In this article the author has argued on the real difference amongst the newer constructivist knowledge off Southeast Asia and that of Leifer’s. The current knowledge isn’t much about the regionalism issues but focuses on the conditions under which it matters. Material forces such as the earlier presence of a great power balance like precondition for efficient regionalism was viewed as material force by Leifer. Less attention was paid by Leifer to politics of regional identity formation and norm dynamics and also didn’t take into account the fact that they had an independent impact on regional order.
It has been shown in the paper that role of identify formation and regional norms offer a more complete knowledge of the Southeast Asian regionalism which also includes the failures and achievements. This is in contrast with the Leifer’s diplomatic and strategic investigation which focused on the regional equilibrium of power. The article renders a platform for a more extensive knowledge of Asian security order wherein institution-building and socialization are to be observed as shapers of the regional balance of power and also as the adjuncts to the balance of power dynamics. The author has presented a different point of the Southeast Asian security. The failure or success regionalism in Southeast Asia is explained by ideational forces (which includes politics and norms of identity building) and also by the great-power balance.
A number of results have been seen in the paper which tells that how in shaping the regional order of Southeast Asia the norms mattered. On the basis of the fact that a violation of the norm of non-use of force has occurred, the opposition of Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia was regarded as a threat to security of Jakarta from the communist regime prevalent at that time. Norms in cases like these shaped the response of the members of ASEAN in a particular aspect, even at the times when national positions and concerns would have been on the other side. In these situations the view of Leifer was more or less power centric. The author in the article regards the explanation of the ASEAN fortune to be ungenerous and not partial (as they focused in the changes in the regional power balance which in a way was based on the presence of US military).