The Context of EU-ASEAN relations: Regionalism in Europe and Asia after the end of the Cold War in EU-ASEAN Relations in the 21st Century: Towards a 'Strategic Partnership'?, Palgrave Macmillan (2012) 7-25
Both the EU and ASEAN are to a significant extent children of the Cold War. The end or winding down of the Cold War has predictably therefore had a major impact on the trajectory of international cooperation in both Europe and Asia. This contribution argues that this enormous geopolitical earthquake has in fact confronted the two regions with a range of fundamentally comparable challenges. It identifies, and discusses the nature and magnitude of, five such challenges: changing regional distributions of power, democratization pressures, accelerated economic and financial globalization, enlargement coupled with institutional reform, and US-led unipolarity in international (especially military) affairs. Confronting and responding to these challenges has had two negative consequences for the capacity of the two regional organizations to cooperate. First, the EU has become relatively more absorbed with Europe and its immediate (post-Communist) neighbourhood and ASEAN with Southeast and wider East Asia. Second, while the end or winding down of the Cold War has certainly facilitated the geographic extension of integration processes in both regions, it has braked efforts to bring about closer or ‘deeper’ regional integration, thus making genuinely interregional cooperation between Europe and Southeast Asia politically less feasible than otherwise might have been the case.