Southeast Asia

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Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia form the bulk of Southeast Asia, a region that has experienced significant economic development in recent decades but also faces ethnonationalism and security concerns. RAND has investigated these issues as well as the region's relations with the United States, the former Soviet bloc countries, China, and Japan.

  • China with sunset on Earth

    Report

    China's Engagement with the Developing World

    Oct 16, 2018

    Engaging with developing countries offers China economic growth and global influence. What are the consequences of Beijing's strategy toward the developing world for the United States?

  • The Eiffel tower is illuminated in green with the words "Paris Agreement Is Done" to celebrate the Paris U.N. COP21 Climate Change agreement in Paris, France, November 4, 2016

    Report

    U.S. Policy in Asia Under the Trump Administration

    Apr 18, 2018

    A conference on U.S. policy in Asia explored the arenas of U.S.-Asia engagement, developed an understanding of the outcomes of past interaction, and made the case for the terms of future engagement. Topics included climate change, trade and investment, national security, human rights, and macroeconomic issues.

Explore Southeast Asia

  • Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, observes ship formation from the USS Nimitz in the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Vietnam Must Be Pleased with the Biden Administration—for the Most Part

    After four years of steadily strengthening U.S.-Vietnam security relations under the Trump administration, the presidential transition to Joe Biden naturally carries some measure of uncertainty for Hanoi. Early signs from the Biden administration, however, are extremely positive for Vietnam.

    Mar 16, 2021

  • Exploring Workplace Financial Wellbeing Interventions

    Multimedia

    Exploring Workplace Financial Wellbeing Interventions

    Workplace financial wellbeing interventions could offer a key means for addressing rising financial concerns and mental health issues in the workplace. In this video, Christian van Stolk and Jennifer Bousfield describe their findings from an extensive analysis of British and Asian workplace survey data.

    Mar 9, 2021

  • Blog

    Reducing Hospital Prices, Vaccinating the Most Active, Myanmar: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on regulating hospital prices to cut spending, a COVID-19 vaccine strategy that prioritizes “active” people, what the Capitol attack means for security clearances, and more.

    Feb 19, 2021

  • A person shows the three-finger. salute in front of a placard with the image of Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 15, 2021, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Myanmar's Coup and Its Recent Elections: Institutions Matter

    What was the Myanmar military's calculus in deciding to stage a coup against the civilian-led government? The history of coups and elections provides some insights.

    Feb 15, 2021

  • Blog

    Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, COVID-19 Variants, Myanmar: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on alternatives in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military, how couples can sleep better during the pandemic, and more.

    Feb 12, 2021

  • Myanmar Army armored vehicles drive along a street after they seized power in a coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, February 2, 2021, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Myanmar Coup: First Foreign Policy Test for President Biden

    Shortly after dawn on February 1, Myanmar's military staged a coup against the nation's fledgling civilian government. There are no easy solutions, and how the Biden administration responds will be widely seen as a template for other thorny situations in the future.

    Feb 9, 2021

  • An elderly couple sit at a table reviewing financial documents. Photo by South_agency / Getty Images

    Journal Article

    Financial Literacy and Financial Decision-Making at Older Ages

    This paper examines how financial literacy is associated with three types of financial decisions pertinent to older individuals: adherence to timely credit card repayment, stock market participation, and risk diversification of household assets.

    Feb 9, 2021

  • A Vietnamese naval soldier stands guard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago January 17, 2013, photo by Quang Le/Reuters

    Commentary

    How U.S.-Vietnam Ties Might Go Off the Rails

    Although there are valid reasons to question the trajectory of U.S.-Vietnam relations in the coming years, the overwhelming momentum is positive and is likely to stay that way. Any frictions that arise will probably be handled diplomatically to avoid greater damage to the relationship. But of course, nothing is guaranteed.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • Piles of files, photo by Ioana Davies (Drutu)/AdobeStock

    Journal Article

    Illicit Synthetic Opioid Consumption in Asia and the Pacific: Assessing the Risks of a Potential Outbreak

    While many illegally manufactured potent synthetic opioids (IMPSO) are produced in Asia, there is little evidence they have entered markets there. We consider the susceptibility to IMPSO's encroachment in markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilot flies alongside two Indonesian air force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilots over the Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, Indonesia

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia

    In this report, the author examines whether and how the United States can increase its cooperation with Indonesia in order to manage China's rise as a strategic competitor to the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Jan 21, 2021

  • Sailors on the USS McCampbell signal to an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter during a training exercise in the South China Sea, July 22, 2016, photo by MC3 Elesia K. Patten/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    What Does Vietnam Want from the United States in the South China Sea?

