Regionalism and the Defense of Southeast Asia: An Analysis of ASEAN's Potential to Assume a Security Dimension.
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The basic question is whether or not the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN has the potential to become a viable defense alliance. This paper presents an historical view of regionalism in Southeast Asia, a search for the opportunities and challenges facing ASEAN, an examination of the security threats to the ASEAN states and an assessment of the influence of external powers in the region. The history of regionalism in Southeast Asia has been marked by a series of unsuccessful attempts to achieve regional cohesion in an area which is characterized by diversity and discord. While ASEAN has been far more successful than other regional organizations, its success has been largely confined to public diplomacy and cultural interchange. Beneath the surface, economic cooperation among the ASEAN states have been limited and potential areas of conflict remain unresolved. The ASEANS states oppose Vietnams occupation of Kampuchea and the growth of Soviet influence in the region, however, individual ASEAN states do not share a common perception of the long term external threat to the region. ASEAN lacks the political unity and collective defensive strength to become a viable, independent alliance. Under the circumstances. the ASEAN states can best protect their territorial, political and economic interests by continuing to increase interregional defense cooperation while maintaining existing bilateral defense relationships with the United States and expanding defense cooperation with other free world Asian nations.
- Humanities and History