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THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF ASIAN RESEARCH NBR ANALYSIS VOLUME 13, NUMBER 4, JULY 2002 Managing Security Challenges in SoutheastAsia Essays by Sheldon W. Simon TheASEAN Regional Forum Views the Councils for Security Cooperation in theAsia Pacific: How Track II Assists Track I SoutheastAsia and the U.S. War on Terrorism [This page intentionally left blank.] 3 Foreword ThedifferencesandlingeringsuspicionsamongthestatesoftheAssociationofSoutheast Asian Nations (ASEAN) make cooperative approaches to security in the region difficult. Facedwithamyriadofdestabilizingfactors,includingeconomicdifficulties,indigenousradical Muslim groups, communal violence, and drug and arms trafficking, the SoutheastAsian states must find effective ways to manage security concerns. In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, SoutheastAsia has become a “second front” in the war on terrorism, and multilateral coordination among theASEAN states, and throughout theAsia Pacific more broadly, will be essential to maintaining peace and stability in the region. In this issue of the NBR Analysis, Sheldon W. Simon, professor of political science atArizona State University and director of NBR’s SoutheastAsia Program, explores the official and unofficial efforts among theASEAN states to address security challenges in the region. In his first article, Dr. Simon examinesTrack II diplomacy and the relationship between theASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Councils for Security Cooperation in theAsia Pacific (CSCAP). Emerging from the alliances of the Cold War, the ARF and CSCAP, the ARF’s Track II counterpart, were created to encourage transparency and confidence-building on nonmilitary security matters, such as transnational crime, environmental hazards, and illegal migration, and to develop links among the SoutheastAsian states and the countries of NortheastAsia and the United States. Although China and the United States were initially wary of joining such multilateral security dialogues for fear of compromising national sovereignty and traditional bilateral ties, the ARF has grown into the world’s most complicated securityforumandCSCAPconstitutesthebroadestTrackIIsecurityorganizationintheworld. Because the CSCAP delegations are future-oriented and less involved in immediate security concerns, Dr. Simon argues, their work is often considered of lower priority by governmentofficialswhoaremoreconcernedwithprotectingsovereigntythan“solvinginternationalproblemsthroughcooperativesecurity .” Nevertheless,ininterviewsconductedwith leaders ofASEAN states, Dr. Simon discovered that government officials were remarkably positive about interactions with CSCAP delegations and spoke favorably about CSCAP’s abilitytoallaysuspicionsamongneighbors,assistpreventivediplomacybythinkingaheadof theARF,andsuggestnewwaysofconceptualizingandresolvingregionalsecurityissues.Dr. Simon concludes that if the ARF and CSCAP are to continue as (or, as some would argue, become)significantorganizationsinmanagingAsiansecurity,allthemembersmustacceptthat 259 Asia’s future is integrated among the subregions of the Northeast, Southeast, and South, modifythenoninterferencenorm,andadoptconsensus-baseddecision-making. In his second article, Dr. Simon addresses Southeast Asia’s response to the war on terrorism,includingtheprospectsformultilateralcooperation.Mostregionalleaderscondemn the September 11 attacks on the United States, but, due to their politically significant domestic Muslimpopulations,theycautionthatWashingtonnottargetIslamgenerally.Atthesametime, several regional leaders are seizing upon terrorism to weaken opposition groups challenging their regimes.According to Dr. Simon, the region’s terrorist groups are primarily indigenous and do not currently have the ability or resources to extend their operations beyond Southeast Asia, much less into the United States. Of particular concern, however, are the explicit and implicit ties toAl Qaeda that have developed throughout SoutheastAsia and the cross-border communicationamongradicalterroristcells.AlargenumberofSoutheastAsianMuslimshave trained under hard-line Islamic teachers in Pakistan andAfghanistan. In addition,Al Qaeda members have made regular visits to SoutheastAsia—particularly Indonesia—over the past decade and have probably developed financial ties with radical Islamic groups in the region. To date, however, most Muslim militancy in SoutheastAsia is focused on local issues. Dr. Simon identifies multilateral cooperation as the key to disrupting the ties among the region’s terrorist cells and, over the longer term, changing the political, social, and economic conditions that breed terrorists in the region. Although ASEAN has made modest moves toward regional anti-terrorist cooperation, most efforts have taken place on a bilateral basis— especially with the United States. For now, U.S. military presence in the region is welcome for the enhanced security it brings, and also for the accompanying economic assistance and infrastructure development. Moreover, the United States is enhancing collaborative security in the region through initiatives like the Cobra Gold joint military exercises involving Thailand, Singapore, and the United States, with observers from China and other countries. We are very grateful to the United States Institute of Peace and the W. Alton Jones Foundation for their support of a two-year project on Track II approaches to security cooperation , which allowed research and writing of the first essay.An earlier version of the second essay was presented at the National Defense University Pacific Symposium in February 2002. RichardJ.Ellings President The National Bureau ofAsian Research 260 Sheldon W. Simon is...


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