What distinguishes this uneven collection of essays about the potential for a "Pacific Community" from others is an essay by two analysts at RAND, Courtney Purrington and Charles A. Goldman, that discusses the broad forces shaping East Asian international relations. It cautiously concludes that "although the heterogeneity of the region requires an evolutionary approach to community building, it is also true that simple dialogue cannot address most of the critical economic and security problems in the region." In plainer English, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, the two most important multilateral regional forums, have taken only very modest steps so far to develop a real sense of regional community. The realist view of East Asia -- which stresses conflict, rivalry, and the need for maintaining an equilibrium -- remains salient. Rinn-Sup Shinn, an analyst for the Congressional Research Service, has produced a thorough and balanced account of the complex developments on the Korean peninsula in recent years and of U.S. relations with both North Korea and South Korea. And Sheldon Simon and Robert L. Youngblood describe an evolution in East Asia away from a Washington- centered bilateralism to a more diffuse multilateral structure with both political- economic and security components.
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