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.”


One thought on “Prospects for Keeping the Peace in Southeast Asia

  1. Juan Manuel López Nadal

    Yes, I agree. We must give ASEAN a chance. Times of turmoil and confronted nationalism are in the making in East Asia. ASEAN can and must play a role to assuage these tensions and promote regional cooperation and integration, as it has been doing.
    For this purpose a basic condition for ASEAN is to remain united and cohesive. Cambodia’s last chairmanship was appalling, as Phnom Penh was ready to play China’s trojan horse role in ASEAN. Inter- ASEAN solidarity is a must for its survival and for its aim of keeping a central role in the processes of wider East Asia / Asia- Pacific integration.


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