The role of the balance-of-power factor within regimes for co-operative security : a study of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
The central purpose of this dissertation is to study the role and relevance of the balance of power factor within regimes for cooperative security with special reference to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The balance of power concept is systematically applied to an examination of their history and modalities. This thesis addresses one core question: to what extent may the balance of power, defined in political terms, play a part in such associative security arrangements and in the calculations of the participants? Attention is therefore given to the balance of power factor and its co-existence with an associative dimension part of cooperative security regimes. The dissertation assesses the role of the balance of power as a disposition to promote countervailing arrangements to deny hegemony within and beyond cooperative security even if devoid of direct military content. The establishment of ASEAN and the ARF are analysed within a balance of power perspective. Both institutions were formed with the denial of hegemony in mind but not in a conventional sense. In addition, the balance of power remained a factor in their later developments. Its ongoing relevance is examined by discussing Brunei's motives to join the Association, ASEAN's response to the Third Indochina Conflict, the workings of the Forum, and the Association's involvement in the South China Sea dispute.