Global Governance | Report

New Power Dynamics in Southeast Asia

Catharin E. Dalpino | September 2008

Examining US Relations With Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia is historically a crossroads for great power competition. To explore the region’s “New Power Dynamics” at the dawn of the 21st century, and the US role in the region, in 2006 the Stanley Center convened a multiyear project to examine US relations with Southeast Asia in this new power dynamic. The project found regionalism—and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in particular—to be in a fluid state that has seen many new initiatives and fostered new regional frameworks. The greatest aspect of this new momentum is in the economic sector, but there is also an increasing interest among Southeast Asian states in managing regional security affairs. Although the United States is viewed as lagging behind this regional momentum, the project found that there is considerable room for increased US participation in the near term, and US leadership and contributions to multilateral problem solving in the region.