Association Of Southeast Asian Nations
GIS Dossier: Vietnam defends its independence
Vietnam, with its more than 3,400-kilometer coastline on the South China Sea, its growing economy and its large military, is a linchpin of Southeast Asia. It also lies at the crux of global powers’ interests in the region. So far, it has managed to maximize its independence, but rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the region threaten to undermine its strategy. This Dossier reviews GIS experts’ analysis of and predictions for this emerging regional leader.
2019 Global Outlook: China’s regional impact
China will cast a long shadow in East Asia again this year. 2019, however, is shaping up to be less volatile than 2018. In security matters, expect China to use more “carrot” than “stick” as its neighbors try to balance Beijing against Washington. In economic terms, a stimulus program and a trade understanding with the United States could ameliorate China’s slowdown.
Japan’s new outreach in Asia
China’s rise as an economic and military colossus has transformed the geopolitics of East Asia. Its most powerful neighbor, Japan, has embarked on a more self-reliant course, even as it continues to lean heavily on its alliance with the United States. Tokyo is expanding its contacts, both economic and strategic, with Southeast Asia, India and Australia.
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.