Aty Feraru’s book "Weak States, Vulnerable Governments and Regional Cooperation- An ASEAN Case Study" is a compelling and detailed examination of critical theoretical and empirical questions essential to the study of regional organizations. Feraru engages the increasingly important issue of the applicability of mainstream international relations theory – which is virtually defined by American and British scholars – to the wider world.

She uses Migdal’s concept of the "politics of survival" to explore how regional organizations in the developing world are shaped and limited by the interests of the member state regimes concerned for their own survival. The book compares ASEAN, the OAU/AU and the OAS to show the many similarities between these regional actors. The bulk of the book is a detailed historical examination of ASEAN, supplemented by original analysis into how ASEAN’s member states have managed the organization’s newer institutional expansions. Feraru demonstrates decisively that ASEAN is deliberately and necessarily limited in how far it can impinge on the sovereign interests of its member states. As the book demonstrates, this is an element of ASEAN’s operations that has continued for more than 50 year and is unlikely to change soon.

The book is an important and convincing entry into the ongoing scholarly debate about ASEAN’s purposes and efficacy as a regional organization.

Part One: State Weakness, Government Vulnerability, and Regional Cooperation


2.How Weak States Make for Vulnerable Leaders

3.Weak States, Vulnerable Governments, and Regional Cooperation

Part Two: Government Survival and Cooperation within ASEAN

4.Government Survival and the Meaning and Role of Sovereignty

5.ASEAN’s Decision-making Process

6.Enforcement-related Measures in ASEAN Legal Instruments

7.ASEAN’s Human Rights Regime