Association Of Southeast Asian Nations
Thailand searches for a new balance between monarchy and modernity
Thailand has a wealth of geographic, historical and economic advantages, and yet it lags in terms of political liberalization. It is more monarchy than democracy, an arrangement that worked to its advantage during the Cold War but is now holding it back. At issue is whether the country can find a new balance between the forces of tradition and modernity. If not, Thailand may become too weak to resist China’s expanding influence in the region.
Regional shifts are marginalizing ASEAN
In the huge geopolitical shifts happening in East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been conspicuously absent. Split over Chinese activity in the South China Sea, the organization is unready to face these new challenges. If ASEAN becomes irrelevant, it will impact the big players, such as the U.S. and China, too – they will have lost a major facilitator of peace and stability in the region.
ASEAN: A nexus of conflict and prosperity
For the first time since the Vietnam War, Southeast Asia has become a cockpit for great-power rivalries. China’s inexorable rise has split the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which had become a regional broker for peace and prosperity. The ASEAN countries have the demographics and infrastructure to leapfrog into the ranks of the advanced economies, but everything depends on whether China’s growing dominance can be accommodated peacefully.
Indonesia moves to assert its maritime interests between two oceans
Indonesia has adopted a maritime development strategy that calls for infrastructure buildup and exploitation of sea-based resources, including offshore oil and gas drilling. Logical as this strategy could be for an archipelagic state with huge development needs, it may easily put the politically cautious Jakarta on a collision course with Beijing.
Brunei, a case of missing an opportunity
As its oil and natural gas reserves near depletion, Brunei is searching for ways to diversify its economy, but thus far the only country willing to invest in the strategically located sultanate is China. Europe, the United States and Japan are missing on an important business and geopolitical opportunity in Southeast Asia.
A free and open Indo-Pacific: Regional and global implications
One of the techniques devised for managing China’s ascent and its destabilizing impact is the concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” This idea, embraced by the governments of Japan, India and the United States, includes military, economic, political, legal and diplomatic dimensions. Some argue it is a smoke screen to mask U.S. disengagement, while others maintain it is a Japanese-inspired effort to enlist American help.
GIS Dossier: The South China Sea
The South China Sea is critical for global trade and security. Beijing’s moves to extend its influence throughout the sea have heightened tensions, risking conflict with neighbors and the United States. China’s global position, economic power and energy riches are all at stake. This survey presents GIS experts’ analyses and predictions for this crucial body of water.
Thailand slides toward a geopolitical realignment
Thailand, a country notorious for military coups but also a longtime security partner of the United States, has been slowly but inevitably aligning itself with China. The process is driven by political and economic considerations. Washington, obliged by the U.S. Congress to curb military assistance to Bangkok, has limited options to stop it.