Weak states' regionalism : ASEAN and the limits of security cooperation in Pacific Asia
Title: Weak states' regionalism : ASEAN and the limits of security cooperation in Pacific Asia
Citation: International relations of the Asia-Pacific, 2015, OnlineFirst
ISSN: 1470-482X; 1470-4838
Since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expanded its institutional outreach to span the broader Asia Pacific and new policy areas, a dominant orthodoxy has placed the organization at the center of the region's international order. More recently, uncertainty in the context of China's rise sheds doubt on ASEAN's apparent centrality to its procedurally driven transformation of foreign relations across East Asia. While theories of cooperation explain why and when minor powers choose to pool their resources, the reverse logic has hardly been considered. This paper shows that the particular type of ASEAN regionalism is not only a product of weak states' cooperation but that the lack of capacity also sets the limits for the regional project. Two case studies on intramural security elicit the limited effectiveness of ASEAN's endeavor to develop into a security community. Meanwhile, as an examination of the South China Sea dispute demonstrates, its attempt to export its norms has rendered it vulnerable to the intervention of more powerful actors and increasingly side-lined by the evolution of great power rivalry.
First published online: 28 July 2015
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