Title: Consent and Conquest: How the Western Way of Warfare Spread to Asia

Dissertation Committee: Colin Elman (chair), Miriam F. Elman, and Brian D. Taylor.

Abstract: My dissertation examines the different processes through which Western war-fighting concepts and practices diffuse to the Indo-Pacific region. It seeks to explain how and why different militaries in the Indo-Pacific emulate Western war-fighting systems with different effectiveness, and whether and how the emulation variation affects their effectiveness. It develops a theory based on two components. First, the different transmission pathways—whether it is coercive, commercial, or cooperative—that provides different transfer methods and mechanisms of war-fighting systems from the innovator to the emulator. Second, the quality of the emulators’ civil-military relations that shapes the efficiency and effectiveness of the emulation effort. The concept of organizational learning then determines how these two components interact and are configured in different causal mechanisms, as indicated in activities pertaining to: command and control, strategic assessment, personnel planning, education and training, and defense resource management.

To evaluate this theory, I employ a mixed-method research design in two parts. The first part integrates process tracing and comparative-historical analysis to examine three case studies—Meiji Japan, British India, and Cold War Indonesia—and investigate the different causal mechanisms underlying the process of military emulation. The second part uses different statistical methods to examine an original panel data on the outcomes of Asian warfare involving 15 different states since the 1800s to establish whether adopting Western military systems confer certain advantages in war. The findings will elucidate key challenges and inform contemporary policymaking in the fields of regional security, defense modernization, local security force development, military assistance and training, as well as security sector reform.


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