Volume LIII – Number 1

Noah Beall

Abstract: The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is perhaps one of, if not the
strongest free trade regime outside of the European Union (EU). However, unlike the EU,
ASEAN’s member states cover areas that are much less developed and much harder to govern.
Many ASEAN states deal with issues of political instability and unrest that creates opportunities
for terrorist groups. These groups include ISIS affiliates that receive support in the form of men,
material, and finances from criminal activity and sympathetic populations in other ASEAN
member states and have committed attacks such as the 2002 Bali bombing that killed around 200
people. Due to the transnational nature of the movement of fighters, funds, and arms the
appropriate response that is needed if is one that is multilateral and makes use of the ASEAN
structure. However, the fundamental structure of ASEAN is based on a policy on
non-interference, and many of the solutions needed to address terrorism in the region will
demand the surrendering of some aspects of member states’ sovereignty. Any multilateral
approach to solve these issues would heavily conflict with the “ASEAN Way” principle of
non-interference, yet only multilateral action can effectively combat terrorism in the region.  

Keywords: ASEAN, Terrorism, Counterterrorism, Non-Interference, Multilateral, ASEAN Way

About the Author: Noah Beall is a student at Towson University working towards his bachelor’s in Political Science and International Studies. Noah is currently on course to graduate in May 2020.

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