Fragmented Community and Unconstructive Engagements
Author: Lily Zubaidah Rahim
Asean's political elites appear to lack the will to pressure the SPDC regime into resolving the political crisis in Burma through democratic means. To better understand Asean's position, the factors that have underpinned Asean's commitment to preserve its principle of nonintervention and state sovereignty despite repeated human rights violations in Burma are analyzed. To what extent is Asean's commitment to the principle of nonintervention in keeping with the dominance of authoritarian states in the otherwise less than cohesive regional body? Is the recently unveiled Asean Charter an elite-driven initiative that is not intended to challenge the nonintervention principle? In addition to addressing these questions, this essay will conclude by analyzing the dynamics underpinning Singapore-Burma relations with a view to highlighting Asean's fragmented community that is dominated by authoritarian states not committed to promoting democracy and human rights, much less to resolving the political crisis in Burma.