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Stressed by Strife: ASEAN from Pattaya to Preah Vihear. Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak Associate Professor and Director Institute of Security and Int’l Studies Faculty of Political Science Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Visiting Scholar, CDDRL-Humanities Center, 26 April 2010.

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stressed by strife asean from pattaya to preah vihear

Stressed by Strife: ASEAN from Pattaya to Preah Vihear

Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak

Associate Professor and Director Institute of Security and Int’l Studies

Faculty of Political Science

Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok

Visiting Scholar, CDDRL-Humanities Center, 26 April 2010

presentation outline
Presentation outline
  • Southeast Asia as a region
  • Southeast Asia as an organization
  • Domestic strife and regional effects
  • Premises and prospects
1 southeast asia as a region
1. Southeast Asia as A Region

1.1 Comparative politics of Southeast Asia

  • 570 million people (ASEAN Sec figure); GDP: $1.5trn
  • 11 countries (ASEAN + East Timor)
  • All post-colonial, except Siam/Thailand
  • Multi-ethnic; multi-religious; multi-lingual
  • All influenced by overseas Chinese
  • All affected by Japan’s Co-Prosperity Sphere in WWII
  • Postwar independence movements and interstate conflicts in the region
1 southeast asia as a region cont
1. Southeast Asia as A Region (cont.)

1.2 Diverse and disparate regime types

  • Absolute monarchy: Brunei
  • Constitutional monarchy: Cambodia, Malaysia (federal), Thailand
  • Socialist: Laos and Vietnam
  • Military authoritarian: Burma/Myanmar
  • Republic: Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, (East Timor)
1 southeast asia as a region cont5
1. Southeast Asia as A Region (cont.)

1.3 Vibrant economic development

  • tamed tigers?; formerly ASEAN Four; Asian Values?; East Asian Miracle
  • 1997-98 economic crisis; recovery and new trajectory

1.4 Political change and continuity: A mixed bag of democratization and autocracy

  • Indonesia/Malaysia/Philippines/Thailand/Singapore/Cambodia
  • Brunei/Laos/Vietnam/Burma-Myanmar

1.5 Internal conflicts and insurgencies in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand

2 southeast asia as an organization
2. Southeast Asia as An Organization

2.1 International relations of Southeast Asia

2.2 Evolution and development:

  • Malphilindo; ASA; SEATO; ASEAN
  • Why ASEAN?: Konfrontasi; major powers/national development; ethnic and power balance

2.3 ASEAN as longest regional vehicle after 42 years; Cold War during 1967-87; economic exuberance in 1987-97; APEC (1989); AFTA (1992); ARF (1994)

2.4 No War in ASEAN; just border tensions and skirmishes

2 southeast asia as an organization cont
2. Southeast Asia as An Organization (cont.)

2.5 Expansion: Brunei (1984); Vietnam (1995); Laos and Burma/Myanmar (1997); Cambodia (1999)

2.6 Miracle-Meltdown; Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) under ASEAN Plus Three (APT) from 1998

2.7 GWOT (2001-08); Second Front; Separatist insurgencies

2.8 ASEAN Charter (December 2008); legal entity; 3 pillars in APSC, AEC and ASCC; ASEAN Community by 2015

2 southeast asia as an organization cont8
2. Southeast Asia as An Organization (cont.)

2.9 Underlying dynamics of charter:

  • Maintaining relevance
  • ASEAN charter as codification of norms
  • Non-interference with democratizing principles (Article 1: 7)
  • ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICOHR); People-centered ASEAN?
  • A personal encounter
3 domestic strife and regional effects
3. Domestic strife and regional effects
  • Perennial Burma/Myanmar albatross; ASSK’s confinement; elections in 2010
  • Indonesia’s frustration
  • Vietnam’s domestic concerns
  • Cambodia’s posture
  • Singapore’s imperative
  • Malaysia’s growing polarization
  • Philippines’ constraints
  • Thailand’s nadir
3 domestic strife and regional effects cont
3. Domestic strife and regional effects (cont.)
  • Thai crisis and Thai chairmanship of ASEAN in mid 2008-09; two years for 4th East Asia Summit (EAS)
  • From Pattaya to Preah Vihear
  • Preah Vihear v. Phra Viharn
  • Hun Sen-Thaksin and Hun Sen-Abhisit
  • Thailand’s founding pillar to weakest link (ASSK’s comment and 16th summit machinations in April 2010)
3 domestic strife and regional effects cont11
3. Domestic strife and regional effects (cont.)
  • ASEAN at 42; a midlife crossroads
  • ASEAN Plus Three; China’s orbit
  • East Asian Community; Japan’s timid vision
  • East Asia Summit (ASEAN+6)
  • East Asia Summit Plus US and Russia?
  • Australia’s Asia-Pacific Community
3 domestic strife and regional effects cont12
3. Domestic strife and regional effects (cont.)
  • APEC; ARF (no PD); AFTA (largest markets still external)
  • Trends in bilateral FTAs
  • Trilateral Summit in NEAsia; Six-Party Talks (SPT) sometimes efficacious
  • ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)
  • Shangri-La Dialogue
  • Asian Six in G-20
  • An architectural search for regional order
4 premises and prospects
4. Premises and prospects
  • Centrality without performance?
  • Evolution of the “ASEAN Way”
  • Interests, institutions and identity
  • Domestic constraints on regionalism
  • Implications for the US (hub-spokes no more?)
  • Glass half-empty or half-full
  • Shallow and patchy integration (e.g. NTS) but won’t go away
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