The United States Programme (USP) at RSIS launched “Engaging the Eagle – Exploring US Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia,” a podcast series aimed at exploring Washington’s contemporary ties with its Southeast Asian partners. In comparison to the array of podcasts on US strategy and competition with China and Southeast Asian politics that are already ongoing, USP hopes to shine a specific light on the complex intersection of these issues in Southeast Asia.
It is sometimes tempting to analyse the region solely through the lens of great power competition. This approach reduces Southeast Asian countries to pawns instead of geopolitical actors. It overlooks the fact that bilateral engagement with the US is underpinned by history and shaped by contemporary forces and domestic political imperatives. Moreover, given that many regional governments hedge between Washington, Beijing, and Japan, increased engagement with one country does not mean that the Southeast Asian country in question has permanently chosen a side. By convening a variety of regional experts on geopolitics, security and economics, USP hopes to show the nuances behind these interactions which might otherwise be overlooked.
The inaugural episode on US-Indonesia ties was released in mid-February and attracted listeners from Singapore, the US, and Indonesia. This will be an ongoing podcast series, with new episodes released regularly for the rest of 2023.
Listen here: https://anchor.fm/usp-rsis