Southeast Asia

Featured

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.

  • Commentary

    With ASEAN Paralyzed, Southeast Asia Seeks New Security Ties

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations tirelessly proclaims its centrality to the region, but its inability to develop a coherent response to Chinese aggression or the crisis in Myanmar has effectively killed that claim. ASEAN members will inevitably continue to seek out alternative paths.

    Sep 18, 2023

  • Report

    How Would U.S. Allies View Changes in Washington's Relationship with Taiwan?

    The debate in Washington over Taiwan often overlooks a crucial question: How would America's regional allies respond to possible changes in U.S. policy toward the island? Researchers explored the perspectives of Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

    Jul 20, 2023

Explore Southeast Asia

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation on the government's efforts in addressing COVID-19 at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 11, 2020, photo by Ace Morandante/Philippines Office of the President

    Commentary

    China Just Botched a Monumental Opportunity with the Philippines

    China hailed Philippines President Duterte's announcement in February of an end to the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in six months as evidence the United States was losing the great power competition with China in the Indo-Pacific. But on June 2, Duterte decided to postpone the VFA termination, breathing new life into the decades-long agreement.

    Jun 18, 2020

  • A Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft performs during the International Army Games 2016, in Dubrovichi outside Ryazan, Russia, August 5, 2016, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Value of Systematic Assessments of Weapons Procurement

    Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and inevitable economic difficulties, national governments should be encouraged to weigh their military requirements in a more cost-effective manner. Countries need to think strategically about the life cycle costs of equipment, not just the original purchase price.

    Jun 8, 2020

  • Mi-17 helicopters fly in formation during military exercises at the firing ground Koktal in Almaty Region, Kazakhstan, May 3, 2019, photo by Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Are Military Purchases in SE Asia for Political Balancing a Good Use of National Defense Resources?

    The Philippines has embarked upon a multi-phase, multi-year modernization of its armed forces, but some of the acquisition decisions appear to be driven by political symbolism rather than responsible military decisions. Using military procurement for political symbolism and paying a high price for it takes resources away from other pressing national security and domestic needs.

    May 7, 2020

  • A view shows JDC Hakuryu-5 deep water drilling platform in the South China Sea off the coast of Vung Tau, Vietnam, April 29, 2018, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reviewing Vietnam's 'Struggle' Options in the South China Sea

    Once again, Chinese assertiveness against Vietnam in the South China Sea is on the rise. Vietnam has publicly protested each Chinese move, but these statements have yet to alter Beijing's bad behavior. Among its many options, Hanoi could look to Washington for further assistance.

    May 4, 2020

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meet in Beijing, China, August 30, 2019, photo by How Hwee Young/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    There's Still Life in the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would terminate the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Washington and Manila have until August 9 to save it or negotiate a new VFA to avert any further alliance crisis.

    May 4, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    U.S.–Japan Alliance Conference: Regional Perspectives on the Quadrilateral Dialogue and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific

    These proceedings capture assessments by regional experts presented at a March 2019 conference on the topic of the "free and open Indo-Pacific" and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue as seen by India, Australia, and Indonesia.

    Apr 13, 2020

  • Naval ships from India, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the United States steam in formation in the Bay of Bengal during Exercise Malabar, September 5, 2007, photo by MCSN Stephen Rowe/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    'Quad Plus' Meetings Won't Cover China

    The “Quad” countries met with several non-Quad countries to help each other amid the coronavirus pandemic. For all the good that can come of these countries working together, the Quad Plus, if sustained, may eventually jeopardize the Quad's primary mission: to counter China's assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

    Apr 9, 2020

  • A Chinese flag flutters on a fishing boat while a China Coast Guard patrols at the disputed Scarborough Shoal April 5, 2017, photo by Erik de Castro/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Short History of China's Fishing Militia and What It May Tell Us

    China's armed fishing militia plays an instrumental role in Beijing's strategy to enforce its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Why did Beijing create a maritime militia to begin with and how has it evolved over time? What does this history suggest about its future?

    Apr 6, 2020