Southeast Asia's strategic balancing act amid U.S.-China rivalry

Southeast Asia's strategic balancing act amid U.S.-China rivalry

September 7, 20232 min read

In the bustling geopolitical arena of Southeast Asia, the rivalry between the United States and China often takes center stage. This region, where great powers converge, has become a pivotal battleground for influence and control. But the reality is that this contest involves more than just these two giants. It's a multi-dimensional chessboard, and Southeast Asian nations aren't just passive pieces; they are active players with their own agendas.

In a new analysis of the ongoing contest between these superpowers, University of Delaware professor Alice Ba discussed the ways in which Southeast Asian countries are not only impacted by the struggles over economic influence and military expansion but also can and will play a major role in the outcome. She can also address the following topics:

  • The expansion of U.S.-China tensions into additional economic realms, especially the politicization of supply chains, and how that broadens the impact on Southeast Asia. For all Southeast Asian states, economics is regarded as the foundation for legitimacy and regime stability and thus, unlike the South China Sea, U.S. and Chinese economic policies are felt more widely across the region.
  • The U.S.-China rivalry's destabilizing integration trends of the last four decades and the foundations on which Southeast Asian states have achieved highly prized degrees of regional stability, economic prosperity, diplomatic standing and regime legitimacy. Ba can talk about how Southeast Asian states can respond to this destabilization and new policies they can adopt to address the surging rivalry.
  • The viewpoint that the United States has not taken sufficient advantage of Southeast Asian interest in greater economic and diplomatic engagement — a perception that for some states is also reinforced by Washington’s normative democracy agenda.

Ba is available for interviews and can be contacted by clicking on her profile below.

Connect with:
  • Alice Ba
    Alice Ba Associate Chair and Professor, International Relations and Comparative Politics

    Prof. Ba researches US-China-Southeast Asia relations; institutional cooperation/competition in Asia; and regionalism.

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