of the continent itself. Following that, dispatch is simply another term for a news story brought to the attention of a newspaper. Combined, they describe the purpose and nature of the site rather well: a pseudo-newspaper focusing on nations of the East.