Monthly Archives: December 2012

Prospects for Keeping the Peace in Southeast Asia

Read this report on the recent ASEAN summit by Jim Della-Giacoma of the International Crisis Group. “To its critics, ASEAN’s commitments to the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy, rule of law, and good governance are nothing but a dream,” Della-Giacoma writes. “But for [outgoing ASEAN Secretary-General]  Surin [Pitsuwan of Thailand] and [Indonesian Foreign Minister] Marty [Natalegawa], it is more a case of from little things big things grow. To ignore the flawed institutions, they say, is to guarantee they will never be all that they can be. The association needs to be challenged, pushed, and cajoled from inside and out. To these two boosters, the imperfect organisation they have served or nurtured needs to be given a chance – again and again. Their message is that the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights and the ASEAN Institute of Peace and Reconciliation are the last pieces of a complicated regional peace and security puzzle. It is all we’ve got and it is all we’re getting. Let’s now try to make it work.”

Looking to Japan

Philippine officials are saying that they are looking to Japan as a counterbalance to a more assertive China, especially as territorial disputes with Beijing roil the South China Sea. Read this Reuters report. Is a balance-of-power arrangement emerging in East Asia? Could a “mini Cold War” emerge, possibly leading to conflict and tensions within ASEAN?