Community Building at the Time of Nargis: The ASEAN Response
Journal Of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Vol, 28, No. 4, pp. 3-22, 2010
21 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2009 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010
Date Written: August 24, 2009
The destruction wrought by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar was one of the worst natural disasters to hit that country and the Southeast Asian Region in recent memory. Since the Asian tsunami in 2004, no such disaster was experienced in the region. Myanmar was criticized internationally for its alleged slow effort in allowing international aid to enter into the country. An aside to this is the criticism leveled against the ASEAN for its slow response in giving aid to the beleaguered in Myanmar. It is to this aside that this paper devotes its attention to. This research looks into ASEAN’s policy on disaster management. It gives focus on the engagement of ASEAN with Myanmar to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the country. Arguing that ASEAN’s disaster management mechanisms are a reflection of this institution’s lack of organizational coherence preventing it from taking strategic and decisive actions, the paper suggests that in time ASEAN will move from its doctrine of non-intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state to one of non-indifference. However, it will take time and more positive engagement for this to happen. In the end, ASEAN will have to reevaluate its own goals for it to be a more successful apparatus for interstate and regional affairs especially in responding to humanitarian crisis brought about by natural disasters.
Keywords: ASEAN, Humanitarian Intervention, Myanmar, Nargis, Regional Organization
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