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

  • 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

  • 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

    In long-term strategic competition with China, how effectively the United States works with allies and partners will be critical to determining U.S. success. The authors of this report define U.S.-China competition for influence and assess relative U.S.-Chinese influence 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Emerging Infectious Disease, the Household Built Environment Characteristics, and Urban Planning: Evidence on Avian Influenza in Vietnam

    This study examines the relationship between the mix of household-scale water supplies, sanitation systems, and construction materials, and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza among poultry in Vietnam.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships and fighter jets take part in a military display in the South China Sea, April 12, 2018

    Commentary

    America's Indo-Pacific Vision Is Becoming a Reality—Because of China

    The Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy has received a significant boost in recent months toward achieving its goal of keeping the region “free and open” from Chinese coercion. Ironically, China itself has been doing the boosting.

    Sep 14, 2020

  • Silhouette of several militants with rifles, photo by zabelin/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Are Counter Violent Extremism Interventions Effective?

    Government efforts to counter the propaganda and radicalization that lead to violent extremism are becoming more common around the world, but there's little research on whether such programs work. It is critical to conduct more research to tease out which programs are most effective.

    Sep 11, 2020

  • Dilapidated structures are seen in Marawi City, Philippines, May 11, 2019, abandoned two years since pro-Islamic State militants began their attacks there, photo by Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

    Project

    Evaluating Programs That Counter Violent Extremism

    Countries around the world are fighting a growing threat of violent extremism. Many have begun implementing countering violent extremism (CVE) interventions to prevent radicalization. Have these programs been effective?

    Sep 9, 2020

  • A row of young people looking at their phones

    Report

    Promoting Peace as the Antidote to Violent Extremism: Evaluation of a Philippines-Based Tech Camp and Peace Promotion Fellowship

    This report contains an evaluation of and recommendations from a countering violent extremism (CVE)–themed set of tech camps and fellowships in the Philippines. This report also contains research from a study of CVE radio programming on Mindanao.

    Sep 9, 2020

  • A mobile phone near an illustration of a network

    Report

    Countering Violent Extremism in Indonesia: Using an Online Panel Survey to Assess a Social Media Counter-Messaging Campaign

    This report presents the results of an evaluation designed to assess the effects of countering violent extremism–themed social media content used in a campaign to promote tolerance, freedom of speech, and rejection of violence in Indonesia.

    Sep 9, 2020

  • Photograph image of Philippine flag standing on a war torn city of Marawi in the Philippines.

    Report

    Countering Violent Extremism in the Philippines: A Snapshot of Current Challenges and Responses

    In this report, RAND researchers provide a snapshot of the terrorist and extremist threats facing the Philippines and the countering violent extremism efforts that the Philippine government and nongovernmental agencies have undertaken in response.

    Sep 9, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, March 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Report

    How Does North Korean Leadership Make Decisions?

    With talks between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, U.S. policymakers must consider what the regime might do next and know what signs or decisions to look for. Will Kim open the DPRK economy? What if conventional deterrence fails on the Korean Peninsula? And what could lead to the use of nuclear weapons?

    Aug 20, 2020

  • President Donald J. Trump visits Vietnam, November 11, 2017, photo by Shealah Craighead/White House

    Commentary

    What Does Vietnam Think About America's Indo-Pacific Strategy?

    The South China Sea is where the rubber meets the road for U.S.-Vietnam security ties, and in this regard, Hanoi has gone as far as it is comfortable. Washington should expect Vietnam to continue seeking balance between China, which has economic and military superiority over it, and the United States, which can help offset Chinese power.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, November 20, 2018, photo by Mark Cristino/Reuters

    Commentary

    China Refuses to Quit on the Philippines

    When the Filipino people elected Rodrigo Duterte to become their next president in May 2016, China saw a distinct opportunity to pull the longtime U.S. ally away from Washington and into Beijing's strategic orbit. But it remains to be seen how the long-term geopolitical competition between the United States and China over the Philippines will play out.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • The U.S. 7th Fleet amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) approaches the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Base East on Garden Island in Sydney July 15, 2013, U.S. Navy Photo

    Commentary

    The Indo-Pacific Contest: It Could be Time for Fresh Ideas on Allied Security Cooperation

    U.S. and Australian interests in the Pacific and Southeast Asia face unprecedented challenges from China, and Australia may not be able to handle them on its own. Momentum is growing for heightened cooperation between Australia and the United States.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • Commercial Book

    Commercial Book

    Institution Building in Weak States: The Primacy of Local Politics

    The international community‘s approach to building state institutions needs its own reform. This innovative book proposes a new strategy, rooted in a rigorous analysis of recent missions.

    Jun 26, 2020