Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Four Grand Scenarios of ASEAN

ASEAN Foreign Ministers posed for picture with ASEAN way style. Photo credit: Reuters 

Although recent years have seen a rise in new regional architecture which has ASEAN as the fulcrum, it is still uncertain that this regional organization could remain in the driver seat of East Asian Regionalism without certain annual effort to ensure its centrality. Where is ASEAN going right now?  In 2012, there were many problems pressured on Cambodia, ASEAN Chair. In contrast, Brunei, as Chair this year, seems to get helm of ASEAN very smoothly without much pressure while the influx of issues is still the same as in 2012 such as the South China Sea dispute, Sabah conflict in Northern Part of Malaysia, ethnic violence in Myanmar, trans-boundary haze problem in Singapore and Malaysia, and Indonesia, and so on. It seems that ASEAN has double standards among its own member states. Perhaps, ASEAN countries have learned a lot from a hard lesson in 2012 when the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting ended without a joint communiqué. That is why ASEAN has chosen to be quiet so far. Southeast Asia is a dynamic region with the evolving geopolitical landscape with the rise of China, and the United States’ strategic rebalancing. Four scenarios are worth considering for ASEAN: