Papers under review are not listed

Power and Climate in Shift: US-China Competition, the Critical Zone, and the Anthropocene (coauthor, Inhwan Oh)

This paper argues rapid climatic shifts such as the emerging Anthropocene accelerates the cycles of power shift. It accelerates power shift mainly through two mechanisms. First, they unevenly disrupt and damage the Critical Zone, the thin layer of biosphere. Such uneven disruption tends to accelerate the redistribution of capabilities as the states possess different capacities to adapt to the ecological stress in the Critical Zone. Second, climatic shifts exacerbate existing social and political instabilities. The increased domestic instabilities in turn compound the mutual distrust between the rising and established powers, which is already driven by the structural logic of shifting distributions of capabilities. We first test our argument in two historical intersections between power shift and climatic shift: the rise of Mongol empire during the Medieval Warming and the rise of the Dutch global power during the Little Ice Age. We then show that the same acceleratory processes are already affecting the current US-China power shift.

Neo-Confucian Cosmopolitan Democracy: Impartial Mind as a Solution to Legitimation Gaps

While global and planetary interdependences have generated vibrant cosmopolitan democratic movements, they have not yet satisfactorily addressed the legitimation gap between powerful actors with planetary influence and their constituencies. I argue Neo-Confucian definition of a ‘public’ act can help resolve the legitimation gap. For them, an act is public if and only if the mind of its agent impartially reflects the possible effects of its action to its farthest reach. This definition provides public political reasoning that all potentially affected constituencies can use to hold accountable any political actors, including the state. I articulate the merits of the Neo-Confucian approach in comparison with three existing approaches to the legitimation gap. Unlike liberal cosmopolitans and deliberative democrats, such a definition does not confine public legitimacy to delimited domains such as representative institutions and deliberative forums and allows more flexible democratic controls. Pragmatic cosmopolitans similarly promote flexible forms and scopes of democratic governance. Yet, Neo-Confucian reasoning provides a more effective way of collective mobilization, which is essential for sanctioning existing power holders and for generating new accountable powers to cope with multiplying interdependences. I test the efficacy of the Neo-Confucian approach, compared to other cosmopolitan projects, by applying it to the planetary governance of nuclear weapons. The test will show that the application of Neo-Confucian publicity can subject even the most nationalistic exercise of the state power to public sanctioning by the affected constituencies across national borders.