This article examines prospects for solidarity, defined as an ethos of collective responsibility that works across a political community's normative values and policy decisions, as a unifying idea that can inspire and promote steps toward regional political community across East Asia. Just as the European Union's (EU) founders and its past and present visionaries have appealed consistently to an inclusive, transnational model of solidarity in framing and pursuing European integration, notions of solidarity also contain important affinities with prospects for building an East Asian community. First, the paper examines how the idea of solidarity has evolved in European political thought and especially how solidarity has emerged repeatedly as one of the important concepts throughout the political development of the EU. Then, the paper turns to East Asia and considers the relevance of solidarity as an important principle in aspirations and endeavors toward the creation of an East Asian community. We base our analysis upon a variety of sources, including statements and speeches from key political actors, scholarly books and articles, and news accounts and commentaries. We illustrate how earlier manifestations of solidarity in East Asia have often been cast in ways that set the region apart from the rest of the world and have framed particular groupings of Asian countries in opposition to the West, and we argue that a redeployment of solidarity is needed in East Asia that instead emphasizes an ethos of collective responsibility among the principal national actors and external stakeholders within the region and beyond. In contrast with interpretations that suggest that the conditions for developing East Asian community are inescapably distinct from the circumstances in Europe during the second half of the twentieth century, we argue that the idea of solidarity has great potential to advance regional collaboration in East Asia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science