Wronged by Empire
Post-Imperial Ideology and Foreign Policy in India and China
Manjari Chatterjee Miller
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"Manjari Miller's Wronged by Empire provides a refreshing complement to the standard materialist readings of why China and India conduct themselves as they do: by making colonialism the pivot for explaining both their pervasive defensiveness and their conspicuous sense of entitlement, she reminds the international community that it cannot escape China and India's past any more than they themselves can. A rich and rewarding book."—Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
"Manjari Chatterjee Miller's Wronged by Empire is a pathbreaking study of the effects of the bitter history of imperial victimhood on the foreign policy of Asia's two rising great powers. It is routine for experts on either India and China to assert that post-colonial nationalism matters in the foreign policies of these countries. But it is rare indeed to see that proposition systematically tested against the expectations of mainstream theories of international relations in a study of either country's foreign policy, let alone both. Miller's book is an important contribution to both international relations theory and Asian studies."—Thomas J. Christensen, William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War and Director, China and the World Program, Princeton University
"Focusing on the two giants, China and India, Wronged by Empire makes a convincing case on how the cognitive effects of colonialism have shaped a 'post-imperial ideology' that emphasizes victimhood and entitlement and is a core driver of the international behavior of these countries, especially with regard to two goals: sovereignty and status. The book is a creative and pioneering contribution to understanding how the behavior of rising powers flow from specific historical circumstances."—Devesh Kapur, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania
"Wronged by Empire is a fascinating, innovative, and insightful study of the political psychology of Sino-Indian relations and of the roles of those two countries in the world. Using trauma theory from the field of psychology, Miller postulates the experience of colonial subjugation by Western powers as an explanatory variable fueling a drive for territorial maximization and international status. This is an important contribution to our understanding of contemporary world politics and to the approach of two of Asia's rising powers to one another and to the global order."—John W. Garver, Professor, the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology
Although India and China have very different experiences of colonialism, they respond to that history in a similar way—by treating it as a collective trauma. As a result they have a strong sense of victimization that affects their foreign policy decisions even today.
Wronged by Empire breaks new ground by blending this historical phenomenon, colonialism, with mixed methods—including archival research, newspaper data mining, and a new statistical method of content analysis—to explain the foreign policy choices of India and China: two countries that are continuously discussed but very rarely rigorously compared. By reference to their colonial past, Manjari Chatterjee Miller explains their puzzling behavior today. For example, she demonstrates why in important cases (such as India going nuclear in 1998 or China's fraught relationship with Japan) their foreign policy behavior is not consistent with the security explanations that are dominant in international relations.
More broadly, she argues that the transformative historical experience of a large category of actors—ex-colonies, who have previously been neglected in the study of international relations—can be used as a method to categorize states in the international system. In the process Miller offers a more inclusive way to analyze states than do traditional theories of international relations, which usually focus on the material power of states, meaning inevitably that they mostly discuss the behavior of states that have power enough to matter—in effect Western states.
Security Studies — Asian Security
Security Studies — Conflict and Politics
Politics — Asia
Politics — International Relations
Series link: Studies in Asian Security
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