ASEAN's (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Neighborhood,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC OFFICE OF EXTERNAL RESEARCH
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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, was for so long belittled and is now so gibly taken for granted that its dramatic meaning is often glossed over for all its flaws and institutional immaturities, ASEAN is nothing less than a revolutionary reconfiguration of Southeast Asia. Regional states have never before formed such a community, neither as premodern kingdoms and other traditional polities, nor as the Western-headed colonial states which prevailed outside Thailand until World War II. Leaders of the newly independent nation states that emerged following the war inherited attitudes of mutual suspicion and rivalry, and they behaved accordingly. Only in the past twenty years has an alternative mentality come to the fore through ASEAN. Although ASEAN has grown by fits and starts and continues to disappoint its promoters--especially where economic cooperation is concerned--its overall advantages have proved to be compellingly attractive to its members, so much so that the preservation and strengthening of the Association itself has become a primary consideration of state. The ASEAN states approach to Vietnam and the unresolved crisis of Kampuchea illustrates the role ASEAN now plays as a major regional institution. This document describes the history of ASEAN.
- Government and Political Science