In a time where globalisation makes the world ever smaller and state borders more diffuse, regionalism and regionalisation are of increased importance. Asia is rapidly becoming the new area where different systems, strategies and interests meet and compete. China, the United States, Europe, Japan - every major actor in the world today has some interest in gaining the upper hand in the Asian market. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has for a long time been in the middle of this competition for dominance. It was formed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, and today also includes Brunei, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Camnbodia.
This thesis tries to shed some light upon an organization that is clearly understudied in Western Europe, by trying to answer the following research question:
“How do Indonesia and Malaysia approach the regional integration project of which they are part, and how are their policies affected by their participation in ASEAN?”
The theoretical background of the thesis is based upon Andrew Moravcsik's intergovernmentalism. Through this perspective, I analyse two particular cases - representative of economic integration and security integration in ASEAN - the ASEAN Free Trade Area and the Myanmar Crisis. The analysis has been made by answering four similar important and interesting questions for each of the two cases, before comparing the results.
The thesis is comprised of 7 chapters: The first chapter states the purpose of the study, as well as the methodological background. Chapter 2 gives account for my theoretical framework, while chapter 3 attempts to provide all necessary background information of the region as a whole, and the two countries in question's earlier approach to regionalism. Chapter 4 and 5 introduces the two cases empirically and examine them in greater detail. Chapter 6 draws on the empirical data/evidence found in the two previous chapter, and analyses each of the cases respectively. Chapter 7 draws some conclusions based upon the thesis as a whole, as well taking a look at what may be the road ahead.