A year ago, Cambodia and Thailand fought a series of short but nasty skirmishes along their joint border. Efforts to reduce tensions through the deployment of Indonesian observers remain stillborn; one year on there are no observers and on the Cambodian side there is just a lone man with Indonesian and ASEAN flags blowing in the breeze.
The dispute, centered on the emblematic Preah Vihear Temple — in Cambodian territory but down the years oft-claimed by Thailand — was serious enough to seize the attention of the UN Security Council.
It also triggered signs that ASEAN wanted a more proactive role in ensuring stability in its region. This optimism, however, has given way to stasis and further questioning of the organization’s ability to look after its own backyard.
Earlier this month, I met an official from Cambodia’s National Task Force whose job is to prepar...