How regional organisation survives: ASEAN, hedging and international society

I. Gede Wahyu Wicaksana, Moch Faisal Karim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


How can a regional organisation survive in great power contests? This article uses the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the empirical case to address the puzzle. The inquiry is important for three reasons. First, the recent developments in world politics have shown the increasingly penetrative actions of the major powers into regional multilateral organisations. Second, looking at ASEAN, the internal cohesion and solidity of the Association's member countries over the last decade have been challenged by the competition between China and the U.S. Third, the existing literature on ASEAN regional strategic affairs has been focused on hedging as the weaker states’ agential choice to manage their relations with the stronger states. However, there is insufficient explanation of what makes sustainable Southeast Asian states’ hedging possible. Working within the English School theory of IR, this article offers two factors explaining ASEAN’s survival as a regional international society: elite diplomatic culture and great power management. The argument is that ASEAN has developed its ideas and values of intra-regional diplomatic relations and built institutions that can mitigate the damaging consequences of the U.S.–China order contestation. Furthermore, this study promotes an English School perspective on hedging based on the ASEAN case. Arguing against the realist theory of hedging, which focuses on the domestic function of foreign policy strategy, the narrow conception of national interests and the relative distribution of power at the systemic level, hedging works because of viable institutions of the regional international society oriented toward constructing and preserving order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-679
Number of pages21
JournalContemporary Politics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • English School
  • diplomatic culture
  • great powers
  • hedging
  • regional order contestation


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