New article by Joerg Friedrichs explores security challenges of managing transnational bonds

12 January, 2018

A new article by Joerg Friedrichs examines 'intermestic' security challenges – challenges that arise when there is concern in a country that a dissatisfied minority relies on transnational bonds with a foreign kin group for support.

Such challenges result from ethnic and/or ideological affinities translating into foreign support seen as problematic, and they are aggravated when the dissatisfied minority is able to raise territorial claims. This can lead to complications not only in domestic politics, but also in international relations (hence, the term ‘intermestic’).

Intermestic challenges can escalate into civil war and other political calamities, but they can also be managed by governments. This article develops a theoretical model and discusses it with regard to China and its Muslim-majority neighbouring countries.

To the west of China, transnational bonds of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang with co-ethnics and coreligionists in Central Asia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan complicate Chinese relations with those countries. In the southeast, transnational bonds of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia and Malaysia with their ancestral homeland have complicated Indonesian and Malaysian relations with China.

While the cases have followed different trajectories, Beijing has managed either challenge rather successfully. The theoretical model developed and the management strategies discussed are likely to be useful in other contexts.

Joerg Friedrichs (2018) 'Intermestic security challenges: Managing transnational bonds', European Journal of International Security, DOI: 10.1017/eis.2017.19