South East Asia has enjoyed relative peace since the end of US involvement in Vietnam two decades ago. Border disputes have been largely controlled, with governments maintaining a neutral zone through the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has been hailed as a model regional pact.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), long regarded as a powerful regional pact that served as an independent voice for the region, ceased to be so on November 5 when its leaders caved in to western pressure.
The thinly veiled reference by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammed, to the alleged role of George Soros in the precipitate fall of currencies in the ASEAN region belies a desperation which is beginning to grip the erstwhile over confident leaders of the emerging economies of the Far East.
The brutal manner in which Muslims are being treated in Myanmar (Burma) is no bar to the junta’s ambition to join ASEAN, the grouping of South East Asian Nations.