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A capitalising foreign policy: Regulatory geographies and transnationalised state projects

Chacko, P. and Jayasuriya, K. (2018) A capitalising foreign policy: Regulatory geographies and transnationalised state projects. European Journal of International Relations, 24 (1). pp. 82-105.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066117694702
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Abstract

Proposals for regional economic integration, namely, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the One Belt One Road proposal, have recently been driving the security dynamics of the Asian region. To explain the growing ‘economic’ focus of states’ foreign policies, we need to go beyond the dominant approaches in International Relations and International Political Economy, which are limited in their analytical power because they often make a distinction between politics/security and economics, and prioritise one over the other, rather than seeing them as internally related. Drawing on Leon Trotsky’s theory of ‘uneven and combined development’ and Nicos Poulantzas’s notion of ‘internalised transformations’, we develop a ‘Poulantzian-uneven and combined development’ framework to argue that the increased focus on economics in foreign policymaking represents a fundamental change related to the transnationalisation of capitalist state-building projects. The paper argues that while the Trans-Pacific Partnership reflected an attempt by the Obama administration to fashion a new stage in the transnationalisation of American capital, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and One Belt One Road proposal reflect an emerging China-centred transnationalised state project. We characterise the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and One Belt One Road proposal as constituting different forms of a particular type of geoeconomic strategy called ‘regulatory geographies’ because they entail the export of distinctive modes of regulatory governance that aim to overcome key contradictions of uneven and combined capitalist development in the US and China. As the recent demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the election of Donald Trump shows, however, these transnationalised state projects generate resistance and contestation within, as well as between, states.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School Of Business and Governance
Publisher: Sage
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/40328
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