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China’s geopolitical ambitions and growing military capabilities and theSoutheast Asian states’ perceptions of a rising China will play a crucial role in shaping the future of Southeast Asia and the U.S. military posture in the region. The authors examine the role of regional states in developing a hedge against the possible emergence of an overly aggressive China. They find that rather than confronting a conventional attack, theUnited States and the Southeast Asian countries are likely to find a continuation of China’s creeping irredentism and ambiguous threats. Southeast Asia is likely to prove a critical testing ground for a third way of dealing with China’s rising power — what in other RAND work has been called a policy of congagement — that seeks to integrate China into theinternational system while both deterring and preparing for a possible Chinese challenge. The report recommends that the United States adopt an incremental approach to this hedging strategy, focusing on peacetime military engagement with Southeast Asian states, development of a more robust and diversified network of access arrangements, and strengthened military ties with the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia,and Vietnam.

Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    U.S. Objectives and Interests in Southeast Asia PDF

  • Chapter Three

    China’s Potential Military Threat to Southeast Asia PDF

  • Chapter Four

    ASEAN Perceptions of a Rising China PDF

  • Chapter Five

    ASEAN Defense Policies and Expenditures PDF

  • Chapter Six

    Regional Approaches to Security Cooperation PDF

  • Chapter Seven

    The Balancing Role of the United States and the Taiwan Question PDF

  • Chapter Eight

    Implications for U.S. Strategy and Defense Planning PDF

  • Appendix

    Illustrative Asian Economic Scenarios PDF

  • Bibliography

    Selected Bibliography PDF

Research conducted by

This research was conducted within RAND’s Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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