The Long Peace of East Asia

The Long Peace of East Asia

The 'long peace' is an idea that is often associated with the peace established in 1815 after the Napoleonic war. Europe saw almost one century of peace, except the Crimean War, and the Prusso-French conflict in 1871 that eventually paved the way to the reunification of Prussia under Count Bismarck. The earlier phase of the 'Long Peace' in Europe was also spurred and inspired by the leading diplomatic personalities of the time, such as Cardinal Richelieu of France; Metternich of the Austria-Hungarian Empire; and Castlereagh of Britain.

"The Long in East Asia," written by Timo Kivimaki, is one of the more empirically profound books on the region. He has identified a number of key trends since 1976. Inter state conflicts are down; as are inter battle deaths; and other related casualties. More remarkably, all these indices have shown sharp and remarkable decline of more than 97 per cent in some cases.

Timo Kivimaki, now a Professor in International Relations at University of Bath in England, argues that it was marked by the convergence of the various member states in ASEAN and East Asia on developmental politics; which were also concurrent to a focus on non intervention in the affairs of one another.

By keeping foreign powers out of Southeast Asia, especially after the end of the Vietnam War, the region also began to see a lull in war-like activities. Timo Kivimaki is not a romantic pacifist. Elsewhere in the book, he argues that the concept of the 'long peace,' does not preclude the possibility of armed conflict in and over South China Sea one day. The issue is, who will start it first ? This book is poignant in the argument too that external meddling is potentially a trigger to something more deadly and serious. Hence, one should do one's best to prevent foreign powers from intruding too deeply into the affairs of the region. But the strength of the book also lies in the painstaking efforts put into understanding the numbers behind the broad strategic trend. In this sense, this book is a stellar academic achievement of the first order.