In coordination with the local host Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP), the seventh annual Asia Pacific Agenda Project (APAP) Forum was held on February 26–28, 2002, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. More than 30 experts from 15 countries gathered at the forum to discuss a joint research project that was launched in late 2001 on the topic of “Asia Pacific and the Global Order after September 11.” Opening remarks were made by His Royal Highness Norodom Sirivudh (Chairman, Board of Directors of CICP; Supreme Privy Counselor to His Majesty The King of Cambodia; Member of the Senate).
At the first session of the forum, Islamic factors and Indonesian perspectives on Asia Pacific and global order after September 11 were discussed. The second session addressed the country perspectives of China, Japan and the U.S. regarding Asia Pacific and global order after September 11. Major power relations in the region after September 11 was debated at the third session, which was followed by a special address by His Excellency Hor Namhong, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia. The fourth and final session centered on the topic of the emerging agenda in Asia Pacific, including the issues of engaging new ASEAN members, and IT and Asia-Pacific security.
Preliminary Workshop for Project Participants
Session I: Asia Pacific and Global Order after September 11 (Part 1)
Islamic Factors and Indonesian Perspectives
Moderator: Jusuf Wanandi, Centre for Strategic and International Studies
Presenters: Farish Noor, Institute of Strategic and International Studies
Rizal Sukma, Centre for Strategic and International Studies
Session II: Asia Pacific and Global Order after September 11 (Part 2)
Country Perspectives of China, Japan, and the U.S.
Moderator: Stuart Harris, Australian National University
Presenters: Chu Shulong, Tsinghua University
Narushige Michishita, National Institute for Defense Studies
Charles Morrison, The East-West Center
Session III: Asia Pacific and Global Order after September 11 (Part 3)
Moderator: Han Sung-joo, Ilmin International Relations Institute
Major Power Relations in the Region
Presenter: Chin Kin Wah, Singapore Institute of International Affairs
Implications for International Organizations
Presenter: Lee Shinwha, Ilmin International Relations Institute
Session IV: Emerging Agenda in Asia Pacific
Moderator: Tadashi Yamamoto, Japan Center for International Exchange
Engaging New ASEAN Members: Reflections on Intellectual Dialogue with Myanmar
Presenter: Jusuf Wanandi
IT and Asia-Pacific Security
Presenter: Paul Evans, University of British Columbia
Other Emerging Issues
Closing Session: Special Address by His Excellency Hor Namhong, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Session I: Asia Pacific and Global Order after September 11—Islamic Factors and Indonesian Perspective
Dr. Farish Noor’s presentation focused on the new religio-political geography after 9-11 in the ASEAN nations and Malaysia in particular. Reports in the Western press about Southeast Asia claim the region to be a potential breeding ground for “Axis of Evil” type governments and groups. In his analysis of developments in Malaysia after this event, Dr. Noor analyzed the globalization versus localization of the events, in which a local event—the terrorist attacks in the US—took on global proportions and had significant impact on localities in other parts of the world, such as Malaysia. In Malaysia prior to 9-11, the Islamic PAS party was threatening to take over control from the UMNO-led Mahathir administration, but after 9-11, PAS supported the Taliban’s call for Jihad. PAS was then no longer able to muster political support and Mahathir’s administration successfully took back control by placating the fears of the general public by insisting their “modern” brand of Islam would not allow itself to be hijacked by “extremist” elements. UMNO and Mahathir thus successfully reinvented themselves domestically and internationally, presenting the government as the new, progressive face of Islam. These events illustrated how local politics can be controlled by and react to outside factors. Dr. Noor emphasized that 9-11 came at a time when the Muslim world is in a crisis, putting pressure on Muslim governments to respond at a time when local factors can inhibit government choices.
Dr. Noor’s observations were twofold. First, 9-11 and the aftermath events were mediated through media narratives rather than concrete political analysis, resulting in reports being cultural rhetoric and making concrete political analysis impossible. In addition, the 9-11 chain of events suggest a crisis in Islam, with the proliferation of ready-made militant discourses that can be utilized by anyone to suit their own needs and reinvent themselves as warriors of God. What Muslim countries are now faced with is how to control these discourses without seeming repressive.
According to Dr. Noor’s analysis, 9-11 underscored how globalized our world is, as an event far away can affect other vulnerable localities, bringing into focus the difficulty of regulating the effects of globalization. In addition, the temporal boundaries of history have collapsed with the resurgence of terms from centuries ago, such as crusade and jihad. However, Dr. Noor hoped that globalization has the positive affect of allowing the creation of networks to discuss the soul of Islam and more moderate forms of Islam.
Dr. Rizal Sukma spoke on domestic reactions and implications in Indonesia after the 9-11 attacks. He discussed the Indonesian government position and the debate within the Islamic community in Indonesia. President Megawati initially condemned the 9-11 attack, but problems with this stance became apparent as the debate began, public anger surfaced, and pressure mounted from Islamic circles as Megawati’s visit to the US loomed. The Megawati government was aware of the delicate balance of their position in the international community with domestic reactions. When Megawati announced support of the US war on terrorism, the US pledged financial aid in return for the support. However, this was met with skepticism in Indonesia by radical Islamic circles and the public was angered, resulting in mass demonstrations against the US in several cities. As the protests intensified, Megawati bowed to pressure and revised her position to issue criticisms of the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan. However, the following day Megawati instructed the police to disperse anti-American demonstrators with excessive force, thus sending the message clearly that the government would not tolerate threats to domestic order and Indonesia’s international reputation. However, to some the changing statements of the Megawati government appeared hypocritical, condemning the US military actions on the one hand and stepping up the war in Aceh on the other.
