Regional Order by Other Means? Examining the Rise of Defense Diplomacy in Southeast Asia

With all the commotion happening on the personal front in the past two weeks, I haven’t had the chance to post about a new paper. Recently, my paper on defense diplomacy in Southeast Asia got published in Asian Security, as part of a special issue organized by the good folks at RSIS Singapore.

The journal article is an expanded and revised version of an earlier paper published in an edited volume a year ago (download full book here).

My paper provided an examination of the rise of defense diplomacy in Southeast Asia in the past decade. Furthermore,

By examining multilateral defense diplomacy under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), as well as Indonesia’s bilateral defense diplomacy, this article makes three arguments. First, bilateral and multilateral defense diplomacy in Southeast Asia complement one another. Second, the focus of multilateral defense diplomacy has evolved and now reflects the blurring distinction between nontraditional and traditional security issues. Third, the rise of ARF’s multilateral defense diplomacy can be attributed to the concern over China’s rise, while ASEAN considers it as among the key mechanisms to recover from the fallout of the 1996 Asian financial crisis and the recent regional arms development.

A limited number of eprints are made available by the good folks at Taylor and Francis here. If you can’t download it for whatever reason, drop me a line or DM on twitter @stratbuzz and I’ll be glad to email you the article.

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Indonesia’s Defense Reform: Neglected Long-Term Issues

After refreshing my mind for the past two weeks about the state of Indonesia’s military reform, it is unfortunate that not much has changed. Most of the published account still focuses on short and medium term reform policies (e.g. weapons modernization, defense legislation, etc.). Some policies do have long-term implications however, such as the ongoing discussion to change the TNI’s doctrine as ordered by the President in 2011. I was told recently that the TNI leadership has concluded the discussion and have a first draft to be presented and circulated (whether, when, and how it will be released remains a question mark).

However, two other basic long term issues and policies of reforming the TNI remains untouched. Back in 2009, I wrote a policy paper for The Indonesian Quarterly (download here) that basically argued:

First, the President should support and play a decisive role in reforming and re-integrating the military education and training system as well as revamping operational missions. Second, the President should support the creation and strengthening of a civilian defense community to assist defense policymaking and facilitate communication between the military leadership, the administration, and general public at large.

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