NATIONAL RESILIENCE FOR REGIONAL RESILIENCE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: LESSONS FOR WEST AFRICA

Saley Idrissa Ibrahim, Zarina Othman, Nor Azizan Idris

Abstract


This article intends to deliberate upon the practical experiences of national resilience among some of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The regional organization had long ago since the 1950s right into the 1990s, emphasized the importance of national resilience as the foundation for regional resilience. Communist insurgencies and great powers rivalries in the region were among the prime factors that led to the emphasis on national resilience for regional resilience. Its early founders believed that security within the individual states would be strong if they could solidify their national securities, the dimension of which encompasses the economic, social, political, and military realms. By striving successfully towards this objective, they would be capable of cooperating vigorously as a regional bloc within ASEAN and promote their respective region in the international arena. Contrarily, by failing to nationally be strong, regional resilience would undoubtedly be constructed upon shaky scaffoldings. As such, to hypothesize, it can be said that if national resilience of certain individual states within a given region succeeds, then regional resilience can be promoted more easily. That is because weak unstable states cannot make a strong region. This article will highlight some of the experiences of some ASEAN states in national resilience and self reliance so as to extract some positive lessons which could be beneficial to most West African states in their strive for national and regional development. It is rational and feasible for a group of states, or a region, to learn from the constructive experiences of a single state within a given region, and the vice-versa. In reality, since the era of independence in the 1960s right into the 1990s, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had also emphasized the same principles of national resilience and self reliance for the sake of stronger regional resilience. However, the performance of most of the community’s individual members has not been comparatively that impressive as some of the states within ASEAN. Therefore, some comparative analysis would be made between the performances of some states within the two groupings with the aim of presenting constructive lessons for West Africa.

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