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ASEAN: BUILDING THE PEACE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA - ASEAN | ONE VISION ONE IDENTITY ONE COMMUNITY

Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. Responsibility Amitav Acharya. Edition 2nd ed. Imprint London ; New York : Routledge, Physical description xxiii, p. Series Politics in Asia series.


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The challenge to supposed ASEAN unity is due to a number of issues which is taken in the latter half of the book. In the post-Cold War period has widened its membership and issues of substance it engages in while simultaneously attempted to deepen its organizational mandate while being hamstrung by its original organizing principles which are holding back all of its initiatives.

3rd Edition

This dichotomy of interpretation of the need for updated organization engagement is at the heart of ASEAN transforming itself into an organization with relevance in the 21 st century. With regard to the long running South China Sea dispute the author argues that different positions which are based on national interest have led to a lack of ASEAN unity and common positions with regard to China and dealing with the dispute. States without territorial disputes such as Thailand and most notably Cambodia have stymied all ASEAN efforts to find a common position and is leading to fractious within the organization.

He argues that the ARF is a composed of a broad constellation of states numbering twenty-seven that has struggled to move forward from being a talk-shop to a substantive organization that produces legally binding constructs.

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The reasons for this lack of substance from an ostensibly ASEAN created organization are its organizing principles of informality, consensus decision-making and incremenatlism. The inability to engage in substantive legally binding frameworks has led the ARF to be unable to forge consensus among its members. On the other hand the author argues that the lax nature of the ARF has allowed a multiplicity of membership which engages all great and emerging powers.

He sees this a point of strength by providing a platform for the easing of American hostilities for Asian based security initiatives and sharing of normative behaviors. Yet it is the very strength that brought this regional initiative to fruition which is impairing its development. Given the larger context of lack of substantive progress and the fact that these are all ASEAN based initiatives the author questions the ability of ASEAN to actually find a dominant role in driving its own creations forward in a manner that suits its collective needs.

He evaluates the still incomplete AEC which was supposed to be completed by January which has its lineage in the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement which he notes was less than successful but was implemented largely due to unilateral trade reduction or global WTO forces. As per the APSC the author finds a mixed bag of initiatives that from the surface seem progressive such as the Human Rights Commission but are largely a reflection of other ASEAN initiatives due to their mandate and terms of reference which inculcate the very same ASEAN norms which have atrophied all other programs.

In other words the reasons for the historical success of ASEAN is no longer relevant in an ever changing world yet the inability to organizationally evolve is a product of that very success. There is an underlying and unspoken vein of reality throughout the book which is only addressed indirectly. That is that while ASEAN is spoken of as a regional entity with some measure of agency a secretary general, international legal personality etc in reality it is a purely intergovernmental organization made up of 10 wildly different states. The lack of ASEAN Secretariat funding and manpower are only two of the easiest ways to demonstrate a lack of organization capacity which is wholly premeditated by its member states and indicative of the power of state sovereignty in the 21 st century regarding Southeast Asian regionalism.

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Constructing a Security Community in South...

It is well researched and is accessible to readers of wide variety. However, a fair and balanced approach allows for reading of the changing nature of ideational notions within ASEAN that have led to both unity and disunity. As with most constructivist scholarship one must take a different tact when evaluating its efficacy.

ASEAN Political Security Community

Constructivism is a post-positivist research paradigm best suited to explaining history and change from a macro perspective but largely ill-suited for prediction.