Conflicting Priorities? Security and Democracy as Challenges to Regionalism in Southeast Asia



Donald K. Emmerson, Shorenstein APARC, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Mely Caballero Anthony, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
Termsak Chalermpalanupap, ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia
Joern Dosch, University of Leeds
Kyaw Yin Hlaing, National University of Singapore
Brian Job, University of British Columbia
David Jones, University of Queensland
Erik Kuhonta, Department of Political Science, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Michael Malley, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey
Rizal Sukma, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta
Simon SC Tay, Singapore Institute of International Affairs
Dionisio da Costa Babo Soares, Timor Leste, Indonesia

Date and Time

May 22, 2007 12:00 AM
May 23, 2007 12:00 AM


By Invitation Only.


Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room

FSI Contact

Neeley Main

Security has been a priority for regionalism in Southeast Asia since well before ASEAN's inception in 1967. Democracy has not. But as Southeast Asia has become at least formally more democratic, some members of the Association have begun to question its original commitment to respecting the national sovereignty of its members and not criticizing abuses within their borders. The stage is now set for a reconsideration of democracy as a legitimate regional concern.

There are at least three (non-mutually-exclusive) ways in which democracy could become a higher priority for ASEAN: (i) instrumentally, if regional elites are sufficiently convinced that a lack of democracy inside a given country makes the larger region insecure; (ii) normatively, to the extent that these elites value transparency, accountability, and the protection of rights and freedoms as regional ends in and of themselves; and (iii) externally, to the extent that such elites are subjected to pressures from domestic and/or foreign actors to make democracy a regional priority.

This conference, and the subsequent volume, will review and assess these possibilities with particular reference to how democracy may be related to security in Southeast Asia. If security is a benefit of democracy, the instrumental case is made. Normatively, security can be enlarged to incorporate democracy as a matter of "human security," to cite an increasingly popular concept. Security-democracy linkages can also be drawn by external actors with democratizing agendas -- governments outside the region as well as activists inside it.

How do security and democracy interact in Southeast Asia? Can and should democracy become a regional priority in Southeast Asia? Why, or why not, to what extent, and with what policy implications -- and recommendations? These are the core questions that the conference and the book will try to answer.

Conference cosponsor: Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University.

Event Materials