ASEAN in a Globalizing World
In the early 1990s, ASEAN emerged from the Cold War as a confident regional organization. With the accession of Cambodia, it seemed to be fulfilling the aspirations of its founding fathers to expand membership to include all ten Southeast Asian countries. Since the Asian financial crisis of 1997, however, ASEAN's self-confidence has been dealt a severe blow and it faces unprecedented challenges to its current status and future prospects. In the following article, former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, examines the various issues facing ASEAN today, including the impact of the Asian crisis; the ramifications of socioeconomic and political crises in the affected ASEAN countries; the implications of the rapid and fundamental changes in the international and regional economic, political and security environment; and the enlargement of ASEAN membership. Despite questions over ASEAN's future role, Alatas asserts his belief in the continuing relevance of this regional forum to contribute to regional stability.