The US Rebalance in Southeast Asia: Maritime Security, Nontraditional Security Threats, and “Bamboo Diplomacy”
Even if “Southeast Asia” (SEA) is a recent concept, rooted in World War II,1 and even if heterogeneous toponyms have been used in the past to encompass parts or the entire region—such as Indochina, Insulindia, and Australasia2—this area has consistently been considered throughout history as a critical maritime lock between the East and the West. Because of the seasonal monsoons, indianized thalassocracies like the Funan and Sriwijaya as well as trade sultanates like Malacca and Demak took advantage of this strategic crossroads to successively manage the coasts and to shelter Indian, Chinese, Arab, and Western merchants. Today, Southeast Asia continues to be a critical node for travelers and traders, formal and informal flows, civilian and military people: the airports ofJakarta, Singapore, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur are respectively the eighth, tenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth biggest airports in the world in terms of passenger traffic3; Singapore is both the fourth biggest financial hub and the second port for containers in the world; in terms of oil flows, in 2011, 15.2 million barrels per day crossed the Malacca Straits while only 3.8 passed through Bab el Mandeb, in the Gulf of Aden.4 The region is made up of archipelagic states (Indonesia: 17,000 islands; Philippines: 7,000 islands) and many of its straits can be used by both merchant vessels and warships.
KeywordsTerritorial Dispute Transnational Crime Maritime Security Military Presence Police Cooperation
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Abbott, Jason, Developmentalism and Dependency in Southeast Asia: The Case of the Automotive Industry, London: Routledge, 2004.Google Scholar
- Agustina, W., S. J. Hakim, and A. Fikri, “Weapons of Mass Corruption,” Tempo, November 4, 2012, p. 16.Google Scholar
- Al Araf, Anton Aliabbas, “Will 100 Leopards be Enough to Defend Our Country?,” The Jakarta Post, July 10, 2012.Google Scholar
- Anwar, Dewi Fortuna 2013, “An Indonesian Perspective on the U.S. Rebalancing Effort toward Asia,” The National Bureau of Asian Research—Commentary, February 26, 2013.Google Scholar
- ASEAN, ASEAN, China and India: Comparative Economic Performance, Issues and Implications, Jakarta: Studies Unit Paper, no. 09, November 2006, p. 8.Google Scholar
- The Asia Foundation, “Trustees and Officers.” Available online at http://asiafoundation.org/about/trustees-and-officers.php (accessed in May 2014).
- BBC, “US and Philippines begin annual military exercises,” BBC News—Asia, May 5, 2014.Google Scholar
- Bitzinger, Richard, “The China Syndrome: Chinese Military Modernization and the Rearming of Southeast Asia,” RSIS Working Papers, no. 126, 2007.Google Scholar
- —, “Defence Diplomacy towards Southeast Asia,” in See Seng Tan and Bhubhindar Singh, Boots to Brogues: The Rise of Defence Diplomacy in Southeast Asia, Singapore: RSIS Monography 21, 2011.Google Scholar
- Christian Le Mière, “Security Dilemma? Naval Competition and Arms Racing in Asia,” Paper presented at the annual seminar for the Observatory on Southeast Asia, Paris, April 30, 2014.Google Scholar
- Collin, Koh Swee Lean, “Submarines in Southeast Asia: Proliferation, Not a Race,” The Diplomat, January 30, 2014.Google Scholar
- Conboy, Ken, The Second Front: Inside Jemaah Islamiyah, Asia’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Network, Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2005.Google Scholar
- Cordner, Lee, “The Spratly Islands Dispute and the Law ofthe Sea,” Ocean Development and International Law, vol. 25, no. 1, 1994.Google Scholar
- De Tréglodé, Benoît, “Le verrou de Balabac (Philippines), un nouveau point stratégique en Mer de Chine méridionale ?” (The “Balabac lock” (Philippines), a new strategic spot in South China Sea?), Lettre de l’IRSEM 2, 2013.Google Scholar
- Denmark Abraham et al., “Regional Perspectives on US Strategic Rebalancing,” Asia Policy, no. 15, January 2013.Google Scholar
- Dupuy, Florian and Pierre-Marie Dupuy, “A Legal Analysis of China’s Historic Rights Claim in the South China Sea,” The American Journal of International Law, vol. 107, no. 1, 2013.Google Scholar
- Gertz Bill, “Inside the Ring: China Readies for ‘Short, Sharp’ War with Japan,” The Washington Times, February 19, 2014.Google Scholar
- Gordon, David and Samuel Lindo, “Jemaah Islamiyah,” CSIS Case Study 6, November 2011.Google Scholar
- Haass, Richard, The Reluctant Sheriff The United States After the Cold War, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1997.Google Scholar
- Harner, Stephen, “US Policy, Not China, Is Driving the Asian Arms Race,” Forbes, April 6, 2014.Google Scholar
- Heydarian, Richard, “US Pivot Sparks Asian Arms Race,” AsiaTimes, January 17, 2013.Google Scholar
- Ho, Joshua, “Cooperative Mechanisms in the Malacca Straits,” Paper presented at the International Maritime Security Conference, Singapore, May 14, 2009.Google Scholar
- —, “The Straits ofMalacca and Singapore: Ensuring Safe and Efficient Shipping,” RSIS Commentaries, December 3, 2009.Google Scholar
- IISS, “Shangri-La Dialogue: The IISS Asia Security Summit.” Available at https://www.iiss.org/en/events/shangri-s-la-s-dialogue/about-shangri-la (accessed June 4, 2014).
