Japanese Journal of Political Science

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* This paper is based on a presentation first given at the Shanghai Forum, Shanghai, on 29 May 2011. I am grateful to the organizers and especially to Professor Wu Xinbo for the invitation to speak and write on this topic. Subsequently a fuller version was put on the website of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and I am grateful to Dr Douglas Paal for encouraging me to disseminate my argument through this route. This paper has been revised for this issue as a feature article ‘Responses’ to the special issue ‘Ideas of Asian Regionalism’, Japanese Journal of Political Science, 12(2): 165–322.