Among the titans who bestride the analytical world of Asian security studies, few have been as consummate a student of the region as emeritus professor Sheldon Simon, who recently retired from academia after 48 years at Arizona State University. In an illustrious career spanning over five decades, Professor Simon—“Shell” to his friends and colleagues—has assiduously observed and analyzed developments in Asia and its subregions from the Cold War to the present. In honor of this Asia watcher extraordinaire, this Asia Policy roundtable features a collection of short essays on the themes and issues, both enduring and emerging, that have occupied his attention as an analyst and a scholar. The ten authors assembled for this festschrift include former students, collaborators past and present, and long-time friends and admirers. In addition to their voices, Simon has furnished his personal retrospective reflection on the region.
William Tow leads off the roundtable with an analysis of the continuities and contradictions of the Trump administration’s Asia policy. He worries over what the hollowing out of Asia expertise within the U.S. leadership might mean for the stability and security of the region. Kai He follows by examining the growing strategic interdependence between China, as the Gulliver of Asia, and the Southeast Asian countries, as the region’s Lilliputians. His essay ends with the cautiously optimistic suggestion that the way interdependent ties are being institutionalized possibly implies a regional outcome more peaceful than many analysts have allowed. Kevin Cooney contends that Japan’s policy toward Asia has been “purpose driven” rather than ad hoc, as evidenced by Tokyo’s astonishing adaptability in a rapidly evolving regional security environment. Chris Lundry examines the persistent gap between Indonesia’s grand aspirations, on the one hand, and its limited capabilities and capacity to realize those aspirations, on the other. He concludes that Indonesia is unlikely to forgo its hitherto strong commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), despite the Joko Widodo administration’s purported preference for bilateralism.
Last updated on 26/11/2018