Showing posts with label South East Asia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South East Asia. Show all posts

25 June 2018

Who Lost the South China Sea?

BRAHMA CHELLANEY

The South China Sea is central to the contest for strategic influence in the larger Indo-Pacific region. Unless the US adopts a stronger policy to contain Chinese expansionism there, the widely shared vision of a free, open, and democratic-led Indo-Pacific will give way to an illiberal, repressive regional order. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

14 June 2018

A West in Crisis, an East Rising? Comparing the G7 and the SCO Image Credit: White House A West in Crisis, an East Rising? Comparing the G7 and the SCO

By Catherine Putz

While much of the world watched the tense G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada from June 8 to 9 and chattered about the rapidly approaching June 12 Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Qingdao, China on June 9-10 the leaders of eight other nations also gathered in concert. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) annual summit returned to China at the opening of a new chapter. Not only has the organization expanded — this summit was India and Pakistan’s first as full-fledged members — but the global order itself appears to be sliding from West to East. The slide may not be new, but the two summits side-by-side display the dissonance: a West breaking apart and an East consolidating.

7 June 2018

The “Indo-Pacific” Region Takes Center Stage at Shangri La


The Shangri La Dialogue, the premier regional defense forum held in Singapore, did not disappoint this year. A record number of defense ministers and other top-ranking officials from 40 countries participated in the 17th annual dialogue, which convened June 1–3. Alongside the rhetorical fireworks between the United States and China that we have come to expect at this forum, the geostrategic concept of the “Indo-Pacific” region quickly emerged as the dominant theme of the conference. 

4 June 2018

INDOPACOM, it is: US Pacific Command gets renamed

By: Tara Copp 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Wednesday that U.S. Pacific Command would now be called U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in the latest move to counter Chinese economic and military pressure in the region. Mattis said he directed the name change in recognition that “all nations large and small are essential to the region, in order to sustain stability in ocean areas critical to global peace.” The withdrawn invite follows a directive by the Pentagon to remove Chinese cellphones, other devices from exchanges over espionage fears.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy Needs More Indian Ocean

by Alyssa Ayres

The Donald J. Trump administration has adopted the term Indo-Pacific to describe its larger strategic area of interest across the pan-Asian region. Fully realizing this strategy’s potential will require reconciling differences over the boundaries of the Indo-Pacific and what can and should be done across this enormous geography. As important, the Indo-Pacific framework inherently places India at the heart, rather than as an appendage to a concept of Asia focused on East Asia. Indeed, as Carnegie India’s C. Raja Mohan has written, the concept of Indian centrality revives a colonial-era framework that situated India in the middle of a larger maritime strategic space. This larger maritime area, described as the “confluence of the two seas” by Japanese Prime Minister Abe during a 2007 speech to the Indian parliament, has important implications.

31 May 2018

Looking For A Silver Lining In Indonesia's Black May

by Scott Stewart

It has been a violent month in Indonesia. Nicknamed "Black May" by the Jakarta Post, the sheer number of attacks linked to militant group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) took many by surprise. Over the course of nine days, about 40 people - including attackers - have died in a string of bombings and edged weapon attacks, leaving more than 50 wounded. Also in contrast to previous years, most of the violence began before Ramadan, a month in which jihadist violence often surges. However, if a silver lining can be found in the attacks, it is this: The tempo has been unusually high, but the level of sophistication has been low, sparing the country from a higher body count. Furthermore, Indonesians have been repulsed by the use of women and children in some of the bombings, and that will continue to keep jihadism marginalized in the world's most populous Muslim country.

30 May 2018

The Quad, Vietnam, and the Role of Democratic Values

By Tom Corben

Since its revival of the sidelines of APEC last November, scholarship regarding the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue has addressed the various obstacles to the realization of its greater potential. Several contributions in the May issue of The Diplomat magazine underscored how the Quad’s incapacity to dispel perceptions of its “China containment” endgame have cast doubt in the minds of potential regional partners as to the merits of associating with the so-called “Democratic Security Diamond.” For example, one article noted that ASEAN’s agnostic outlook on the Quad is motivated in large part by the underdevelopment of the “Indo-Pacific” concept espoused by the dialogue’s members.

