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.

Bracing for the game of thrones in Asia’s future

“We’re back, Asia Pacific. Don’t worry about China’s bullish behavior. Our leadership — underpinned by our growing military presence and new economic ties — will lead to regional stability and prosperity. Sure, we have our economic problems and two wars that continue to drag our feet, but Asia is our future and so we will be around.”

In a simplified and stylized nutshell, this seems to be the oft-cited mantra coming out of Washington these days with regards to the United States of America’s renewed engagement of Asia.

Little wonder that some pundits are looking favorably at the recent announcement by US President Barack Obama on the eve of the East Asia Summit in Bali this week that the US will expand its defense ties with Australia and would in the future “permanently” station around 2,500 Marines in Darwin.

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