The Indonesian Way: ASEAN, Europeanization, and Foreign Policy Debates in a New Democracy.

AuthorAnwar, Dewi Fortuna
PositionBook review

The Indonesian Way: ASEAN, Europeanization, and Foreign Policy Debates in a New Democracy. By Jurgen Ruland. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Hard cover: 2gOpp.

For the first four decades of its existence, while openly acknowledging that it has looked to Europe as an inspiration, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has not tried to model its regional cooperation on Western European regional integration. Unlike the supranational European Union (EU), with its binding constitution, laws, a vast and powerful central bureaucracy, a European parliament and judiciary that are all intended to enmesh the member states in a regional union marked by diminished national sovereignties, ASEAN has taken a very different route to regional integration. ASEAN was initially designed as a loose and minimalist regional association to promote good neighbourly relations so that each member-state -most of whom had only recently achieved independence--could devote themselves to internal development and strengthen their national resilience, which in turn would contribute to regional resilience. Surrendering parts of their national sovereignties to a supranational regional body was never part of the ASEAN members' plan, though national and regional resilience is conceived to be mutually reinforcing, ensuring the strategic autonomy of the region from the machinations of major external powers.

The 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis, which started in Thailand and quickly spread to several countries in the region, with Indonesia suffering the worst effects, led to fundamental changes in Indonesian national politics as well the development of ASEAN. The collapse of President Suharto's New Order authoritarian rule after more than three decades in power was followed by a transition to democracy. This momentous development in ASEAN's largest member coincided with a collective realization by all the memberstates of the inadequacy of the existing ASEAN structure and ways of doing business in dealing with the myriad geopolitical and transnational challenges facing Southeast Asia. A decision was taken in 2003 to establish an ASEAN Community and promulgate an ASEAN Charter in 2007 that would transform ASEAN into a more integrated and efficient regional organization, capable of taking decisive collective action. Nevertheless, while looking to the EU as an inspiration and lately also as a model, it would be quite inconceivable to believe that there would...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT