[ISEAS Perspective] With the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, it may be the right time now for it to do some soul-searching about its future. One key question worth pondering over is how the grouping is to become more effective in addressing emerging security challenges. Most worrisome is of course ASEAN’s present inability to present a common position on the South China Sea disputes. This weakness is due to the association’s long-held principle of consensus.
This essay analyses why and how the principle of consensus undermines ASEAN’s relevance and effectiveness, especially in addressing the South China Sea disputes. It proposes that in order to solve this problem, ASEAN should consider either procedural reforms or institutional innovations. Continue reading “Can ASEAN Overcome the ‘Consensus Dilemma’ over the South China Sea?”