October 3, 2017        Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your weekly digest of foreign policy commentary:

LKI WEEKLY INSIGHTS TUESDAY 3 OCTOBER 2017 Reading Time: 2 min read

Khong Yuen Foong argues that a China-led strategic order is most likely to emerge in Southeast Asia, in the absence of US leadership. Image credit – chungking/ Depositphotos



Who Will Replace a Retreating US in Southeast Asia? by Khong Yuen Foong, Professor of Political Science at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

What would Southeast Asia’s strategic order look like if the United States were to withdraw militarily from Asia?

  • Khong Yuen Foong argues that it is plausible that the US military could retreat from Asia, by withdrawing US troops from Japan and South Korea. In this scenario, China will likely fill the resulting strategic vacuum in Southeast Asia.
    • China has the military and economic capacity for a leadership role in the region.
    • Southeast Asia could benefit from China’s economic growth and the infrastructure projects of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
      • However, India and Russia could impede this development, given that the BRI relies on access to their territories.
    • Some may argue that a Japan-Indonesia partnership, or ASEAN, could lead the regional order.
      • However, Japan lacks a regional initiative as visionary or extensive as BRI, and Indonesia has limited economic and military capacity.
      • Furthermore, ASEAN would struggle with balancing China’s and Japan’s strategic interests.



A Test for Europe’s German Anchor by Daniela Schwarzer, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations

Germany’s federal election holds a crucial lesson for the European Union: even the country that has been the EU’s bedrock of stability amid crisis is not immune to political fragmentation…

  • Daniela Schwarzer notes that political consensus in Germany is likely to be significantly weakened, given the fragmentation and polarisation of the German Bundestag.
    • Germany’s ability to lead the European Union (EU) may be similarly weakened.
      • While Germany and France are expected to forge a new model of EU integration for the post-Brexit age, this is unlikely happen soon.
    • Despite the radical policies of Alternative für Deutschland, Angela Merkel is expected to maintain policy consistency on the EU, and on advancing democracy and maintaining international openness.
    • To navigate its political polarisation, the German government could focus on developing a new framework for bilateral and European security cooperation, which would address voters’ priorities on issues like terrorism and security.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Untitled Document