The March issue of Pacific Affairs consists of four articles and a review essay. In the issue’s opening article, “Professionals and Soldiers: Measuring Professionalism in the Thai Military,” authors Punchada Sirivunnabood and Jacob Ricks use a new opinion survey of over 550 Thai military officers as well as focus groups and interviews to test Huntington’s proposition that increasing levels of professionalism should be correlated with a military officer’s desire to remain apolitical. The data show that most Thai military officers do exhibit high levels of professionalism, at least when measured by Huntington’s standards. Even so, the authors find that being more professional is no guarantee that a Thai officer will desire to remain apolitical. Indeed, they argue that efforts to increase professionalism training will do little to reduce the Thai military’s interventions in politics.
This is followed by Terence Wood’s piece, “Is culture the cause? Choices, expectations, and electoral politics in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.” Here the author focuses on voter behaviour in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, outlining the deficiencies of the most common scholarly explanation of voter behaviour in the two countries—that in which voters’ expectations of modern politicians are said to be shaped by their experience of traditional community Big Men. The paper also shows that simple rational choice models of voter behaviour fail to explain key electoral outcomes. As an alternative, the author argues that voters’ choices are broadly rational but also strongly influenced by informal institutions.
In the next article “Russia’s Reorientation to Asia: Causes and Strategic Implications,” where author Alexander Korolev applies a neoclassical realist framework to explore the causes and consequences of Russia’s recent “pivot to Asia.” Based on an analysis of publications and fieldwork conducted in Russia, this paper examines both the international systemic and the Russian domestic factors that have contributed to the new pivot. It demonstrates that Russia’s turn to Asia is a balancing response to the US-dominated unipolarity and is instigated by Russia’s domestic factors, such as economic demands to develop Russia’s eastern territories and the complex socio-political processes of post-Soviet identity formation. Ultimately, the paper shows that Russia’s pivot to Asia implies not only comprehensive strategic cooperation with specific Asian powers, such as China, South Korea, or Japan, but also a “reinvention” of Russia as a Eurasian power.
In the final article, “Playing Both Sides of the Pacific: Latin America’s Free Trade Agreements with China,” author Carol Wise analyzes three separate bilateral cross-Pacific free trade agreements (FTAs): China-Chile, China-Peru, and China-Costa Rica. Her study both refutes and bolsters earlier theorizing about FTAs. In terms of the former, her paper dashes the notion that FTAs between developing countries are mainly doomed to WTO-minus outcomes; rather, she shows that such partnerships can in fact advance on “new” trade agenda items, such as services, investment, and intellectual property rights. Regarding the latter, she concludes that these three FTAs lend weight to earlier findings that asymmetrical bilateral FTAs of this nature can be trade-creating and promoting of multilateral trade gains.
Closing out the issue, in his “Review Essay on an Anarchist Discourse in (Southeast) Asian Studies,” Apichai Shipper writes how recent works on anarchism by James C. Scott and the late Benedict Anderson have renewed the appreciation for an anarchist approach in the study of political history, while rejuvenating exciting new research about people on the margins of society in (Southeast) Asia. Their non-state-centric or marginal peoples approach has pushed international relations/area studies scholars to reinterpret a political community beyond its national boundaries. In exploring the influence of Anderson and Scott in this review essay, the author examines their recent works on anarchism along with two other works on the activism of marginal people.
In addition we also have 65 reviews of books and films. For additional details we invite you to visit our Current Issue Page.
Pacific Affairs is an interdisciplinary journal committed to advancing empirical and conceptual knowledge in the field of Asia Pacific-focussed area studies. We view area studies as combining serious commitment to original research on specific regions and countries in Asia and the Pacific with insights and analytical rigour derived from multiple disciplines and various theoretical perspectives.
Impact Factor Score: .562 (22 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 to articles published in 2012 and 2013.
5-Year Impact Factor Score: 0.855 (16 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 to articles published from 2009 to 2013
Immediacy Index Score: 0.087 (23 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 of articles published in 2014
Article Influence® Score: 0.451 (17 out of 65 Area Studies journals)
© 2015 Thomson Reuters, Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), Journal Citation Reports
Note: We maintain a sustained and in-depth intellectual and administrative interest in the various debates concerning the uses, meanings, and limits of bibliometric indexes such as the annual JCR reports. We list the information above not as an unthinking endorsement of the use of these indexes to define notions of “quality,” but as information that forms part of a larger set of ongoing attempts to map the patterns and understand the meanings of scholarly communications in the digital age. Although Pacific Affairs embraces careful and contextualized use of all bibliometric data, our view is that the 5-Year Impact Factor (regardless of our absolute and/or relative numbers) is likely the most significant measure, given that we aspire to publish articles that based on the depth of empirical research and the clarity of the arguments will ideally retain their relevance for at least five years after their publication.
Pacific Affairs is a peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focussing on important current political, economic and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Each issue contains approximately five new articles and 40-45 book reviews. Published continuously since 1928 under the same name, Pacific Affairs has been located on the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, since 1961. The journal is committed to providing to the scholarly community and the world at large high quality research on Asia and the Pacific that takes readers beyond the headlines and across multiple disciplines.
Pacific Affairs is indexed in the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), MasterFILE Premier, Public Affairs Information Service and PAIS ARCHIVE, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, World Affairs Online and Bibliography of Asian Studies. We are both indexed and have abstracts of articles appear in Web of Science, GEOBASE, Canadian Periodical Index, Academic Search Complete, CBCA Complete, Historical Abstracts, International Political Science Abstracts, America: History and Life, Public Administration and CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. Ingenta is the electronic provider for our online subscriptions. Pacific Affairs was selected as one of the first journals to join the JSTOR archives at their inception and has a four year moving wall.