Asean in Transformation

A gathering of small and medium countries, and wanted to be left alone, in peace, to develop their own economies and the lives of their people. That was what Asean used to be, avoiding big power conflicts and staying away from becoming proxies in big power rivalries. That was how ZOPFAN, zone and peace, freedom and neutrality came about. Today, Asean has grown bigger, economically, structurally and militarily. It starts to have wild ambitions, to start bickering with each other’s internal affairs and to challenge bigger powers, and ganging up with big powers to achieve its aims. Consciously or unconsciously, it has accepted the US as the de facto leader of Asean, doing away with its neutral status. Non alignment is no longer its mission. During its days of neutrality, Asean was able to grow peacefully, and also stayed out of big power conflicts. Today, it is inviting big power rivalry into the organization. It courts big power influence and protection to compete with other big powers. For that, it is willing to surrender its own leadership to a big power and become subservient or proxy states of big powers. Would this transformation of Asean lead the region into a state of turmoil and warfare? Has Asean really believe that engaging in big power politics and struggle of power and influence a desired development for the small and medium states? Has Asean grown a head that is too big for itself and wanted to play a bigger role in international affairs which it thinks it deserves? While Asean is being seduced by big power attention and bathing in the limelight, let Asean not forgotten what happened in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Dancing with the big bad wolf has a disastrous price to pay.


Wally Buffet said...

Asean is playing chess with the US and China as pawns.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

There are two dangerous elements in Asean. Used to be three, but the pinoys have wisen up and lessen their provocation with China after distancing themselves from the Americano.

Now there is Vietnam, still very sore after being taught a bloody lesson and now dare not attempt anymore border provocation on its own. But it is harbouring to avenge that bloody nose and hoping that with the Americans, they could do better.

Then there is the new ego tripper who wants to be in the big league and thinks that being wined and dined in the White House is a coming of age, they have arrived. If not careful the country will be another Pakistan with the radicals running wild and burning down anything related to the infidels.

Anonymous said...

Every step now revolving around Asean is fixated on containing China, now that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are firmly initiated into the plan.

The Banana Republic of America is playing the savior role, on the surface at present, towards the Asean states, but behind that it is stirring up resentment towards China worldwide. Any impending conflict means there will be more arms sales which is good for the economy of BRA. That is the only manufactured product that they can export competitively besides garbage.

If they really managed to convince the two biggest Muslim countries in Asean to join their crusade, it does not bode well for Asean and Asia.

And if radicals do run wild in these two Muslim countries, it is the perfect answer to their dreams of gaining a foothold again in Asean to keep the peace as they have done in the Middle East, provided they still have the financial capabilities to do so.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Agreed. Everywhere the Americans go, they start fire to make themselves indispensable, and to sell arms.

Indonesia and Malaysia could be silly enough and be turned into two hotspots. The extremists in their countries will run amok when their leaders went sleeping with the world's number one infidel and muslim murderer.

The more dangerous one is Vietnam. This one is pretending to be quiet after the bloody nose. But behind the scene they are playing with fire. And the Americans love that.

Japan and South Korea are semi colonies of the US and would just end up as proxies. Japan may think that it is calling the shot and wanted to act like samurais. They did not know that the world has changed.

Taiwan will not gang up with the Americans to fight China. The verbal warfare is just that. Today, no Chinese will fight Chinese again, except those in the red dot. The latter think that they are white and China stinks. Ok, not all redbeans think this way: )

Anonymous said...

Again, Redbean is overly concerned with the US foray into this region.
Each individual Asean Member has their own internal problems and most problems have led to the incumbent regimes in them to suck up to the US.
But it must be said that the Indonesian and Malaysian people will not be comfortable with their leaders having good or even just cordial relations. Leaders of these two countries are just as aware that getting close to the US will plunge their nations into turmoils.
For self preservations, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Japan and Korea may suck up to the US. However, that shall depend on who are running these countries. In every of these countries, there are factions that prefer China and Russia as allies rather than US and its' sisters-in-arms.
Due to factions within their own countries with opposing preferences, alliances with either China or US is not going to be discrete choices. Too close a political link with anyone of the two or three(USSR) may aggravate existing internal problems.
No wise leasdersip in Asean would want a full alliance with either China or US. They will make adjustments in the relationships with the superpowers more to suit their situations. Shall we say that they have to play along.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Asean was gaining importance and stature as a neutral grouping of countries. Once it becomes embroiled in big power bickering, and worst, allows itself to become pawns in the chess board, it will end up in a mess.

It is better for Asean to return to its original mission set by its founding fathers then to court attention and trouble.

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