Managing Peace and Security in Southeast Asia:Does ASEAN have the Political Will?

Title: Managing Peace and Security in Southeast Asia:Does ASEAN have the Political Will?
Authors: Mathies, Cassandra Elizabeth
Date: 2013-09-09
Abstract: In a global system increasingly faced with non-traditional security threats, this paper will argue that, given its inability to effectively mitigate the situation of the Rohingya in Western Myanmar, ASEAN displays a lack of political will to manage peace and security in Southeast Asia. In order to argue that ASEAN does not yet have the political will to effectively maintain peace and security in light of the challenges Southeast Asia is facing in the 21st Century, this paper will address the changing definition of effectiveness in the maintenance of international peace and security. This includes the advent of so called „new wars‟ comprised of transnational, non-traditional threats, and the changing norm of state responsibility in addressing these threats. ASEAN‟s development as the regional governing body with a mandate for peace and security in Southeast Asia will be examined through the creation of the ASEAN Charter and aspirations toward the ASEAN Community. Analysis of ASEAN‟s political will to address non-traditional peace and security threats will be based on its willingness to adopt international norms of state responsibility towards peace and security, and to hold its members to account in this responsibility. This analysis will include a focus on ASEAN‟s institutional mechanisms, developmental challenges, and the non-traditional threats facing the region. Finally, ASEAN‟s ability to transcend its‟ traditional approach to conflict within ASEAN member states will be viewed through the case study of how the regional body is not responding in an effective manner to the Rohingya in western Myanmar. ASEAN‟s political will to respond to threats to regional stability, such as Myanmar‟s inaction over the Rohingya, is important in that the response to international threats is becoming increasingly left to regional groups as the UN system contends with limited resources, effectively putting ASEAN under the international microscope as it must prove itself capable of responding. If ASEAN is unable to prove its ability to transcend negotiation and non-interference based conflict resolution, than a region of the world weary of outside intervention may find the international community at their door to neutralize threats that could spill over into other regions. Given developments within ASEAN, and the prominence of „ASEAN Way‟ norms of conflict prevention and non-intervention, ASEAN‟s ability to move beyond rhetoric and negotiation towards effective action on issues of peace and security in Southeast Asia seems unlikely.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers