The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was created on a basis of non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries. Permitting a variety of autocratic regimes freedom from scrutiny and public comment was considered the best means of ensuring that countries often at each other’s throats could work together in areas of mutual interest. In recent years, ASEAN has progressed to include the ten states of the region as members with a variety of schemes aimed at closer economic integration. Nevertheless, despite protestations to the contrary, it is quite evident that there remains something of a social and democratic deficit in the association’s workings.
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