Within the Indonesian Islamic community itself, the voices of the radicals were widely quoted by the press while the voices of moderates—despite the fact that several statements were released by mainstream Islamic organizations—were not publicized in the media. Thus, the image created by media coverage failed to capture the broad debate and diversity within Indonesia’s Muslim community. Moderate leaders met in January 2002 to pursue a common agenda in addressing serious challenges facing the Muslim community and to stress the importance of an Asian Muslim perspective rather than an Arab-led discussion. Dr. Sukma hoped that Asian Muslims could help to educate their Arab counterparts.
Regarding the response to terrorism, Dr. Sukma argued that the US war on Afghanistan resulted in the first serious challenge to Megawati’s government. This exposed the vulnerability of Megawati to national issues and the importance of the Islamic factor in domestic politics. He also felt that the Megawati government proved to be weak during the post September 11 events, as the administration was unable to enforce the law and made policy decisions dependent on support of Islamic groups. Memories of the negative outcomes of the use of force by Suharto against Islamic groups in the past may have restrained Megawati’s actions, as she may fear being seen as resurrecting tyrannical Suharto ways. Dr. Sukma argued that during the events following 9-11 proved the Megawati administration’s failure to differentiate lawlessness and democracy. Yet, the Islamic community showed a more encouraging trend as the moderate voices have returned to the fore, indicating that Indonesia will remain a representative of moderate Islamic nation.
2. Summary of Discussion
It was asserted that there are two positive elements of 9-11 for Islam, particularly in Indonesia. First, the debate on Islam has begun, which is critical because it assures that radicals don’t take over the discourse. Second, mainstream Muslim groups realize that they must take back he Muslim religion.
The nature of the “soul of Islam” was discussed as well as where the leadership is in the Muslim community to examine this soul. It was felt that the search for the soul of Islam is tied to the concept of political Islam that is being grappled with presently in several countries. The search for the soul of Islam is a search of how to redefine Islam and alter the expression of Islam through open discussions. Defining the soul of Islam requires defining how religious rules translate to rules in daily life. Regarding leadership, there is no clergy in Islam, so leadership must come from society and not from any centralized authority. Some felt that the absence of a single leader is also a strength, because leadership can take the form of ideas or institutions.
Regarding the domestic Muslim situation in Philippines, it was argued that the grievances of Muslims in Philippines have been addressed and that the situation is under control. Whether there is an awareness or caution about the increased US military presence in Philippines was debated, and some felt that the US troop presence in Philippines will be seen by Islamic parties in the region as the US extending its control over the region.
In the Malaysian case, the meaning of “Islamisation of the state” was considered; does Islamisation mean decorum, social rules, or economic policies? A panelist replied that Islamisation in Malaysia has simply resulted in low-level policy changes and cosmetic reforms, such as gender segregated public spaces.
The nature of differences among various radical groups in Indonesian was addressed. It was emphasized that radical Muslim groups are not necessarily terrorists because their concerns are different. Some radical groups aim to put Islamic law into legislation, others are concerned with moral issues, and others are simply involved in the political power struggle agenda. The question of whether President Megawati could have performed better in the situation was risen. Some felt Megawati could have performed better by consulting moderate Muslim leaders, but that her fear of going through informal channels prevented her from pursuing such consultations.
One participant asked the presenters to look beyond domestic situations and consider the regional picture and ASEAN as a whole. It was pointed out that ASEAN includes both Muslim and non-Muslim countries, and questioned whether ASEAN will be strengthened or weakened after 9-11. A panelist conjectured that ASEAN is affected because 9-11 has changed local politics. However, this panelist felt that the time for ASEAN to redefine itself is not through the 9-11 issue. It was also noted that 9-11 has created more challenges for ASEAN and shows the fragile arrangement of the organization.
Regarding terrorism, two types of regional terrorism—one directed towards the US and the other being internal struggle—were differentiated. It was argued that Osama bin Laden is taken as a metaphor, and that local groups latch onto this global, anti-US cause to bring global conflict down to a local level. For example, in Malaysia PAS saw itself being suppressed by the Mahathir government as a metaphor for Osama suffering under the US. Thus, internal groups hijack a global cause. It was argued that it might be increasingly difficult to differentiate between terrorism and legitimate self-determination movements in the region.
Although many had made assumption that the world has changed after 9-11, it was argued that changes may be superficial and continuities structural. After 9-11, some saw the world as comparable to the bipolar world of the Cold War period, yet now the world is split between those with the US and those against the US as the US is waging a moral war by the good versus the so-called Axis of Evil.
However, others pointed out that the current situation couldn’t be compared to the Cold War because there is no major power that threatens US global dominance and because the actors are not limited to states.
Session II: Asia Pacific and Global Order after September 11—Country Perspectives of China, Japan and U.S.
Dr. Chu Shulong addressed the Chinese perspective on post 9-11 regional and world order in terms of the Chinese government position, Chinese public’s view, and the discussion among academics. The Chinese government stands with the international community on the terrorism issue and to show their support have engaged in counter-terrorist intelligence information sharing with the US, checking money flows of potential terrorists, and giving aid to Afghani refugees and emergency aid Pakistan. This marks the first time in recent history that the Chinese government clearly supports US military actions. The reason for this divergence from the past is twofold according to Dr. Chu. First, the Chinese government sees the attackers as clearly in the wrong and thus finds that the Americans are right in counter-attacking. Secondly, it is in China’s national interests to support anti-terrorist efforts due to the fact that terrorist groups in Central Asia may be a source of separatist activities in Xinjiang province, creating a potential national security threat. Thus, Dr. Chu has seen an improvement in Sino-US relations as a result of 9-11.