21 May 2018

Indonesia is Islamic State’s new frontline

By JOHN MCBETH 

A government worker removes ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) flags painted on to walls near Veteran Street in Surakarta City, Indonesia, in an attempt to discourage the promotion of the jihadist group in the region. For a long period during last week’s 36-hour stand-off at Indonesia’s paramilitary Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) headquarters, scores of rioting militants were in charge of a massive cache of automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. According to sources familiar with what transpired, the only reason the siege didn’t turn into a pitched gun-battle with police was that the leaders of the uprising lost contact with three coordinators outside the prison, known only as Deden, Ronggo and Ilham.

20 May 2018

GE14 And Its Aftermath: Enter Malaysia’s New Political Order – Analysis

By Yang Razali Kassim*

Days after the political earthquake of a general election on 9 May, Anwar Ibrahim declared Malaysia “on the verge of a new golden era”. Will it be a mere change of government or a political transition to a new order? In the wake of the seismic change that was Malaysia’s 14th general election on 9 May 2018, two aftershocks are now playing out. The first, amid the euphoria of victory, sees the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition taking ground-breaking but cautious steps to put in place not just a new government but also the seeds of what could be a new political order. The second, as part of this changed landscape, sees the defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition bracing for an unfamiliar and uncertain future, with its anchor party, UMNO, under threat of deregistration.

17 May 2018

MAKING SENSE OF THE INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGY: AN INHERITANCE FROM THE PAST

by Takuya Matsuda

The term “Indo-Pacific” has gained wider currency as the Trump administration promotes the Indo-Pacific Strategy as its flagship policy towards the region. Since the substance of this strategy has yet to be made clear, one could easily make speculations that the Indo-Pacific Strategy is a “containment policy” towards China given the emphasis the new National Defense Strategy has given to great power competition. However, a brief overview of this concept may offer a different narrative. It is worth highlighting here that this increasingly popularized term is nothing new. “Indo-Pacific” is a concept that emerged as a culmination of policy choices made since the mid-1990s to incorporate India into the US strategic framework in the Western Pacific and to encourage allies including Japan to upgrade their roles in international security. In other words, this concept, which originated in the mid-1990s, gained momentum in the 2000s, before Chinese maritime expansion started to challenge American primacy in the Western Pacific.

12 May 2018

Hegemonic Designs in the Middle East Clash

By Ehsan Ahrari

Western media are preoccupied by limited airstrikes from the United States, Britain and France in the Damascus area, in response to a chemical attack, as well as Russia’s “hybrid warfare” strategy against the West. Amidst many distractions, Vladimir Putin’s own fixation with his country’s emergence as a major player in the Middle East and its implications for regional stability do not receive ample attention. Russia is striving to increase its strategic visibility and sphere of influence in the Middle East, and US President Donald Trump, by pursuing his transactional foreign policy, is unwittingly presiding over the demise of traditional US strategic dominance in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.

20 April 2018

Asia Pacific pivots beyond a Trump-led America

Pradumna B Rana and Xianbai Ji, RSIS 

US President Donald Trump has taken a radically protectionist approach to trade. Trump has launched a series of unilateral moves including increasing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports on national security grounds and announcing plans to impose tariffs on US$60 billion of Chinese imports. Uncertainties regarding continued access to the US market have forced Asia Pacific countries, for whom trade is an economic lifeline, to pivot beyond Trump-led America by adopting a three-pronged policy response: the acceleration of mega free trade agreements (FTAs), the enhancement of regional connectivity and the deepening of interregional economic cooperation. 

14 April 2018

The New Great Game: China And The Intense Maritime Contest In Indo-Pacific Region

by Abhijnan Rej

China’s growing naval force projection has sparked anintense maritime contest in the Indo-Pacific, where traditional notions of spheres of influence are being challenged. Over the past five years or so, China has adopted an increasingly assertive foreign policy that stands to upend, if unchecked, the political and security order in maritime Asia. This has included blatant disregard for international law, construction of artificial islands and other features to reclaim contested waters, weaponising capital and trade, and adoption of a military posture that seeks to keep other powers out from parts of the western Pacific. Coupled to growing authoritarianism at home — President Xi Jinping is now effectively president for life — as well as efforts to influence and shape domestic politics of other states, a super-powered China could very well spell the end of the liberal international order that the world has known since the end of the Second World War. China is well into becoming Middle Kingdom 2.0: the apex of a deeply hierarchical Asia, where all powers pay obeisance to the all-powerful Chinese state.

