The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, better known as ASEAN, has long been a paradox as much as it is a special and unique case in the parlance of international regional cooperation. One of the more mature transnational organizations in the world, its presence and longevity make it the poster child of stability that newer international organizations aspire to emulate. The ASEAN has successfully made it through several crises, transitions of power, and shifts in the balance of world affairs since its inception in 1967.
Agriculture has long been the backbone of civilizations, nations, and communes. Empires are built on the foundations of food security and access to livestock, poultry, and grains. Modern society would interpret this as the common foundation of developing nations whose industries rose from the shadows of farmers cultivating crops and livestock by developing the necessary value chains that fuel communities. From the Indus Valley to the Mekong Delta, the world would not have progressed the way it did if it weren’t for agriculture.
Over the past few days, a lot has been said regarding the 3rd anniversary of the Hague ruling favoring the Philippines in its stance against China on the West Philippine Sea dispute. Three years ago, it was a highly celebrated victory headed by former Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and then Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. The ruling was considered by many as a marquee case that reinforced the salience of international law as a diplomatic equalizer between state actors; primarily pitting a small island state against an international power and eventually winning versus a seemingly “formidable” adversary. Nonetheless, it was the poster child for the efficacy of non-lethal avenues in settling conflicts between nation-states.