In terms of the Chinese general public’s perspective, Dr. Chu argued that the Chinese people sympathize with Americans, but have a different understanding of the issue than the government because many believe a root cause of the terrorist attacks is US foreign policy in the past. Many people do not support the retaliatory military action in Afghanistan, and see the counter attacks–which also take civilian lives–as creating a vicious cycle of violence.
The Chinese officials and scholars generally see no fundamental global change in their analysis of the post 9-11 global order. They find that the US still is unilateralist in its policymaking, and the positions of the world powers on major issues have not changed. However, there are two minor developments in Chinese official statements. First, the Chinese official media has used the terms “hegemony” and “unilateralism” less than in the past when referring to the US, perhaps as a result of the warmer relations since 9-11. Second, the Chinese leadership is more worried about the Chinese economy after the economic downturn caused by 9-11. However, a small handful of scholars do see major global change. They site the improvements in US-Russia relations and the Japanese military presence in the Indian Ocean as major changes in the alignments of global order, but these views are held by a minority of scholars and as of this time lack much evidence.
Mr. Narushige Michishita’s presentation focused on the Japanese perspective on 9-11. His presentation examined what Japan has done, what made those actions possible, and future prospects. In regard to what Japan has done after 9-11, Mr. Michishita outlined the seven-point measures taken by Japan, which included concrete actions to be taken–including the dispatch of the SDF; the strengthening of international cooperation against terrorism; humanitarian, economic and other assistance; and restructuring of Afghanistan. This was a departure from the past, when Japan’s international contributions were dominantly financial.
Regarding the factors that made these actions possible, Mr. Michishita argued that political-diplomatic factors and military-operational factors were significant. The political-diplomatic factors included first, the lesson learned by Japan during the Gulf War that money alone would not be a sufficient contribution. Japanese leaders felt Japan suffered a negative image in the international community for contributing only monetary assistance to the Gulf War effort, and the Japanese government did not want to make the same mistake again. Second, the launch of a North Korean missile in 1998 changed the isolationist views of the Japanese public towards security issues. Finally, poor economic conditions in Japan for the last decade have made it unfeasible to rely heavily on monetary tools to conduct foreign policy. However, while these factors combined with Prime Minister Koizumi’s popularity allowed Japan to take the actions it did after 9-11, public opinion polls indicate that the Japanese public opinion on the war against terrorism is mixed. The military-operational factors that were important in allowing Japan to take the actions it did include the fact that the basic mechanism to dispatch the SDF was in place after the 1997 revision of the guidelines for US-Japan Defence Cooperation. The Japanese diet passed several laws in 1999 to allow Japan to legally execute the missions stipulated in the guidelines.
Mr. Michishita felt that Japanese participation in the war on terrorism would be both a challenge and an opportunity for Japan. It is an opportunity for Japan to play an important role in not only economic and financial arenas, but diplomatic, humanitarian and security arenas, as well.
Dr. Charles Morrison spoke on September 11 and US foreign policy continuities and transformations. Although September 11 had ramifications for domestic politics in Malaysia and Indonesia, as noted in earlier presentations, in the US the events did not cause much debate. Rather, the acts were seen as criminal and the only response was to destroy those responsible. There was little debate over what to do about the Taliban, as they were seen as impossible to negotiate with diplomatically. The Muslim dimension is very important for the US, as Islam is the second largest religion in the US. The US saw that the counter strikes were on the group responsible for the 9-11 attacks, and not an attack on Islam.
To what extent is 9-11 transformational for US foreign policy versus the global system? First, one must note that there are two discontinuities in the US in the past year, the first due to the change from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. The new Bush administration was initially not seen as foreign policy focused and was uninterested in nation building, as they took a realist view on foreign policy. The second discontinuity was 9-11, which as a cataclysmic event, had the potential to produce a fundamental change in US foreign policy. However, fundamental change has not happened. An examination of six dimensions on which fundamental change might have occurred shows little sign of fundamental transition.
First, after 9-11, foreign policy priority changed and terrorism is not seen as the highest priority, and the US will measure countries by this issue. However, it is not comparable to the Cold War, in that during the Cold War the enemy was a state actor with high technology. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are non-state actors that pose a different type of threat and have limited resources, thus making the likelihood debatable as to whether terrorism will remain as an ordering principle in US foreign policy. However, two affects are heightened domestic vigilance and greater US understanding of other victims of international terrorism.
Second, regarding foreign policy activism, the Bush Administration—which came into office resolved to be more selective than the Clinton Administration in its foreign policy activism—had to reevaluate its position. However, after 9-11 there is little consensus on how the future foreign policy priorities should look beyond destroying Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and the Bush Administration remains passive regarding the Middle East or the Indo-Pakistan situation. New foreign policy activism is minimalist, and limited to the pursuit of the US’s own military activities.
Third, many note that in the wake of 9-11, the US has paid more attention to foreign countries and multilateralism in building the international coalition against terrorism. However, it is unclear whether there is a significant change in US commitment to multilateralism as compared to before 9-11. US multilateralism may remain the selective multilateralism of a single superpower with the luxury to pick and choose international agreements.
Fourth, there is speculation that bilateral relations with large powers—China, Russia, India, and Japan—have improved. However, trends towards improving great power relations had already been in place prior to 9-11. In addition, these good relations may not be long lasting, especially in the case of China, as many in the US Administration continue to believe that the rise of China is the largest long-term threat to the US.
Fifth, in terms of regime building, the response to 9-11, which indicated that threats to all states exist from sources outside of the state system, provided the opportunity for increased international cooperation of police and financial authorities. This new cooperation may be significant in the evolution of new norms, rules and regimes in the international community in areas involving safety and cooperation against criminals.
