Regionalism and Southeast Asia
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Regionalism and Southeast Asia chapter
Mathew Davies, ‘Regionalism and Southeast Asia’, in Alice D. Ba and Mark Beeson, eds, Contemporary Southeast Asia: The Politics of Change, Contestation, and Adaptation, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 146-63.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN has been acclaimed by some as a vehicle for securing regional peace and security, and by others as completely irrelevant, characterised by meaningless commitments that are ignored by its members. The purpose of this chapter is not to take sides in this debate, but to equip the reader with the necessary information to make up their own minds about the nature and value of ASEAN in Southeast Asia. An appreciation of the context in which certain decisions were thought to be appropriate solutions at the time will aid the reader in distinguishing between criticising ASEAN on the basis of what it can do, what it was designed to do, and what we may wish it to do.