CamEd Business School, Phnom-Penh
Either as a provocation or a realization of a deeper truth, Peou argues that 'democratic realism' is the strongest magic to help secure peace and security in the region, and China becoming a democracy would be a prerequisite. A democratic China. This conclusion might sound tentative but, after painstakingly bringing the current popular theories known in the IR literature to the forefront, Peou leaves readers largely satisfied with none of them. This book tells of the world affairs as they are, seen through many conceptual loopholes. Whether the referent object to secure is the state, a particular regime or the people, trying to put together a regional security community in the Indo-Pacific Asia where many governments are undemocratic could be daunting, if not impossible. As China becomes more and more assertive and at times belligerent, the biggest Asian bloc (ASEAN) has been struggling just to solve their internal issues. Realpolitik sticks like a glue. After demonstrating that neither realists nor the rest could explain international relations accurately, the book's proposal of a mixture between democracy and realism is supported by two broad observations: liberal democracies have a bigger chance of building and keeping regional peace, and the willingness and ability to do so has empirical grounds. But the internally conflicting history has never ended, and perhaps never will. While socialism has been winning popular votes across Europe and in the US, Peou's prescription for (liberal) democratic leadership in China could be a long shot. Written with depth and width, the book shall be very useful for any courses on IR in general and on peace and security in particular even for experts.