Finally, homeland defense in the US has increased, and may not recede for a long time due to the deep psychological impact from the 9-11 attacks. Thus, compared to the past, there will be closer vigilance of suspected terrorist groups and less liberal attitudes towards foreign visitors and migrants.
In sum, there has been a focus on the issue of terrorism, but not a fundamental change in US policy. Although the Administration’s rhetoric states that this war on terrorism goes beyond just a military dimension, the US has not pursued other dimensions, such as their relationship with the Muslim world or gaps in wealth.
2. Summary of Discussion
Regarding China’s perspective on post 9-11, the nature of the Chinese public was discussed, i.e. how one can collect opinions of the general public in China. The general public’s views can be gauged in the college environment, in talking to local officials, and in discussions with military. Thus, while there are no public opinion polls, one can sense the public opinion through discussing with various social groups. China’s view on the increased US troop presence in the Asia Pacific region was also discussed, for example in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. It was stated that many in China feel that this is more a strategic move than necessary one to fight terrorism.
In reference to Japan’s perspective on 9-11, the extent to which Japan did a “good job” in their response to 9-11 was considered. Many feel that deploying SDF for assisting the US goes against Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, and thus Koizumi’s cooperation can be seen as simply due to fear of international criticism resulting from the Gulf War Syndrome. Regarding this point, it was noted that the Japanese political parties and public have reinterpreted Article 9, and that while Japan’s decision was based on the Gulf War experiences, it was part of a long-term process in Japan to be more active in the international system. Concern was expressed that the Japanese government perhaps rushed to the call of the US without enough thought or vigorous debate on Japan’s role in the international community. Regarding the lack of broad-based debate in Japan, others held the view that nothing would have happened if Japan got mired in long debates over the appropriate measures to be taken.
The issue of whether 9-11 was seen as cultural (i.e. related to Islam) in Japan and China was addressed. The focus in Japan was not placed on Islam, but rather on socio-economic root causes. However, it was pointed out that this might be due to ignorance in Japan regarding Islam. Some felt that not many Chinese see the situation as an Islam issue, because many Muslim states supported the US in the wake of the attacks. Thus, it is seen more in realpolitik terms rather than as a clash of civilizations. However, others noted that part of the reason that Islam factors have not been discussed in China may be because there is a political taboo in China regarding discussion of Islam factors, as this might create tensions within the Muslim population in China.
Regarding the US after 9-11, potential differences in the US response had there been a Democratic Administration were debated. As the US response to issues like missile defense, landmines and the Kyoto Protocol have differed significantly between the past Democratic administration and the current Republican Administration, perhaps the response to terrorism would differ as well. Some were bothered by so-called “flag waving” in the US and the framing of US news reports in starts and stripes, which is reminiscent of Japan wartime reporting. It was questioned whether the absence of debate in US media and academia long lasting, or just a temporary nationalism due to the psychological impact of the events. It was pointed out that “flag waving” is a product of democracy, and that although people feel it has various meanings, it is generally to show solidarity with the victims of the attack. However, in terms of a lack of debate, the problem may be that people are not talking outside of their circles, and thus there is a lack of inter-group dialogue.
The balance sheet of whom benefited most from 9-11 over the short- and long-term was contemplated. Although we are all losers in 9-11, several panelists felt that Japan benefits most because it is more integrated into the world system. Others felt that the US military benefits most, because it now has the excuse to increase its presence in various regions.
This war could be seen as a new world war, not between east and west or communism and democracy, but between hegemony and terrorists. Thus, the links between terrorism and globalization as well as the haves versus the have-nots should be more deeply examined.
Session III: Asia Pacific and Global Order after September 11
Chin Kin Wah
In the wake of 9-11, several new paradigms have been offered. Some have stated that the US attempts to build a coalition to fight terrorism signal a new era of multilateralism, while others find that the greatest danger now facing the US is not posed by a state but by non-state actors. However, as terrorism seems to have emerged as the primary reference point in US foreign policy, it is important to note that in the countries Asia Pacific region have diverse security and domestic interests. Thus, it is necessary to reflect on persisting strategic fundamentals as we reflect on possible changes since 9-11. As a meeting point of US, Chinese, Russian and Japanese strategic interests, the Asia Pacific region has witnessed significant shifts in the relationships among these major powers.
To the extent that Sino-American relations constitute a critical basis for wider stability in the region, 9-11 has had a positive effect on what was recently a tense relationship. The return of calm followed the Chinese awareness after 9-11 that the US’s global security concern had shifted from the China threat factor. Prior to 9-11, both sides have sought to improve at least the atmospherics in their relationship and 9-11 provided that timely functional opportunity for the forging of a new Sino-American understanding and a basis for security cooperation rather than confrontation. China has provided intelligence sharing, backing in the UN, and unprecedented support for US military operations in another country.
For Japan, 9-11 has given it the opportunity to inject new meaning into its relationship with the US while widening its overseas security role. In the aftermath of 9-11, Koizumi was quick to demonstrate Japan’s resolve to be a reliable ally of the US in the response to terrorism. After a swift passage of necessary legislation, Japan deployed its SDF the Indian Ocean and Pakistan to give logistical as well as humanitarian support to the US military operations in Afghanistan. Significantly, the rendering of such non-combatant cooperation is occurring outside the area surrounding Japan. However, Japan cannot mask the reality that international image depends not only on one’s role in global security, but also on a capacity and will to set the economy in order.
Russia seems able to enjoy a slightly more balanced relationship with China on the one hand and the US on the other after 9-11. Prior to 9-11, China and Russia signed a landmark treaty of friendship and cooperation, and found a common cause against terrorism and ethno-religious militancy and extremism through the “Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.” Then, 9-11 provided a common Russo-American security cause in the fight against terrorism while pushing the contentious missile defence issue further down the road. Through providing intelligence information on terrorist activity in the region, Putin has also been able the reassert Russian influence in Afghanistan on the back of US power. Thus, Russia is balancing its growing security relationship with China without seeming to alienate the US.