    Over the last few years, tensions between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea have remained high. While the Biden administration is likely to continue positive momentum in bilateral ties, it is less clear what specifically Hanoi seeks from Washington to help it effectively deter Beijing.

    Jan 4, 2021

  • Blog

    Civic Education, 'Vaccine Nationalism,' Polar Icebreakers: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to revive civic education in America's public schools, the costs of "vaccine nationalism," why the United States needs more polar icebreaking ships, and more.

    Dec 11, 2020

  • U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a speech at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, November 25, 2020, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Issues Will Biden Prioritize in the Indo-Pacific?

    The security challenges facing the incoming Biden administration are likely to remain largely the same as those in 2020. The increasing geopolitical, military, and economic heft of the Indo-Pacific region means the United States will likely continue to prioritize this region in 2021.

    Dec 10, 2020

  • U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. with precision-guided munitions among other defense articles during a turnover ceremony, at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 23, 2020, photo by Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Philippines Is Sticking Right by America's Side

    The election of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 raised concerns around Washington that he would undermine and perhaps even undo the U.S.-Philippines alliance in favor of closer ties with China. More than four years on, however, Manila continues to prioritize Washington over Beijing.

    Dec 2, 2020

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers stand on a ship sailing off from a military port in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, July 11, 2017, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Could Benefit from Keeping an Indo-Pacific Focus

    U.S. President-elect Joe Biden may be poised to reverse many of President Donald Trump's policies, but one that is very likely to remain is the Indo-Pacific strategy. Any changes will probably be stylistic rather than substantive.

    Nov 30, 2020

  • An F-22 Raptor conducts a combat air patrol mission over an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, September 13, 2019, photo by MSgt. Russ Scalf/U.S. Air Force

    Research Brief

    Who Has More Influence in the Indo-Pacific, the United States or China?

    Neither the United States nor China is clearly winning the competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. China has more economic influence, and the United States has more diplomatic and military sway. But partners generally value economic development over security concerns.

    Nov 12, 2020

  • The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey transits the Pacific Ocean while participating in Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC)

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Study Overview and Conclusions

    The authors define U.S.-China competition for influence and assess competition in nine countries across the Indo-Pacific to gain insight into how the United States could work more effectively with allies and partners in Southeast Asia and beyond.

    Nov 12, 2020

  • A U.S. pilot stands next to a member of the Republic of Singapore Air Force

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Singapore

    In this report, the authors assess the impact of the changes in China's strategic behavior and U.S.-China relations over the past decade on Singapore in terms of its security policies and relationships in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Nov 12, 2020

  • A U.S. sailor demonstrates patching a pipe leak during a damage control exchange during naval exchange activity Vietnam.

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Vietnam

    This report explores Vietnam's perspective on rising U.S.-China competition by evaluating how Vietnam is responding to U.S. and Chinese influence in diplomatic and political, economic, and security and military domains.

    Nov 12, 2020

  • Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith (L) and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi following a meeting in Beijing, China, August 3, 2016, photo by Rolex Dela Pena/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vietnam Is Losing Its Best Friends to China

    The wide range of Chinese activities with Cambodia and Laos must be jarring for Vietnamese leaders. China has eclipsed Vietnam in Indochina, and that means that Hanoi's angst will only continue to rise in its own backyard. Vietnam will likely have to find alternative means of engaging Cambodia and Laos to combat Chinese influence in this critical region in the years to come.

    Nov 2, 2020