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“Signs are Taken for Wonders. ‘We Would See a Sign’” : The Trump Administration and Southeast Asia

“Signs are Taken for Wonders. ‘We Would See a Sign’” : The Trump Administration and Southeast Asia “Signs are Taken for Wonders. ‘We Would See a Sign’”1: The Trump Administration and Southeast Asia A month into the tumultuous Trump administration, no key officials directly relevant to US–Southeast Asia relations had been nominated, although a torrent of Tweets as well as spasmodic statements and a handful of high-level official visits provided clues, albeit mixed, about the prospects for ties between the United States and Southeast Asia — a region that is among America’s top five global trade partners, the most important destination in Asia for foreign direct investment, home to two treaty allies and a growing number of politico-security partners, and a location of geo-political, geo-economic and order contestation among multiple major powers.2 In such uncertain circumstances, it may be useful to consider prospective US–Southeast Asia relations through the prism of six unique elements of the Trump administration and the six “key lines of action” of the Obama administration’s arguably most comprehensive, integrated and active Southeast Asia policy since 1945. Surprisingly, an analysis based on these two prisms lead to an assessment arguing more for continuity than change, less drama than fireworks and more professionalism than ad hocism in US–Southeast Asia relations. is the Director of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

“Signs are Taken for Wonders. ‘We Would See a Sign’” : The Trump Administration and Southeast Asia

“Signs are Taken for Wonders. ‘We Would See a Sign’” : The Trump Administration and Southeast Asia


“Signs are Taken for Wonders. ‘We Would See a Sign’”1: The Trump Administration and Southeast Asia A month into the tumultuous Trump administration, no key officials directly relevant to US–Southeast Asia relations had been nominated, although a torrent of Tweets as well as spasmodic statements and a handful of high-level official visits provided clues, albeit mixed, about the prospects for ties between the United States and Southeast Asia — a region that is among America’s top five global trade partners, the most important destination in Asia for foreign direct investment, home to two treaty allies and a growing number of politico-security partners, and a location of geo-political, geo-economic and order contestation among multiple major powers.2 In such uncertain circumstances, it may be useful to consider prospective US–Southeast Asia relations through the prism of six unique elements of the Trump administration and the six “key lines of action” of the Obama administration’s arguably most comprehensive, integrated and active Southeast Asia policy since 1945. Surprisingly, an analysis based on these two prisms lead to an assessment arguing more for continuity than change, less drama than fireworks and more professionalism than ad hocism in US–Southeast Asia relations. is the Director of the East–West Center in Washington. Postal address: 1819 L Street NW Suite 600 Washington, D.C. 20036; email: limayes@eastwestcenter.org. 01 Roundtable-3P.indd 15 The first unique characteristic of the Trump administration is its ongoing divergences with the “mainstream” Republican and Democratic foreign and defence policy leaderships in Congress. Tellingly, even during the fractious presidential campaign, a...
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Publisher
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Copyright
Copyright © The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
ISSN
1793-284X
Publisher site
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Abstract

“Signs are Taken for Wonders. ‘We Would See a Sign’”1: The Trump Administration and Southeast Asia A month into the tumultuous Trump administration, no key officials directly relevant to US–Southeast Asia relations had been nominated, although a torrent of Tweets as well as spasmodic statements and a handful of high-level official visits provided clues, albeit mixed, about the prospects for ties between the United States and Southeast Asia — a region that is among America’s top five global trade partners, the most important destination in Asia for foreign direct investment, home to two treaty allies and a growing number of politico-security partners, and a location of geo-political, geo-economic and order contestation among multiple major powers.2 In such uncertain circumstances, it may be useful to consider prospective US–Southeast Asia relations through the prism of six unique elements of the Trump administration and the six “key lines of action” of the Obama administration’s arguably most comprehensive, integrated and active Southeast Asia policy since 1945. Surprisingly, an analysis based on these two prisms lead to an assessment arguing more for continuity than change, less drama than fireworks and more professionalism than ad hocism in US–Southeast Asia relations. is the Director of

Journal

Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic AffairsInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies

Published: May 5, 2017

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