There are several long-term implications for the region. First, the success of the US campaign in Afghanistan has underlined the role of conventional military force in the war against terrorism rather than a more comprehensive approach that addresses mal-development, social injustice and nation building in multi-ethnic states. Second, the focus on weapons seems to have resulted in a convergence of great power awareness of the dangers posed by the spread of weapons of mass destruction where such proliferation may connect with global terrorist networks on their own turf. Potential for cooperation in non-conventional security—intelligence exchanges, cooperation between security agencies, police forces, and financial surveillance over suspected terrorist networks—has also widened. Third, while the US seems to be joining more multilateral efforts, it has been prone to assign roles rather than share in decision making, particularly on military efforts, to meet the threat of terrorism. This incipient unilateralism will have long-term implications for the US allies in the region that may be called upon to participate in the next phase of the war on terrorism. Fourth, changing atmospherics among major powers may merely reflect a temporary convergence of interests rather than a fundamental transformation of such interests. One cannot underestimate the long-held US perception of a rising China as a challenge to the US strategic position in Asia. Japan’s militaristic past will not be exorcised easily from the Chinese mindset, and Japan will continue to struggle for influence in the region as its economy declines. While Russia’s acceptance of US presence in its central Asian backyard may hint of a paradigm shift, it could also sow seeds of future new competitive relationship. Fifth, as assessment of the changing major power relations should also be appreciated against regional strategic, political, social, economic and ethno-religious diversities within the Asia Pacific. In terms of non-conventional security threats, the region has borne considerable impacts of 9-11 on their economics and muti-ethnic, multi-religious societies.
Global coherence in this war on terrorism is difficult to achieve in the Asia Pacific due to the diversity in the region. Thus, there is an urgent need for sustained and multi-fronted approach towards understanding the impact and implications for the region.
The terrorist attacks on the United States on 9-11 have contributed to strengthening the role of multinational organizations, particularly the UN. Yet, despite it appears that the international response to terrorism has ultimately strengthened the state system and traditional security concepts in at least three ways: people turned to their own state for protection and solutions, granting greater power to the state even at the expense of individual freedom; states showed a tendency to collaborate with the US on a bilateral basis rather than within any regional framework; and the responses of individual states showed that religion and civilization do not replace realpolitik.
Although terrorism emerged as one of the first ordering priority agenda in the UN policies, there are continuing needs for reinforcing UN capacities and missions in addressing the Post Cold War conflict, mostly at the intra-state level. Intra-state wars with regard to ethnic rivalries, struggles for self-determination, and armed conflict over the control of government often result in high civilian casualties, which suggests that it is crucial to identify a more comprehensive approach to peacekeeping and the conditions for successful intra-state peacekeeping missions.
It is difficult to imagine the UN without the US. At the creation of the UN, the US hoped that the UN would play a primary role in global security matters. However, from the 1960s-1980s, the US increasingly lost interest in the UN. Although tension eased somewhat during the Persian Gulf War, recent friction remained due to the Bush administration’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the defeat of the US delegation in the election for a seat on the UN human rights committee, and the walkout of the US delegation from the UN Conference on Racism in South Africa.
Much of the international community’s present concern lies in where the US will focus its attention next. As evidenced in the State of Union address in January 2002 where an “axis of evil” was identified as consisting of Iraq, Iran and North Korea, Bush signified further possible military action on what the US defined as rogue states, particularly Iraq. However, the rest of the world is wary of any US move against Iraq without explicit evidence.
The shock of 9-11 brought the US back to the UN, but even if relations continue to improve, the UN will face a lack of systematic engagement by the US. Like the rest of the international community, the UN can only expect – la carte multilateralism from the US. It is hoped that US leaders recognize that international legitimacy is the key to formulating and implementing responses to the challenge of terrorism and other global ills, which would threaten the US homeland security. That legitimacy can only be acquired by working with and through multilateral mechanisms such as the UN and regional institutions.
In the wake the 9-11 tragedy “low politics” has again fallen by the wayside. Since terrorism is a threat to civilians, the war against terrorism is imperative for ending such crime against humanity. Yet, the international community must maintain a commitment to minimize the number of civilian victims in the war against terrorism. If the anti-terror military operation should lose sight of fundamental principles, e.g. the protection of civilians and human rights, this would only diminish the moral justification of the anti-terrorist cause and aggravate vicious cycle of violence and terror. Thus, the nations in the Coalition against Terror must act in coordination and consultation with the UN, because the UN provides the only comprehensive body where so-called “failed states” such as Afghanistan, North Korea, Somalia and Rwanda, also participate as member states.
Regarding East Asian perspectives, the region is ambivalent towards US-led joint actions against terrorism. Its views much depend upon national interest, internal political dynamics, and the way the US deals with terrorism. There are several tasks for East Asia in the wake of 9-11. First, identifying how the region collectively responds to the global pre-eminence of the US. Second, addressing the question about one party’s terrorist being another party’s freedom fighter. In general, the region expects the strengthening of the UN position in international relations through active involvement in the clean up job in Afghanistan. Asian governments and peoples believe that the US-defined war against terrorism should be addressed by the UN. Still, it may not easy to draw a coalition for security within a UN framework unless the presence of the veto powers are changed. A regional task force should be commissioned to examine this issue. Also, in part of addressing root causes, this regional task force should examine the idea of globalization from an Asian point of view. The question still remains as to whether the UN will value the role of East Asia in international affairs.
