In Search of a Just Regional Order in Southeast Asia | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


The paper explores the historical quest of Southeast Asian states for a desired regional order. While the colonial period interrupted the original trajectory of local polities’ development, colonial political, economic and social experience made it virtually impossible to get back to that trajectory after decolonization. As a result, Southeast Asian states had to adapt themselves to the matrix of national borders emerged in the region after decolonization. They also had to search for the ways to enhance their international capabilities. ASEAN became instrumental in this regard. Taken together, the experience of collective action and necessity to survive as relatively weak political entities brought Southeast Asian states to the vision of regional order, which is inclusive, economy-centered and based on the international law. However, the practical implementation of this vision in the first decade of this century still proves to be problematic due to the challenges emanating from contending versions of the regional order, advanced primarily by China and the USA.


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