Can Multilateralism and Security Communities Bring Security to the Asia-Pacific?

Author/s (editor/s):

Mathew Davies

Publication year:


Publication type:

Book chapter

Mathew Davies, ‘Can Multilateralism and Security Communities Bring Security to the Asia-Pacific?’ in Joanne Wallis and Andrew Carr, eds, Asia-Pacific Security: An Introduction, Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2016, pp. 223-39.

This chapter introduces both the academic debate about multilateralism and the reality of multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, distinguishing between different types of multilateral cooperation, including the idea of a security community. The chapter first investigates how different theories of international relations explain multilateralism, and it then looks at four key examples of multilateralism: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN+3 process, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the East Asia Summit (EAS). These examples of multilateralism are characterised by similar shortcomings: a lack of substantive output, the unresolved question of the right size, a lack of leadership, and the role of sovereignty. The chapter closes by considering how increasing US attention to Asia- Pacific multilateralism will lead to both a greater demand for multilateral cooperation and a greater tension about the size, shape and purpose of this cooperation.

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