ASEAN and Vietnam’s Security
Tác giả: Alexander L. Vuving
Sách “Southeast Asia and China – A Contest in Mutual Socialization“, năm 2017.
During 1989–1991, as the communist regimes in Eastern Europe col- lapsed and the Soviet Union disintegrated, Vietnam lost its great power backer and almost all of its allies. In search of a new security community, Vietnam joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995. In 2015, ASEAN became a formal security community under the framework of the ASEAN Political-Security Community. However, ASEAN is a security community without the military backup of a military alliance or a great power. This raises the question: How does ASEAN provide for the security of Vietnam? How does Vietnam’s ASEAN mem- bership improve its security?
Security has an objective and a subjective dimension. Paramount in the objective dimension of a state’s security are issues of war and peace, territorial integrity, and freedom of action (the latter being discussed in the Vietnamese discourse under the terms “independence and sovereignty”). In the subjective dimension, Vietnamese leaders typically emphasized regime preservation.
This chapter will examine how and to what extent ASEAN contributes to enhancing Vietnam’s security in these four major areas. The overall finding is that ASEAN is a positive but not critical factor in the areas of war and peace, territorial integrity, and regime preservation; more critical in these areas are Vietnam’s relations with the great powers. In the area of “independence and sovereignty,” ASEAN generates multiple options for Vietnam and is key to strengthening Vietnam’s position vis-à-vis the great powers. An implication of this finding is that Vietnam must strengthen its ties with the great powers and ASEAN concurrently.
Vietnam has benefited greatly from ASEAN (as a public good) and its membership in ASEAN (as a group good). ASEAN has significantly improved Vietnamese security in the four major areas related to war and peace, territorial integrity, regime security and freedom of action. ASEAN is a major factor contributing to the maintenance of a peaceful and stable regional environment, which Vietnam views as its “highest national inter- est.” However, most of the added value generated by ASEAN in this regard is a public good that Vietnam can enjoy without membership. Also, it is the great powers, not ASEAN, who hold the key to matters of war and peace in the region. ASEAN has also significantly enhanced Vietnam’s ability in safeguarding its territorial integrity. However, ASEAN some- times acted counterproductively, and is not Vietnam’s best partner in this matter. With regard to regime security, ASEAN’s positive role is that the group does not criticize Vietnam’s communist regime, but nor does ASEAN provide an effective protective mechanism against international pressure on the regime. Of the four major areas of security, the area where ASEAN excels in helping Vietnam is that of freedom of action. Vietnam’s membership in ASEAN has opened up a host of opportunities for Vietnam. ASEAN was a critical “bridge” for Vietnam to join the world. It also greatly strengthened Vietnam’s position vis-à-vis other countries, most importantly the major powers, and served as a “shelter” against being squeezed between great powers. ASEAN’s forums are the best available among the international organizations where Vietnam can amplify and multiply its voice in strategic issues. They are also the best available for Vietnam to multilateralize some of its bilateral issues with more powerful parties. In sum, ASEAN is a weak reed for Vietnam to rely on, but it is an excellent option generator that Vietnam will ignore at its own peril.
Tải toàn văn chương sách tại Alexander Vuving (2017) ASEAN and Vietnam_s Security
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