4 March 2023

First, the concept of ‘like-mindedness’ has grown in salience as a driver of multilateral cooperation. To be fair, some form of like-mindedness has historically been a necessary condition for multilateralism. However, past regional initiatives—especially the ASEAN-led ones—have reflected like-mindedness more in the context of shared interests, while recent arrangements have appeared to also focus on like-mindedness in terms of political values and systems. This trend is expected to continue, especially in light of the Russia-Ukraine war, China-US competition, and the political crisis in Myanmar. The White House’s latest National Security Strategy, published in October 2022, starkly explains the challenge posed to the US and democracy by “powers that layer authoritarian governance with a revisionist foreign policy,” such as Russia and China. The US’s Summit for Democracy in 2021—which excluded majority of the ASEAN member states—further underscored the divide between democracies and non-democracies.

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