- IMB Piracy Reporting Center, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships—Report for the Period 1 January–31 December 2013, London: ICC-CCS, 2014.Google Scholar
- Kouar, Mehdi, “Chine et Asie du Sud-est: une course aux armements à relativiser” (China and Southeast Asia: a nuance on the arms race), Etudes marines, no. 3, January 2013.Google Scholar
- Liow, Joseph, “Scoring Obama’s ‘Reassurance’ Tour of Asia,” The National Interest, May 4, 2014.Google Scholar
- Logistics Group Western Pacific Public Affairs, “SEACAT 2013 Exercise Builds Multilateral Cooperation in Maritime Southeast Asia,” America’s Navy, NNS130902–03, February 9, 2013. Available at http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story-id=76306 (accessed May 2014).
- Lum, Thomas and Ben Dolven, “The Republic of the Philippines and US Interests— 2014,” Congressional Research Service, May 15, 2014. Cf. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43498.pdf.
- Mahadzir, Dzirhan, “Malaysian CDF Bumps up COIN Role and Pushes for Harmed Helos,” IHS Jane’s, September 18, 2013.Google Scholar
- —, “Malaysian Naval Chief Says Procurements Unlikely in 2014 Given Fiscal Climate,” IHS Jane’s, January 10, 2014.Google Scholar
- Majid, Munir, “Southeast Asia between China and the United States,” in LCE-IDEAS, The New Geopolitics of Southeast Asia, LCE-IDEAS, 2012.Google Scholar
- Manh Hung, Nguyen, “Oil Crisis in the South China Sea Prompts Vietnam to Consider Stronger Ties with the United States,” CogitASIA—CSIS, May 30, 2014. Available at http://cogitasia.com/oil-crisis-in-the-south-china-sea-prompts-vietnam-to-consider-stronger-ties-with-the-united-states/ (accessed in May 2014).
- Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, “Carriage Capacity of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore,” Working Paper, 2009.Google Scholar
- “MRSS For RMN In RMK-11,” Malaysia Flying Herald, April 28, 2014. Available at http://malaysiaflyingherald.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/mrss-for-rmn-in-rmk-11/ (accessed in May 2014).
- O’Rourke, Ronald, China Naval Modernization: Implications for US Navy Capabilities— Background and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, February 3, 2011.Google Scholar
- Pelletier, Philippe, L’Extrême-orient: l’invention d’une histoire et d’une géographie (The Far East: invention of a history and of a geography), Paris: Gallimard, 2011.Google Scholar
- Poling, Gregory “The Philippines’ South China Sea Memorial: Sailing into the Wind,” CSIS — Southeast Asia, vol. 5, no. 7, April 3, 2014.Google Scholar
- Remo, Michelle, “PH-China Economic Relations Seen to Remain Unaffected by Territorial Disputes,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 20, 2014.Google Scholar
- Santos, Matikas, “China to US: Back Off on Sea Row with PH,” The Inquirer, March 14, 2014.Google Scholar
- —, “Could US Get Sucked Into War?,” The Diplomat, May 15, 2012.Google Scholar
- Sciascia, Alban, “Gotong Royong: la coopération sécuritaire américano-indonésienne depuis 2001. Analyse d’un partenariat stratégique en devenir par le prisme de la sécurité maritime” (Gotong Royong: US-Indonesia Security Cooperation since 2001. Survey of a Strategic Partnership-to-be through Maritime Security), PhD diss., Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon, 2012.Google Scholar
- Singh, Bilveer, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia: Losing the War on Terror to Islamist Extremists, Westport: Praeger, 2007.Google Scholar
- Song, Yann-huei, “Security in the Strait of Malacca and the Regional Maritime Security Initiative: Responses to the US Proposal,” in Michael D. Carsten (ed.), Global Legal Challenges: Command of the Commons, Strategic Communications, and Natural Disasters, Newport: US Naval War College, 2007, pp. 98–156.Google Scholar
- Supriyanto, Ristian Atriandi, “Indonesia’s South China Sea Dilemma: Between Neutrality and Self-Interest,” RSIS Commentaries, July 12, 2012.Google Scholar
- Tachikawa, Kyoichi, “Significance of the Pacific War for Southeast Asia,” The Legacy and Implications of the Pacific War, NIDS International Forum on War History: Proceedings, 2013, pp. 67–75.Google Scholar
- Tan, See Seng and Bhubhindar Singh, Boots to Brogues: The Rise of Defence Diplomacy in Southeast Asia, Singapore: RSIS Monography 21, 2011.Google Scholar
- “Thailand’s Bamboo Diplomacy Blows in the Wind,” Asia Sentinel, October 13, 2010.Google Scholar
- Thayer, Carl, “‘Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick’: What Is Malaysia Playing At?,” The Diplomat, February 28, 2014.Google Scholar
- United Nations Institute of Peace, “Glossary of Terms of Conflict Management and Peacebuilding.” Available at http://glossary.usip.org/resource/tracks-diplomacy (accessed April 2014).
- UNODC, “Indonesia: Trafficking and Organized Crime.” Available at https://www.unodc.org/indonesia/trafficking-organized-crime.html (accessed May 2014).
- US Department of Defense, AirSea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges, May 2013.Google Scholar
- —, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2013.Google Scholar
- “Vietnam Adopts a More Assertive Stance in Maritime Disputes,” The Economist, April 18, 2013.Google Scholar
- Wahyono, Pujo, Transnational Crime and Security Threats in Indonesia, Carlisle Barracks: US Army War College—Strategy Research Project, 2010.Google Scholar
- Weeks, Stanley, “Maritime Cooperation and ‘Regime’ Building: New Initiatives for Maritime Co-Operation,” Maritime Security in the Asia-Pacific, Report of a Conference Organized by the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, Singapore: IDSS, 2004.Google Scholar
- Yee, Andy, “Vietnam and the Philippines: Assertiveness in the South China Sea,” East Asia Forum, September 14, 2014.Google Scholar