The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has recently been making headlines and has established itself as an organization with significant sway. ASEAN was founded in 1967 as the successor to the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), with the goal of promoting growth, peace, and cooperation among countries in the region. Like many treaty organizations created at the time, the original members—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand—founded ASEAN out of a mutual fear of communism. However, following the conclusion of the Cold War and expansion of the transnational organization, members began working towards creating a more “EU-style” community.
Currently, ASEAN consists of ten core member countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Together, they produce over 2.73 trillion dollars worth of products, making the group the fifth largest global economy, just ahead of the United Kingdom.