) Neofunctionalists claim that the increasing levels of

)  Neofunctionalism: Theories
of European Integration have been highly based on the idea of neofunctionalism.
 Neofunctionalists claim that the
increasing levels of interdependence would commence an ongoing process of
cooperation that would lead eventually lead to countries consolidating.  Supranational institutions were viewed as the
most effective method of solving common issues. These started with basic
technical and non-controversial issues, but mounted up to the realm of high
government that would translate down to a redefinition of the identity of the
regional group (Hurrell, 1995:348). The interpretation of Neofunctionalists
about regionalism rest on a functionalist perspective. The functionalist
perspective says that cooperation between nation states begins with all
institutions collaborating for greater economic and social good. It also
incorporates aa utilitarian perspective of rational political actors
considering the greater good. It explains why countries decide to cooperate to
the point of sharing sovereignty and delegating it to regional institutions.  The advocates of this position explain the
concept using the idea of “spill over” and the interests of national and supra
national players. Interdepended is inherent in advanced economies because
various sectors are interconnected. The integration in one sectors “spills
over” other sectors and leads to a sectoral integration. Due to this
interlocking nature of economic and political areas, the political spill over
and functional need pushes the process of regional integration to take place
and maintain itself. The supranational institutions are created with the
authority over the member states to facilitate their countries in these integrative
functions. 

b)  Neoliberal institutionalism:  Neoliberal institutionalism has been the most
influential theoretical approach to the recent study of regional cooperation.
It presents a theory which is not just plausible but also generalizable for
gaining the understanding on the resurgence on regionalism. Neoliberal
journalists emphasize the role of foundations in the establishment of a
regional system. These systems and establishments decrease the costs of
cooperation fulfill the requirement of increasing interconnectedness at a
regional stage. He neoliberal institutionalists differ from the
neofunctionalists n a way that they focus on analyzing the nation as playing a
rational actor in an anarchic system. According to them, states are seeking
long-term substantial gains from cooperating with other nations. They are
handed with the responsibility of states that are attempting to cheat or escape
from their reciprocal responsibilities. Regional institutions, it is
collectively agreed, provide a transparent platform with unified expectations
that is used to create a mechanism which inhibits cheating. It makes the
coordination role an underlying condition for the supranational body to exist.
The basis of creative activity depends on the coordination in the regional
institution and how well it used the benefits of cooperation in monetary,
resource and social terms.  The regional
institutions are subject to the actions of its members. Their motivation is
their political interest among member countries and their national political
objectives which they aim to get fulfilled through regional institutions.  The ability of regional institutions to
organize these states and exercise problem-solving among them is what ensures
their survival and longevity.

The creation
of ASEAN: neo-liberalism

The East Asia part of the world has always been
important for Western powers for the sake of their national security and
strategic interests. United States, China, Russia, and Japan have always
contested on making an influence on this region.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Asian
financial crisis in 1997 were two main forces which compelled regionalism in
East Asia. The fast globalization and growth of regionalism in other parts of
world have been other important factors. East Asian leaders have set out to
share their interests and integrate to form a bloc. They want to be able to
counter any negative effects of integration in other places such as the EU and
NAFTA.

During the Asian financial crisis, the western bodies
such as IMF and the US put an increasing pressure on the economic situation of
the countries. Leaders in East Asia concluded that it would worsen the
situation of their countries. The proposal put forward by Japan’s Asian
Monetary Fund was accepted and supported by Asian states. It was also met by
opposition from the western regional bodies. The proposal was not implemented
because the US thought it would undermine the IMF policies. These further
compelled East Asian states to create their own regionally integrated group. (PHAM, 2008)

The eventual creation of ASEAN was a result of
neo-liberal practice. ASEAN includes the following countries; Brunei, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and
Vietnam. There has been a long list of achievements to discuss that have come
to place as a result of ASEAN and the economic and political integration to
benefit the countries.

The two major principles which are part of ASEAN are
that of “consensus” and non-intervention in the internal affairs of the other
country. The principle of “consensus” reinforces neo-liberal as in it ensures
that countries do not cheat. However, non-intervention in the internal affairs
also undermines the neo-liberal philosophy because it gives a kind of
sovereignty to individual governments in handling their own matters.