ASEAN and its role in border disputes among members

The ASEAN Organization

(Photo: Bernard Oh/Flickr/CC BY-ND)

The structural alterations brought about by the end of the Cold War have renewed attention on regionalism and a reconsideration of the role of regional security organizations in supporting international peace and security. A number of factors account for this new enthusiasm. Among them is the fact that in the post-Cold War era, regional relations have expanded and regional areas have become substantially more important venues of conflict and cooperation than in the past.

The role of ASEAN

The United Nation’s capacity to undertake additional responsibilities has become more complex, though the will of its dominant members had often been weak. This leads us to the idea that there is increased reliance on regional blocs to deal with small scale disputes. Given this context, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has, in fact, a vital role in containing, resolving and preventing conflicts in its sphere of influence, most especially with regard to its members.

Growing need to intervene

There is the growing need to intervene before simmering problems such as territorial disputes erupt into full-blown crises. However, this stance of being more inclined to intervene might change the politics of the ASEAN radically. This change, if it has an effect, would be the breakdown of the traditional ASEAN way of handling disputes informally. But will the conflict management process change as well?

The ASEAN way has been criticized for being ineffective and nothing more than a reason for the leaders to play golf and avoid regional criticism. Intervention and openly engaging in this sort of disputes resolution would make things more complicated for the ASEAN. On the other hand, if it does nothing, then it is nothing short of a “chit-chat club.” In fact, we have heard arguments for the disbandment of the ASEAN. It is said to be expensive and that it diverts attention from the proper efforts of members’ governments on the pursuit of national interest. Expenses are growing for many worldwide; it seems necessary to cut out unneeded expenses. The common people have been taking on more work, selling personal property, and taking out bad credit ok payday loans and bad credit ok cash advances.

Members often disagree with one another

ASEAN members frequently disagree with one another on important international relations issues, like the war in Iraq and regional economic issues regarding labor laws, so the idea that it helps present a “united front” is incorrect. Its institutions include surprisingly high costs. On the other hand, it is contended that ASEAN fosters regional unity, partnership and understanding among its members. If the latter idea is to hold water, then it has to find some way to resolve territorial disputes, ensure that they are contained and do not spread and that future similar disputes are prevented.

Border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia

Currently there is the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia. ASEAN stands on hopes that there would be a peaceful resolution to it. However, what is it prepared to do if it escalates? The ASEAN certainly has a difficult mandate: Maintaining peace and prosperity among many different nations sometimes with only geographic proximity in common. After all, if ASEAN were to step in and try to resolve something like the most recent Thai-Cambodian standoff, it may risk angering both countries, which could result in them leaving the organization.


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