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An American Strategy for Southeast Asia
27 Mar 2019

The American Enterprise Institute report, An American Strategy for Southeast Asia, authored by Michael Mazza, was presented at the book launch held in Singapore on 27 March 2019. Mr Mazza outlined the key findings of his research. First, the geostrategic centrality and economic importance of Southeast Asia, and why the region matters to the US was highlighted. Second, Mr Mazza put forth the objectives of the US Government meant to shape a Southeast Asia which: i) is at peace with its neighbors, in which states interact ... more

The American Enterprise Institute report, An American Strategy for Southeast Asia, authored by Michael Mazza, was presented at the book launch held in Singapore on 27 March 2019. Mr Mazza outlined the key findings of his research. First, the geostrategic centrality and economic importance of Southeast Asia, and why the region matters to the US was highlighted. Second, Mr Mazza put forth the objectives of the US Government meant to shape a Southeast Asia which: i) is at peace with its neighbors, in which states interact peacefully with one another, and in which open access to the global commons is assured; ii) embraces free-market economics, is more deeply integrated with global trade and financial flows, and prospers as a result; and iii) hosts resilient, responsive, and accountable governments and is, over the longer term, free and democratic.

Towards those ends, Mr Mazza called for a more comprehensive US strategy with security, economic, and governance pillars. For example, with respect to security, besides emphasis on building capacities to tackle non-traditional security issues such as transnational terrorism in the region, he also proposed forming a sub-group of likeminded countries within the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus to tackle the South China Sea issues. On the politico-economic front, Mr Mazza called for the building of resilience in Southeast Asian societies through an emphasis on good governance. With respect to this last proposal, he emphasised the need for both the US and Southeast Asian countries to discuss their differing notions of governance, especially concerning human development and human rights issues.

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