The US Ambassadors to the ASEAN countries rotate every three years or so. For the most part, with the exception of Singapore, they tend to be experienced career foreign service officers. A new class is making its way into the region. They a relatively young group with strong resumes and solid experience.
Now is the right time to invest in strengthening key democratic institutions in Indonesia, and indeed around the region, so that if a test comes in the national elections in 2014 or in other ways that can’t be predicted, they can protect the veracity of Indonesia’s nascent democracy and the rights of its deserving citizens and avoid the bloodshed that Thais have sadly endured.
Singapore’s policy toward Taiwan is an example of the tightrope that Southeast Asian countries need to walk in the new era of an increasingly powerful China asserting itself – particularly in relation to its “core interests” including Tibet, Taiwan and (the newest addition to the “core”) the South China Sea.
“It’s ASEAN and China. Can I make myself clear? It’s ASEAN and China. Is that clear enough?” Romulo told reporters.
Vietnam is providing very strong leadership in its role as ASEAN Chair in 2010. Expect that proactive leadership to continue next year as Indonesia, by far the largest country in ASEAN, takes over as Chair.
By Ernest Z. Bower, Senior Adviser and Director, CSIS Southeast Asia Program Anyone near the corner of 18th & K Streets today would immediately align themselves with remarks attributed to Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew regarding air conditioning’s role as…
While the idea of combining the jobs of US Ambassador to ASEAN with Special Envoy for Burma offers a certain bureaucratic efficiency, pursing this option would undercut the ability of even the most experienced diplomat to deliver on each portfolio.
Turning to the cruel reality of the schedule, the question of continuing annual APEC leaders’ summits becomes even more important.
By Ernest Z. Bower, Senior Adviser and Director, CSIS Southeast Asia Program President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has come of out of his corner swinging – mostly at his predecessor former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Among the many challenges the new…
Bilateralism, secrecy, and quiet pressure are being confronted by multilateralism, transparency, and efforts to appeal to international rule of law in one of the twenty-first-century’s most important bodies of water—the South China Sea.
This should be a good week for U.S. engagement in ASEAN. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Vietnam for the seventeenth annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as most of you read this note. By definition, that means a good week for U.S. strategy in Asia.
By Ernest Z. Bower, Senior Adviser and Director, CSIS Southeast Asia Program Phnom Penh was a small town in 1969, but one that writhed with intrigue worthy of the Ramayana, the ancient Sanskrit epic that would redden Shakespeare’s cheeks even as…