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ASEAN's Half Century

A Political History of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Donald E. Weatherbee



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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
15 May 2019
History; Asian history; International relations
This authoritative book provides a comprehensive political history of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ten members of which are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Leading scholar Donald E. Weatherbee follows ASEAN from its inception in 1967, when it was founded with the goal of promoting peace, stability, security, and economic growth in the region. Throughout, a basic assumption of its leaders has been that the achievement of the first three conditions is necessary for the fourth. Weatherbee traces ASEAN's three reinventions: in 1976, it made security a primary Cold War interest; in 1992, it refocused on economic integration; in 2007, it adopted the ASEAN Charter, which was the legal basis for the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015. He shows how at each stage of its development, ASEAN has dealt at three levels of action: the regional international order; intra-ASEAN relations; and the spillover of the domestic politics of member states into regional relations, particularly on questions of democracy and human rights. ASEAN's greatest contemporary political challenge is in adapting to the regional impact of the US-China rivalry, particularly over South China Sea issues. For ASEAN to maintain its claim to centrality as a driving force in the regional security architecture, the author argues, a fourth reinvention may be required. Dispelling the myths surrounding the organization's achievements fifty years after its founding, this book will be invaluable for all readers interested in ASEAN's role in the broader Asia-Pacific region.
By:   Donald E. Weatherbee
Imprint:   Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 157mm,  Spine: 16mm
Weight:   399g
ISBN:   9781442272521
ISBN 10:   144227252X
Pages:   296
Publication Date:   15 May 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Donald E. Weatherbee is the Donald S. Russell Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina.

Reviews for ASEAN's Half Century: A Political History of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Don Weatherbee is a renowned analyst of Southeast Asian politics, and his latest book, ASEAN's Half Century, further burnishes his already splendid reputation. Weatherbee analyzes both the intramural dynamics of the ASEAN region and its complicated relations with the great powers. Highly recommended. -- Sheldon Simon, Arizona State University Veteran Southeast Asian expert Don Weatherbee has produced an empirically rich, analytically insightful assessment of ASEAN's first fifty years. It provides a clear-eyed accounting of the association's past achievements and future challenges that will be required reading for anyone interested in ASEAN. -- Ann Marie Murphy, Seton Hall University Written by one of the preeminent authorities on Southeast Asian affairs, ASEAN's Half Century represents perhaps the most comprehensive and clearly presented account of that organization's politico-security evolution and challenges. Weatherbee pinpoints and analyzes in great depth key benchmarks for ASEAN's `reinvention' or adaptivity at critical historical intervals to preserve its politico-strategic relevance in the region, and he documents this process with highly informative case studies. The author advances a sober and highly credible central argument: while this institution's history and durability is commendable, its quest to become a viable regional security community has been clearly frustrated by both intraregional differences and external players' resistance to genuine ASEAN centrality. After fifty years of existence, ASEAN has now reached a historic crossroads, facing deep-seated-even existential-challenges to its future viability. This is required reading for any observer interested in Southeast Asian politics and, more generally, international security and diplomacy. -- William Tow, Australian National University

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