By the turn of the millennium, a complicated mix of regional events and global un­cer­tainties­had­signi­fic­antly­challenged­the­modus­operandi, values and pres­ tige of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Consequently, a growing proportion of the region’s polit ical elite came to accept that the pursuit of secur ity, stability and eco nomic de velopment would require greater polit ical coopera tion and integration between the ASEAN members. For the more demo­ cratic states, this realization impelled a growing sense of urgency re gard ing the need to transform the under lying values and norms of the Association and, in the pro cess, deepen the level of supra national institutionalization currently extant. Negotiations sub sequently cul min ated in an ASEAN Charter as well as a formal proposal to estab lish an in teg rated ‘secur ity com mun ity’, ‘eco nomic com mun ity’ and ‘socio­ cultural com mun ity’. While key com pon ents in these institutional blueprints­have­emu­lated­constructivist­ideas,­the­specific­proposal­for­a­secur­ity­ com­mun­ity­reflects­more­than­half­a­century­of­schol­arly­work­on­the­subject.­As­ a­secur­ity­com­mun­ity­can­only­exist­where­armed­conflict­between­the­members­ would no longer be fore see able, the realization of ASEAN’s goals would result in a level of coopera tion and inter na tional integration akin to the Euro pean Union (EU). Given the polit ical, eco nomic and ethno­ religious diversity of Southeast Asia, such institutionalized regionalism will be no easy feat. Despite the above caveats, ASEAN’s regionalist as pira tions are both promis­ ing and extra ordinary in nature. The verit able increase to coopera tion, stability and secur ity inherent in the realization of these goals provides added incentive to undertake fresh empirical and theor et ical investigation. Consequently, this book assesses­ the­pro­spects­ for­success­by­weighing­ the­mo­tiva­tions­and­bene­fits­of­ regionalism against the challenges and lim ita tions of his tor ical memories, com­ peting inter ests and a diversity of values in Southeast Asia. In the pursuit of this task, the book examines the level of regionalism to date and how polit ical, secur­ ity and eco nomic concerns have variously con trib uted to, or detracted from, regional unity and coopera tion. Further, the book seeks to ascertain the extent to which patterns of inter action (socialization) and institutionalization (in the supra national sense) have gen er ated common values, a harmon iza tion of inter ests and foreign pol icy co ordination. As a complement to this, the ana lysis also examines the precon ditions for, and triggers of, increased polit ical,

eco nomic and socio­ cultural integration. In line with the schol arly liter at ure, the ultimate outcome of such regionalist pro cesses, as aspired by ASEAN, would be the estab lishment of a secur ity com mun ity.1