Where Do We Go from Here? Southeast Asia at a Crossroad

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When: Feb 27 2018 - 12:00pm until Feb 27 2018 - 1:30pm
Where: 1819 L St NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036
What:

Where Do We Go from Here? Southeast Asia at a Crossroad

An Asia Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Seminar featuring:

Dr. Ja Ian Chong
Associate Professor, Political Science
National University of Singapore

Where Do We Go from Here? Southeast Asia at a Crossroad from East-West Center on Vimeo.


Dr. Ja Ian Chong Associate Professor, Political Science National University of Singapore and Dr. Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center in Washington

China’s heightened prominence and the unpredictable nature of U.S. involvement in Asia exacerbates existing fissures across Southeast Asia. Both regional arrangements like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and individual regional states are facing greater pressure as a result. Tacking between Beijing and Washington is becoming trickier for Southeast Asian governments. Common ground within ASEAN is increasingly difficult to establish given the highly disparate nature of its membership. This spells a decline in ASEAN’s ability to exercise initiative and autonomy. The grouping runs the risk of losing its ability to buffer U.S.-China competition. This implies that Southeast Asia can potentially turn into either a front for US-China contestation or a region that is less welcoming of an active U.S. presence. To avoid such outcomes, Southeast Asian governments need to engage seriously with ASEAN reform or grapple with the possibility of alternative arrangements—including those involving extra-regional partners. However, a combination of domestic distractions, the promise of immediate returns from China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and uncertainty over the U.S. role in the region mean that there is limited political will to move in these directions. Should the United States have an interest in continued engagement with Southeast Asia, it may have to do so in a more unstable and less accommodating environment.

 For more images, please visit the album for this event on the East-West Center's Flickr page. 


Ja Ian Chong is associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore. He previously worked with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. and the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore, and was a Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program fellow. Dr. Chong’s work crosses the fields of international relations, comparative politics, and political sociology, with a focus on security issues relating to China, East Asia, and U.S.-China relations. His work appears in a number of journals, edited volumes, and newspapers, including the China Quarterly, The European Journal of International Relations, International Security, and Security Studies. Dr. Chong is author of External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation: China, Thailand, Indonesia – 1893-1952 (Cambridge, 2012). His current projects examine the aggregated effects of regional responses to power transition on major power competition and the consequences of regime change on alliance politics.


Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sarah Wang
Phone: 202-327-9755