In an era of growing cultural pessimism, many thoughtful individuals believe that different civilisations—especially Islam and the West—cannot live together in peace. The ten countries of ASEAN provide a thriving counter-example of civilizational co-existence. Here 625m people live together in peace. This miracle was delivered by ASEAN.
In an era of growing economic pessimism, where many young people believe that their lives will get worse in coming decades, Southeast Asia bubbles with optimism. In an era where many thinkers predict rising geopolitical competition and tension, ASEAN regularly brings together all the world’s great powers.
Stories of peace are told less frequently than stories of conflict and war. ASEAN’s imperfections make better headlines than its achievements. But in the hands of thinker and writer Kishore Mahbubani, the good news story is also a provocation and a challenge to the rest of the world.
This excellent book explains, in clear and simple terms, how and why ASEAN has become one of the most successful regional organizations in the world. - George Yeo
A powerful and passionate account of how, against all odds, ASEAN transformed the region and why Asia and the world need it even more today. - Amitav Acharya
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About the Author
Kishore Mahbubani is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and author of The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East.
Jeffery Sng is a writer and former diplomat based in Bangkok, co-author of A History of the Thai-Chinese.
Table of Contents
1 The Four Waves 15
The Indian Wave 18
The Chinese Wave 25
The Muslim Wave 29
The Western Wave 35
2 The ASEAN Ecosystem of Peace 48
First Factor: The Fear of Communism 51
Second Factor: The Role of Strong Leaders 59
Third Factor: Geopolitical Luck 65
Fourth Factor: Market-Oriented Economic Policies 68
Fifth Factor: ASEAN-Based Regional Networks 74
3 ASEAN and the Great Powers 76
ASEAN and America 82
ASEAN and China 97
ASEAN and the EU 112
ASEAN and India 121
ASEAN and Japan 127
4 Pen Sketches 137
The Philippines 159
5 ASEAN: Strengths and Weaknesses 177
6 ASEAN's Peace Prize 207
Three Bold Recommendations 221