13 April 2018

The Indo-Pacific? The Quad? Please explain …

Graeme Dobell

Australia’s embrace of the Indo-Pacific concept over the past five years drew mild interest from the region and curious discussion. The US adoption of the Indo-Pacific in both its national security strategy and national defence strategy means the construct/label/geographic vision suddenly matters big time. What does the Indo-Pacific frame portend or predict for the way business will get done around here? Understandings aren’t agreed. The meaning of the Indo-Pacific matters if it’s ‘an organising principle for US foreign policy’.

Why the South China Sea is critical to security

BY BRAHMA CHELLANEY

When the U.S. aircraft carrier, Carl Vinson, recently made a port call at Da Nang, Vietnam, it attracted international attention because this was the first time that a large contingent of U.S. military personnel landed on Vietnamese soil since the last of the American troops withdrew from that country in 1975. The symbolism of this port call, however, cannot obscure the fact that the United States, under two successive presidents, has had no coherent strategy for the South China Sea.

12 April 2018

The New Great Game: China And The Intense Maritime Contest In Indo-Pacific Region

by Abhijnan Rej

China’s growing naval force projection has sparked anintense maritime contest in the Indo-Pacific, where traditional notions of spheres of influence are being challenged. Over the past five years or so, China has adopted an increasingly assertive foreign policy that stands to upend, if unchecked, the political and security order in maritime Asia. This has included blatant disregard for international law, construction of artificial islands and other features to reclaim contested waters, weaponising capital and trade, and adoption of a military posture that seeks to keep other powers out from parts of the western Pacific. Coupled to growing authoritarianism at home — President Xi Jinping is now effectively president for life — as well as efforts to influence and shape domestic politics of other states, a super-powered China could very well spell the end of the liberal international order that the world has known since the end of the Second World War. China is well into becoming Middle Kingdom 2.0: the apex of a deeply hierarchical Asia, where all powers pay obeisance to the all-powerful Chinese state.

10 April 2018

India’s approaches to the South China Sea Balancing priorities and prioritising balance


India must play a careful game as it balances its security, economic development and relationship with China, writes Ulises Granados.During the last four years, India has advanced its Act East Policy, an upgraded version of the 1990s Look East Policy. The new approach now encompasses a more robust political and security engagement with Asia, an area spanning from the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. As its economic and geopolitical importance has grown, India’s pursuit of economic security has moved beyond the country’s immediate geographic realm (the subcontinent and the IOR). New Delhi is now increasingly fostering economic, political and diplomatic bonds with selected East Asian states and the US.

9 April 2018

China’s Maritime Silk Road: Strategic and Economic Implications for the Indo-Pacific Region


China unveiled the concept for the Twenty-First Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) in 2013 as a development strategy to boost infrastructure connectivity throughout Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Indian Ocean, and East Africa. The MSR is the maritime complement to the Belt and Road Initiative, which focuses on infrastructure development across Central Asia. Together these initiatives form the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative designed to enhance China’s influence across Asia.

Power Transitions: Thucydides Didn’t Live in East Asia

by David C. Kang and Xinru Ma

The empirical examples that international relations scholars use to derive their theories about power transitions are almost all European. Two pre-modern East Asian cases lead to three new insights about power transitions.

8 April 2018

What U.S.-China ‘Proxy Wars’ Mean for Asia’s Balancing Act


With tensions running high between China and the U.S., many fear an all-out trade war is in the making. But the likelihood of things boiling over is low, writes Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett in this opinion piece. Both countries have a lot to gain from their economic interdependence – and a lot to lose if they step up confrontation significantly. Instead, these tensions are more likely to continue playing out through “proxy wars” in Asia, as the two countries wrestle for influence.