A Change of Guard

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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Asean not up to expectation

Op-Ed by Warrior Blood
30th July, 2011

Re: Cambodia calls on Indonesia to send observers urgently

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established in 1967 and its current members are Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

Its purposes are:

1. To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development;

2. To promote regional peace and stability through respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;

3. To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields;

4. To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres;

5. To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilisation of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international commodity trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of their peoples;

6. To promote Southeast Asian studies; and

7. To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes, and explore all avenues for even closer cooperation among themselves.

Thus, the Cambodia-Thai border conflict is the United Nation Security Council's job rather than ASEAN's. However, the world wanted ASEAN to do more than just round table discussions. The world wants to see ASEAN plays proactive roles in finding peace among themselves in the region. The lack of experiences caused delay, lives loss, as it is an ineffective entity in solving border dispute or have the real power to enforce or penalize any ASEAN members.

ASEAN should seek assistance from the United Nation Security Council for strategies and implementation or let the UN know that it cannot solve or implementing the operations set forth instead of wasting time and lives. ASEAN is not about to give up this test tube baby yet because it will be a major embarrassment to the entire region.

Given the behavior of ASEAN communities of face-saving ideology, it will not give up or easily admit that it doesn't have the capacity do the job. This is the major set back for both Cambodia and Thailand when ASEAN doesn't recognize its own weaknesses and strengths. In order for ASEAN to be successful; ASEAN members needed to be proactive in helping Indonesia solving the issue of Cambodia-Thai border conflict. They cannot sit around and kept their mouth shut without assisting Indonesia.

Indonesia itself needed to reach out to other ASEAN members to discuss strategies how to implement the tasks given that ICJ provided them with authority to resolve the conflict and UN backed them 100% already. Indonesia should not work on this issue alone. The last meeting that ASEAN had; they didn't discuss any concrete resolution and eventually has left the Cambodia-Thai border conflict to linger.

ASEAN has no power to punish or penalize any members nor its willingness to punish its members. ASEAN doesn't want to offend any members, therefore the limbo will continue. Can ASEAN rise up to the test? Sometime, I wonder if Cambodia-Thai border conflict is important enough for all Asean members to come together to put an end to this conflict once and for all? I wonder if the killings and the shootings of Cambodian civilians is important enough for ASEAN members to act?

Sometimes I wonder if human rights violation is important enough to reach ASEAN agenda if of their members have some of the worst human right records? I wonder if UN and ICJ has set up for ASEAN to fail? Why would the world power wants to see another Soviet bloc established? It is vital that ASEAN built its credibility in solving Cambodia-Thai border conflict. Is Cambodia is willing to be a guinea pig any longer for the ASEAN's learning curve? It is frustrating and scary when you come to see doctor for brain surgery and you got the intern operating on your brain instead. This is what is happening in the quest for a resolution to the Cambodian-Thai conflict.

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