2. Summary of Discussion
One participant outlined four observations since 9-11. First, 9-11 is seen as a defining moment in major power relations. Second, the discussion is US-centered. Third, major transformations have occurred elsewhere than East Asia, i.e. Central Asia and India. Lastly, there has been an increased sense of insecurity and vulnerability against terrorism in both developed and developing countries.
The balance sheet of winners versus losers in the post 9-11 system was debated further. Some felt that Russia is a loser over the long-term due to the new presence of US troops in Central Asia. Regarding the US, it was felt that the Bush Administration had benefited with increased approval rates, which may mean a long-term change for the domestic political arena in the US. Japan’s expanded security role was discussed in more detail, especially with regard to the views of its Asian neighbors. It was felt that concern in the region is not necessarily about militarism, but that certain countries still have reservations while others—like Singapore—are open to avenues of functional military cooperation. From a Korean perspective, Japan’s response to 9-11 was not shocking, and it was stated that this could provide some balance to the rise of China. Regarding China, it was noted that while the government to government relationship between the US and China may be improved after 9-11, societal reactions to the US response in China do not necessarily coincide with the government’s.
In reference to regional institutions, it was stated that there is discussion in ASEAN circles of what they hope ARF can do, including enhanced cooperation to address military threats to the region. In addition, there may be opportunities for new linkages between regional institutions and other multi-lateral organizations, such as the UN.
Regarding the UN, it was noted that the use of force is monopolized by great powers, while the UN is left with the clean up efforts. The view of the US on both the UN and multilateralism was also discussed. In the eyes of the US, the UN does not have sufficient means to use force. Some could say that the war in Cambodia was permitted to go on in the UN system, because the UN did not have the means to stop the killing. Thus, the US may feel that it cannot justify the immorality of sitting behind an ineffective UN. However, it was also pointed out that the US is displaying exceptionalism; it feels it can give lip service to multilateralism and international institutions, yet takes exception and acts outside of international norms and laws.
Several apprehensions were expressed regarding the US after 9-11. Regarding the domestic arena in the US, it was feared that due to the psychological impact of 9-11, it may be difficult to maintain an open society. It was also stated that in the international arena, the US might not want to wait for future attacks, but instead may make precautionary military strikes on countries seen as potential threats. However, it was also noted that there may not be domestic support for such preemptive policies. It was also argued by one participant that the war on terrorism is a brilliant construct by the US to assure its own supremacy, as the rhetoric is such that the war can go on indefinitely. This participant also felt that the US may want to control resources in Afghanistan.
It was noted that low politics issues—such as democracy and NGOs—and high politics are now blurred and overlapping. For example, some may see al Qaeda as an NGO fighting for freedom. There is also an increasing difficulty in differentiating localized terrorism and international terrorist networks. Thus, we must revisit the ideas about what constitutes high and low politics.
The issue of human security was addressed. While terrorism kills many, inter-state ethnic conflicts have taken a much larger death toll. Yet, resources are being allocated to terrorism and taken away from other areas, such as human security efforts. Thus, we must reconsider global resource allocation and think more in terms of proportion of how many lives are lost.
The need for more discussion of both root causes as well as the economic factors was emphasized. Some felt that poverty and drugs resulting from globalization are bigger problems than terrorism, as they are root causes. However, others pointed out that we should not rush to say that globalization causes more poverty, as it might in fact raise the absolute global income. Despite the debate over globalization as a potential cause of poverty, the problem of extreme poverty was accepted as a global problem that must be addressed.
It was stated that the post post-Cold War era—where the US is entirely inattendant of the rest of the world—may be over. However, some felt strongly that 9-11 is a milestone towards systematic change in the making, and that we still cannot see all the signs clearly at this early juncture. Many agreed that all countries must contribute to strategic thinking and create a comprehensive approach after 9-11.
Speech on Asia Pacific Regional and Global Order in the Post 9-11 World
H.E. Hor Namhong, Senior Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Kingdom of CambodiaI am deeply honored and pleased to be here and to share my view in the debate on the subject “Asia Pacific Regional and Global Order in the Post 9-11 World.” Since the tragic terrorist attacks on the US, there have been many discussions on various aspects related to terrorism, including root causes, strategies for combating terrorism, and implications of terrorism at national, regional and global levels. Certainly, besides the discussions, there have been military actions against Taliban and al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, suppression of financing system of terrorism, and the breakup of al Qaeda networks worldwide. The terrorist attacks on the US have affected global peace and stability and have undoubtedly changed the conduct of international relations, especially the relationship between the major powers of the world. There is no doubt that terrorists will continue to engage in actions around the world; and many nations will continue to engage in counter-terrorism actions. Discussions on various issues related to terrorism and counter-terrorism will also continue, as in the case of this APAP Siem Reap Forum. The intellectual exchange of views here is very important for our region, as the notion of security has been more or less changed since the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the US. In this context, I wish to share with you some of my views on what I believe we should do together, regionally and internationally, in order to avoid further tragedies and violence. Given the far-reaching impacts of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on not only on the US, but also on the world as a whole, fighting against terrorism need to be carried out in the form of global anti-terrorism against a globalized terrorism. However, in order to be effective and meaningful in our cooperative efforts, we must have a comprehensive strategic approach in this fight against terrorism. In my view, military action is not the only viable option. One should look to other options, such as political, economic, social and cultural dimensions. In other words, we may need to understand the several root causes of terrorism. This approach is vital in mobilizing world opinions and global efforts against terrorism. The difficult problem is how we can unanimously agree on what the terrorism is. Otherwise, there will be misunderstanding, misperception and suspicion in combating terrorism regionally and internationally. I believe that there should not be double standards in the fight against terrorism. Moreover, we must understand that