The wide kaleidoscope of ASEAN politics

Reading Time: 2 minutes
ASEAN leaders
ASEAN leaders

Asia has long been known by those familiar with the landscape as a bastion of protean politics set in the backdrop of curiously engaging economic prospects. Sporadic outbursts of conflict and vitriolic rhetoric exist in perplexing contrast to the region’s economic success story, an unparalleled event in history that could bring 3 billion Asians to affluent status by 2050, according to studies by the Asian Development Bank.

By Justin Calderon

Yet despite decades-old grudges, persistent attempts of vivisection by China and derision by Western media, ASEAN, the 10-nation group of Southeast Asia nations, has mustered credibility by keeping conduits of communication open and breeding macroeconomic stability through select models of governance bred of national purpose.

“I think you see more discussions and cooperation within the ASEAN community that in other regions,” Anoop Singh, director of the Asia-Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund said at the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum held on March 12 in Manila.

“If you see how often they [the members of ASEAN] meet, there is a lot of going on and there is spirit of conversation and discussion,” Singh observed.

This comfortable view, however, stands contrary to the opinions of many commentators of the media that ASEAN is prone to bickering and slowly being sectioned off by the strong arming of Beijing, which prefers bilateral dialogues with individual members of ASEAN over that of multilateral discussions.

Additionally, the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community is rapidly approaching with many strings left untied, including compromises to be made on free trade, to say the least.

But wait. Let’s not be fooled. Global governance in a democratic world is a chimera and the disparate nature of ASEAN is inherently going to make conciliatory measures tough, a task not unfamiliar to the vaudeville being seen today in Washington.

Yet within the chaos, there are patterns that good governance is emerging, with select members of ASEAN leading the bloc by example while others falter.

Aquinomics, the political ideology of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, has rebuilt the confidence of domestic and foreign investors with its principles of good governance and anti-corruption, CEO Manuel Pangilinana of Philippine investment group First Pacific has said.

“This policy has created a huge positive response both on the domestic and international front,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s normal reputation as a hotbed of instability and political tension seems to have become turned on its head.

“With [Prime Minister] Yingluck Shinawatra, there has been a bridge to the gap in the political parties,” Executive Director of Asia Economic Research at JP Morgan Matt Hildebrandt said, quickly switching tunes to Indonesia, which is now becoming an example of how apparent reforms can quickly backpedal.

“Indonesia has been the most surprising and not in a good way,” Hildebrandt continued.

“The reform process has really died down and now the new political cycle is creating uncertainty.”

And there is the rub. For ASEAN and indeed all the members experiencing a period of governance that is aimed at promoting growth, the institutionalisation of reforms remains paramount to the perpetuity of their respective economic success stories.

“The best way to ensure sustainability is to go beyond personalities, embed reforms and change people’s expectations,” Philippine Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima said at the forum.

Realising ASEAN for what it is, its unparalleled potential in the global economy and the emerging models of good governance in play, paints a colourful scene observers should really pay more attention to.

 

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ASEAN leaders

Asia has long been known by those familiar with the landscape as a bastion of protean politics set in the backdrop of curiously engaging economic prospects. Sporadic outbursts of conflict and vitriolic rhetoric exist in perplexing contrast to the region’s economic success story, an unparalleled event in history that could bring 3 billion Asians to affluent status by 2050, according to studies by the Asian Development Bank.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ASEAN leaders
ASEAN leaders

Asia has long been known by those familiar with the landscape as a bastion of protean politics set in the backdrop of curiously engaging economic prospects. Sporadic outbursts of conflict and vitriolic rhetoric exist in perplexing contrast to the region’s economic success story, an unparalleled event in history that could bring 3 billion Asians to affluent status by 2050, according to studies by the Asian Development Bank.

By Justin Calderon

Yet despite decades-old grudges, persistent attempts of vivisection by China and derision by Western media, ASEAN, the 10-nation group of Southeast Asia nations, has mustered credibility by keeping conduits of communication open and breeding macroeconomic stability through select models of governance bred of national purpose.

“I think you see more discussions and cooperation within the ASEAN community that in other regions,” Anoop Singh, director of the Asia-Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund said at the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum held on March 12 in Manila.

“If you see how often they [the members of ASEAN] meet, there is a lot of going on and there is spirit of conversation and discussion,” Singh observed.

This comfortable view, however, stands contrary to the opinions of many commentators of the media that ASEAN is prone to bickering and slowly being sectioned off by the strong arming of Beijing, which prefers bilateral dialogues with individual members of ASEAN over that of multilateral discussions.

Additionally, the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community is rapidly approaching with many strings left untied, including compromises to be made on free trade, to say the least.

But wait. Let’s not be fooled. Global governance in a democratic world is a chimera and the disparate nature of ASEAN is inherently going to make conciliatory measures tough, a task not unfamiliar to the vaudeville being seen today in Washington.

Yet within the chaos, there are patterns that good governance is emerging, with select members of ASEAN leading the bloc by example while others falter.

Aquinomics, the political ideology of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, has rebuilt the confidence of domestic and foreign investors with its principles of good governance and anti-corruption, CEO Manuel Pangilinana of Philippine investment group First Pacific has said.

“This policy has created a huge positive response both on the domestic and international front,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s normal reputation as a hotbed of instability and political tension seems to have become turned on its head.

“With [Prime Minister] Yingluck Shinawatra, there has been a bridge to the gap in the political parties,” Executive Director of Asia Economic Research at JP Morgan Matt Hildebrandt said, quickly switching tunes to Indonesia, which is now becoming an example of how apparent reforms can quickly backpedal.

“Indonesia has been the most surprising and not in a good way,” Hildebrandt continued.

“The reform process has really died down and now the new political cycle is creating uncertainty.”

And there is the rub. For ASEAN and indeed all the members experiencing a period of governance that is aimed at promoting growth, the institutionalisation of reforms remains paramount to the perpetuity of their respective economic success stories.

“The best way to ensure sustainability is to go beyond personalities, embed reforms and change people’s expectations,” Philippine Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima said at the forum.

Realising ASEAN for what it is, its unparalleled potential in the global economy and the emerging models of good governance in play, paints a colourful scene observers should really pay more attention to.

 

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid