The Mekong River is a vital and valuable resource, with huge development potential for the six states through which it flows. Given the significant asymmetry of power between those states, however, there is a real risk that some might utilise it to the detriment of others.
Without a sense of regional belonging, it is difficult to imagine that these states and their constituent communities will take regional imperatives to heart, participate in joint regulatory frameworks, or adopt behaviours for upstream-downstream and lateral cooperation over the appropriation and use of their shared resources. How effectively has closer interdependence of the Mekong countries accommodated the development of a political-social-cultural space conducive for the growth of a regional "we-ness" among not only political elites, but also the general public? The contributors to this volume approach this question from a range of directions, including the impacts of tourism, regional development programs, the Mekong Power Grid, and Sino-US rivalry.
This edited volume presents valuable insights for scholars of international relations, Asian studies, development studies, environment studies, policy studies, and human geography.
List of Figures
List of Tables
Notes on Contributors
1. Introduction: Economic Growth and Community Construction at the Greater Mekong Subregion (Xin Chen and Charles Samuel Johnston)
2. Constructing a region (the GMS) out of a river (Nicholas Tarling)
3. 100% Pure Mekong: The Key to Identity, Development and Tourism in the GMS? (Charles Samuel Johnston)
4. Developmental change in the GMS: Economic growth yes, community construction? (Kenneth Jackson)
5. The Sino-American Strategic Rivalry in the Mekong Development (Dinar Swastiningtyas Theosa)
6. Regional Cooperation through the Greater Mekong Subregion Program: Focus on Hydropower Development and the Mekong Power Grid (Nayeon Shin, Seungho Lee and Ilpyo Hong)
7. Vietnam Mekong River Delta: A Regional Connection Perspective (Bui Quang Binh)
8. Participatory Water Governance and Impact Assessment: A Case Study of Hua Na Irrigation Project in Northeast Thailand (Kanokwan Manorom)
9. China and the Mekong: Domestic Hydro Politics (Xin Chen)
Asia’s dynamic economic growth during the past three decades has elevated the region’s significance in the global economy. The growing American economic linkage with the region has also elevated the region’s significance in U.S. foreign policy, as typified by President Obama’s "Rebalance to Asia" policy. While U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist outlook cast some doubt about the continuing U.S. engagement with the region, Asia’s growth has not only been an economic blessing, but also a potential destabilizing factor in regional security. The continuing isolation of North Korea and its development of weapons of mass destruction, China’s rapid military modernization and growing maritime ambitions, uncertainties about U.S. security commitment to the region, and responses of the major powers (like Japan, India, and Russia) have dynamically interacted to shape the transformation of regional security.
At the same time, economic growth has affected domestic socio-political balance in each country, and the growing economic linkages have also boosted transnational interactions between both legitimate and illegitimate societal actors; business alliances, human rights groups, environmentalist networks, and transnational criminals are some examples. These changes in governance in the region have offered a very important subject to study.
This series aims to cut across the arbitrary sub-regional focus of much of Asian Studies and to explicitly incorporate the role of the United States in the region. In order to capture the dynamic economic, political, social, and cultural transformation of the region, a broader geographical scope must be studied together in multi- and inter-disciplinary fashion. Topics covered will include international relations, comparative politics, history, popular culture, media, crime, urbanization and economic integration.