Challenging ASEAN:The US Pivot Through Southeast Asia’s Eyes

December 2012

By Donald K. Emmerson

The US pivot toward Asia has been viewed largely through the lens of American security and economic competition with China.

Within that context, writes Donald K. Emmerson, Washington is also deepening its involvement in ASEAN in terms of both security and trade. At stake is ASEAN’s vaunted centrality as it negotiates a path between the two big powers.

Informed American observers tend to hold clear-cut opinions about the Obama administration’s “pivot” toward Asia. Some like it because it challenges China; they hope it will deter hegemony. Others dislike it for challenging China too much; they worry about a new cold war. Still others are selective; they like some parts of the pivot but not others.

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