As recently a year ago the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), then an increasingly powerful regional seven-country economic and political bloc, was the U.S.'s third largest export market and a "must" global location for major multinationals. Since then the region has experienced severe financial and political turmoil including last months resignation of Indonesian President Suharto. Companies committed to ASEAN -- now encompassing nine nations: Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam -- must think long-term. The financial crisis is at least two years away from recovery. And both Indonesia and the Philippines have untested new leaders.