there is a need to distinguish between what is terrorism and what constitutes struggle for national salvation. It is obvious that a clear distinction between these two notions is important but sometimes difficult to make, because the concept and the policy framework to be conducted depend on this distinction. In my view, to eliminate terrorism we must absolutely tackle its root causes. One of the root causes of terrorism that I strongly believe is the increasing poverty in the developing countries and the widening gap between the rich and the poor at national, regional, and global levels. Aggravated by globalization, one way of eliminating the sources of terrorism is to fight poverty and promote development in those societies whose vulnerability is a resource for terrorist network recruitment. In this regard, more efforts and international financial resources should be spent on poverty reduction programs around the world. Therefore, promoting people’s access to better living standard could significantly contribute to the fight against terrorism. In this sense, the realization of the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 and the Commitments by the G8 leaders could help to bring about the success of the fight against poverty. Another approach in addressing terrorism is to promote greater dialogue and communication across societies, nations, and regions. Constructive dialogue and effective communication could help prevent the terrorists from spreading and assist us to better contain it. I also believe a win-win policy in combating terrorism at national, regional and international levels could be a solution to eliminate terrorism. In other words, there is no single approach to the fight against terrorism. We should explore all other possible options and attempt to bring all stakeholders on board in the crusade against global terrorism. In the face of the military action taken so far by the U.S., the terrorists may have taken only a concealment tactic for now. They may revive their actions some day when the situation is more favorable. In this regard, we should not be overconfident about the current military action against terrorism. I wish to inform you that Cambodia has played its role in the fight against terrorism. In fact, Cambodia has been also victim of terrorist attacks as well, although at a much lesser level. As you may have been aware, Cambodia was attacked by a group of terrorists, the so-called Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF), in November 2000. The CFF is comprised of mainly Cambodians with American citizenship based in California. The CFF attacked government buildings and killed a number of Cambodian police officers. Since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Cambodia has been fully cooperating with the US in sharing information and intelligence, in controlling financial transactions which may lead to the terrorist networks, and in providing the US aircraft’s access to our airspace in the performance of their mission in the region. Cambodia’s commitment to combating terrorism has been unequivocally clear.In addition, Cambodia had ratified four international conventions, which are relevant to the fight against terrorism and signed one convention on suppressing the financing of terrorism. Cambodia is also in the process of acceding to seven other key international conventions, which are essential steps in combating terrorism not only in Cambodia but also in the region. In my view, an overall Convention on terrorism derived from the World Summit organized by the UN is absolutely necessary for the whole world to join hands and combat against terrorism.I believe that both ASEAN and ARF could do more to play their meaningful role in the fight against terrorism both in the region and in the world. ASEAN has clearly condemned the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the US, as specified in the Declaration on Combating Terrorism at the 7th ASEAN Summit in Brunei in November 2001. In addition, the ARF Chairman issued a statement in support of the fight against terrorism several weeks following the terrorist attacks on the US. In December 2001, ASEAN and the US held a bilateral dialogue in Washington, D.C., which centered mainly on the need to combat terrorism. At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Phuket on February 21, terrorism and the imperative of intensifying cooperation in the fight against terrorism is one of the topics of discussion. ASEAN is very much conscious of the fact that terrorism is a real threat to the region as a whole. We are also determined to deepen cooperation and reaffirm political commitment in the fight against terrorism. As I have said, terrorism is an international problem with globalized network. This means that to fight terrorism more effectively there is a need for a global approach. I think that if even ASEAN is committed conscientiously to eliminate terrorism in the region, it will not be able to do it alone, because terrorism with its global network will threat the whole world and dictates subsequently the necessity of regional, inter-regional, and international cooperation. Given the important role of the ARF in Asia-Pacific security policy, I think we need to strengthen our proactive actions among the ARF members. ARF should not rely on its current perception of security in Asia-Pacific. To be timely and relevant in an increasingly complicated regional and global security order prevailing in the world today, ARF needs to strategically deal with a new concept of security policy in Asia Pacific. Therefore, I believe that ARF cannot evolve in the future on the basis of its current perception, which is essentially relying confidence-building measures, preventive diplomacy and approach to conflict resolution among Asia Pacific nations, due to the increasing widespread problems of terrorism after 9-11. These terrorist attacks significantly changed the notion of security, making it more broadly defined while bringing about fundamental changes in international relations.
Session IV: Emerging Agenda in Asia Pacific
Engaging New ASEAN Members
We must close the divide between old and new members of ASEAN. Since the financial crisis, there has been a downturn in ASEAN. Two meetings have addressed these and other issues in November 2000 and November 2001.
In November 2000, ASEAN met to consider its future challenges, how to relate ASEAN10 with the rest of the region, and how to get moving after the 1997 financial crisis. Japan in particular was discussed in terms of what other countries can do to assist new ASEAN members. In particular, we must consider how to get Myanmar more involved in regional efforts, which involves considering what assistance we can give Myanmar and what Myanmar can do to pursue assistance. At the meeting, Japanese participants expressed the difficulty to provide further assistance, as the international community is not supportive of giving more to Myanmar.
The issues discussed at the November 2000 meeting were further deliberated at the November 2001 meeting. The discussion centered on comparative studies of political, economic, military and security changes in other ASEAN countries that went through similar experiences to Myanmar, including Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand. The studies were very helpful, and questions centered on difficulties, constraints, challenges and future strategies for Myanmar. It was expressed that there should be more than one annual meeting. It was proposed that human resources to assist Myanmar and other new ASEAN members would be helpful. As the cohesion and activities of ASEAN are hampered by new members, it was felt that we must work together to bring these countries to the same level as older members.
