Foundations of Collective Action in Asia : Theory and Practice of Regional Cooperation
This paper argues that the collective action in Asia by its regional organizations has historically suffered from a â€œcapabilityâ€“legitimacy gapâ€ : a disjuncture between the capability (in terms of material resources) of major Asian powers to lead regional cooperation on the one hand and their political legitimacy and will as regional leaders on the other. Successful collective action requires leadership with both capability (as suggested by rationalist theories) and legitimacy (as suggested by constructivist approaches). A central point of the paper is that the putative or aspiring leaders of Asian regionalism throughout the post-war period never had both. Actors who were materially capable of providing leadership and direction (the United States [US]1 and Japan) have lacked the necessary legitimacy, while those who have possessed legitimacy (India and the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China [PRC])2 in the 1940s and 1950s, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1967, and Indonesia in the context of Asia as a whole) have lacked the necessary resources. The result has been that while the ASEAN-led Asian institutions have made a significant normative contribution to regional order, they have not proved to be effective instruments of regional problem solving. But the capability-legitimacy gap has both costs and benefits. While Asian regional institutions remain weakly institutionalized and attract criticism as â€œtalk-shops,â€ they have helped to ensure that Asia does not degenerate into a hegemonic order or a concert of power. It remains to be seen whether regionalism in an era of a rising PRC and India could bridge this gap. It is theoretically possible that the PRC and India could develop and possess both the resources and political will and standing to provide collective goods and lead Asian regionalism, but their mutual rivalry might prevent this.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2012|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200|
Web page: http://www.eaber.org
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eab:govern:23192. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shiro Armstrong)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.