Hedging, Over Commitment, and the Escalating Risk of Conflict in Southeast Asia

Hunter Marston IV, Thomas Bruce

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

    Abstract

    Throughout U.S. President Donald Trumps four years in office, the risk of war in Asia has been alarmingly high. From nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea, to ongoing disputes over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, to escalating Chinese threats to Taiwans security, there are numerous potential flashpoints in Northeast Asia that will demand the next administrations resources and attention all amid the overarching great power competition with China. While these threats remain pressing, the next administration would be wise to shift its attention to Southeast Asia, which has emerged as the epicenter of U.S.-China rivalry and more likely site for superpower conflict. Although the potential for smaller powers to kick off a localized conflict should not be ruled out, the real danger stems from the likelihood of the United States and China overreaching by misreading ambiguous alignment of smaller powers in Southeast Asia as they compete for influence and allies.
    Original languageEnglish
    No.October issue
    Specialist publicationThe Diplomat
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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