The change wrought by the defeat of communism and the rise of a new business class on ASEAN’s practice of (non)interference is very clear in the case of Cambodia. To insulate their own societies from Indochina’s communist forces, ASEAN had fuelled a bitter proxy war in Cambodia for over a decade. However, when communism was defeated in ASEAN countries — partly through this intervention — the war became obsolete. Powerful business groups began demanding that the conflict be terminated to permit them to exploit lucrative opportunities in neighbouring markets. Combined with Vietnam’s decreasing capacity and willingness to continue fighting, and the end of the Cold War, this led to a serious push to settle the conflict. This required an unprecedented UN intervention, encouraged and participated in by ASEAN, which organised elections that generated a power-sharing coalition between parties representing the former communist regime and the anti-communist FUNCINPEC.
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