ASEAN at 46: Security Competition, Security Regime or Security Community?

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Er-Win Tan

Abstract

Since its founding, there has been significant debate over the extent to which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has succeeded in institutionalising reciprocal security cooperation in Southeast Asia. A review of the academic literature on the security dilemma, focussing on security regimes and security communities as sources of order in international politics, helps to frame a yardstick upon which the achievements of ASEAN may be assessed. In this regard, whilst ASEAN has not yet evolved into a security community, it may be argued that the association may be seen as a qualified success in promoting a security regime insofar as the norms of sovereignty are concerned. At the same time, however, the emergence of non-traditional security issues alongside the four new members of ASEAN highlight the need to expand the scope of the existing ASEAN security regime to encompass an expanded agenda for long-term security cooperation in the regime.

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