U Aye Lwin
The IAI—Implementation Asian Integration—task force is keeping other ASEAN bodies informed on priorities for integrating new ASEAN members, which include infrastructure, human resource development and Information Technology (IT). The old ASEAN members are trying to help new members integrate by sending trainers. The first two meetings of IAI were helpful to academics, and this process should continue. Regarding Myanmar, previously the nation was isolated by choice, and now it continues to be isolated without a choice in the matter. It needs to be better understood what is being done. The media often does not recognize efforts of Myanmar, including the attempts to stop drug trafficking.
Kao Kim Hourn
IAI had its third meeting, and the work plan and priorities were revised to focus on five points, particularly human resource development, economic integration, and IT. IAI is continuing to work to mobilize resources, and the contentious debate continues to be how to push younger members for more and how to organize to move ASEAN forward.
IT and Asia Pacific
In the mid-1990s, IT promised to open opportunities for building networks for cooperation, understanding, policy discussion, and creating foundations for a regional community. However, the results of five years of research reveal a more complex picture. From a track-two and community building perspective, results are mixed. The results of surveys conducted among participants at the APAP Cebu Forum and the Kuala Lumpur Asia Pacific Roundtable—both track-two discussions—found that a large number are not using Internet often, and that Internet networking is not seen as important as face-to-face contact. Usage patterns indicated that others were not interested in using Internet to download papers or see videos and have a lower level of understanding of operating systems than their counterparts in North America, Australia and Europe.
Recent technological developments have also shown that there is a dark side to IT. Internet can be used for networks and communication of not only regular civil society, but also “uncivil” society, or networks pursuing dark objectives. Protesters against the WTO as well as various terrorist groups use IT to bring together decentralized groups. As a result of IT, power is in the hands of individuals and groups, which can have positive results for networks of social activists but can also have a dark side that leads to the privatization of conflict.
In considering the impact of IT on development two issues emerge: 1) national security and IT and 2) foreign policy and IT. Regarding national security and IT, the list of issues is includes cyber-warfare, information warfare, the connection between IT and the Revolution in Military Affairs, cyber-epidemiology, hacking, electronic espionage and extortion, terrorism and transnational crime. In the Asia Pacific region, there seems to be Information Warfare of considerable proportions in cross-Straits relations involving government agencies, autonomous hackers, cracker, and cyboteurs. Thus, it would be interesting for the region to commission research on the nature of the conflict and how to reduce it.
IT has had a significant impact of foreign policy in some countries. We must consider that principles of non-interference in domestic affairs are difficult to support when individuals can find increased information via electronic sources. Some governments have initiated IT strategies for connecting NGOs in certain initiatives, such as human security, in addition to more traditional diplomatic strategies. IT can allow coalitions to be extended beyond governments to include non-state actors such as NGOs and the private sector. The region must consider how to integrate the light sides of IT while being aware of the dark sides.
2. Summary of Discussion
Regarding IT and the study on track-two level individuals, some felt it could be an issue of empowerment. Those on track-two do not feel as disenfranchised as those at track-three level, as they already have appropriate channels for networking and attend many meetings to maintain networks.
One participant warned that for developing countries, such as Myanmar, it may be important to tone down the discussion of the dark side of IT at least in the beginning stages in order to assure that the government does not get a negative view of IT.
For the future of APAP, it was noted that the next project should take up China in Asia Pacific. It is vital to promote dialogue to strengthen the regional intellectual community, so it is important for APAP to sponsor and expand joint studies, and to put emphasis on getting younger participants involved. We must assess the weaknesses of APAP to see where we can be strengthened, where we are going, and what we can do for community building. Regarding envisioning an Asia Pacific community and regional peace and prosperity, there is some reluctance on the part of some to formalize any community. However, Prime Minister Koizumi recently spoke about an Asia Pacific community, and we must take advantage of this timing to act more together under ASEAN as a community.
President, The Schiller-Stamford International College, Thailand
Jose T. ALMONTE
Fellow, Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, former National Security Adviser, Philippines
CHIA Siow Yue
Director, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
CHIA Lin Sien
Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
Council Member, Singapore Institute of International Affairs; Associate Professor, National University of Singapore
Director, Institute of Strategic Studies, Tsinghua University, China
Professor, Director, Program on Canada-Asia Policy Studies, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, Canada
Ha Hong HAI
Deputy Director, Institute for International Relations, Vietnam
President, Ilmin International Relations Institute, Korea University; former Minister for Foreign Affairs
Professor, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Department of International Relations, The Australian National University
Deputy Executive Director, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia
KAO Kim Hourn
Executive Director, Cambodian Institute of Cooperation and Peace
KIM Kyung Won
President, Seoul Forum for International Affairs, Korea
Research Professor, Ilmin International Relations Institute, Korea University
U Aye LWIN
Director General (retired), Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar
Research Fellow, National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan
President, The East-West Center, U.S.
Chief Program Officer and Director for Research Coordination, Japan Center for International Exchange
Fellow, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia
H.R.H. NORODOM Sirivudh
Chairman, Board of Directors, Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace; Supreme Privy Counselor to H.M. The King; Member of the Senate
Executive Chairman, CAL FP Bank, Securities, Tokyo Branch; Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Department of International Exchange Studies, Josai International University, Japan; former Japanese Ambassador to Hungary
Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia
Assistant Executive Director, Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace
Director General, Laos Institute of Foreign Affairs
Director of Studies, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia
Visiting Fellow, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Kuala Lumpur; Professor of International Relations, Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Japan
Professor of International Relations, Dokkyo University, Japan
Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs
Member of the Board of Directors, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia
Director, Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Science
President, Japan Center for International Exchange
H.E. HOR Namhong
Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Cambodia