Its brief foray into openness over, Asean appears to have returned to being a bloc of ‘strong leaders’, with democracies breaking down or becoming highly illiberal. Cronyism and incompetence among its strongmen is the only hope
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the Asean Declaration by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress and cultural development of its member states and the protection of regional peace and stability.