Libmonster ID: U.S.-1513

At present, we are witnessing a change in the polarity of the system of international relations: globally, the "center of gravity" is gradually shifting from West to East. The modern" growth engine " of the global economy is increasingly referred to as the Asia-Pacific region (APR), which already accounts for up to 55% of GDP and 45% of world trade. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations can play the most active system-forming and integration role in this macro-region. ASEAN in the 21st Century includes not only the ten Southeast Asian countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), but also related partner formats such as ASEAN-plus, the ASEAN Regional Security Forum (ARF), and the East Asia Summits (EAC).

Against this background, the US President B. Obama has clearly identified a new long-term regional priority of American foreign policy - the Asia-Pacific region1. Obviously,

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In this context, the democratic administration will pay considerable attention to South-East Asia.

During the 1940s and 2000s, US relations with Southeast Asian countries were undulating: an active, interested, and" aggressive " presence until the early 1970s; passive," aggrieved " surveillance from the outside in the 1970s and 1990s; and virtually ignoring the region at the turn of the century. With the Democrats coming to power in the White House in 2008, we can definitely talk about a "reversal" of Washington's foreign policy.

Southeast Asia is not an amendment to the old list of US priorities in the foreign arena, but one of the main components of Washington's new vision. If the administrations of 2001-2008 put the Islamic vector at the forefront of their foreign policy, then one of the first decisions of Obama was plans to wind down military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible. Americans need resources to engage more actively and directly in other areas, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. Success here will largely depend on the outcome of the Administration's policies in the ASEAN area. Thus, within the framework of the plan to secure leading positions in the Asia-Pacific region and ultimately regain the lost global leadership, Southeast Asia is one of the key elements of the regional balance of power.

Washington's strategy there is based on the existence of an "irritant" in the region, a motivator of counter-actions in the face of China, whose growth and development threatens America's global dominance. Despite regular assurances from Obama administration officials at various levels that U.S. involvement in the region has nothing to do with the implementation of measures to contain the PRC, Washington nevertheless openly recognizes the stability and security of the sea routes that run through the sea waters of Southeast Asia as its national interests. So, their position is clearly stated in the statement of Secretary of State X. Clinton (July 23, 2011) on the situation in the South China Sea (SCM): "As a Pacific State and regional Power, we see our national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asian maritime space, maintaining peace and stability, and respecting international law in the South China Sea. We are against it

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the threat or use of force by any party to the South China Sea dispute to advance its claims and obstruct legitimate economic activities..."2.

Given Beijing's official offensive position on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which boils down to having sovereign rights over the entire sea area, despite the claims of a number of other coastal states, the declared American interests that are under threat are actually justified.

In fact, it seems that such a position of the United States as a stabilizing factor is only an excuse to recall its global role as a leader, to cling to the ongoing processes in the region, and to improve its relations with Asian capitals. Obviously, it is important for a world power to keep its competitor under control. Thus, in the context of growing rivalry and potential confrontation, Southeast Asia, which is the "southern underbelly" of China, is now regaining its strategic importance for America.

At the same time, in tactical terms, the declared national interests related to ensuring the stability and security of sea routes running through the waters of Southeast Asia are fully justified and explained by the need to promote their trade interests and maintain the mobility of naval forces in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The interest is really reasonable, because a significant amount of world maritime trade is currently provided by transportation through Malacca and the South China Sea. For example, the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans, passes up to 15 million tons of barrels of oil3 every day (about 25% of the world's maritime trade in oil and petroleum products), as well as up to 25% of the total turnover of sea transportation4.

The United States also cannot but attract the benefits of cooperation with the rapidly growing economies of ASEAN. Currently, Southeast Asia has a population of more than 600 million people. The total nominal GDP of the ASEAN member countries at the end of fiscal year 2010 - 2011 exceeded $ 2 trillion at current prices.5 The existing interest of the United States is confirmed by statistics that show the trade turnover between the United States and ASEAN

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At the end of 2011, it amounted to $ 194 billion. 6 The United States is the third largest trading partner of the ASEAN bloc (after China and Japan, which occupy the first and second places, respectively). In addition, Southeast Asia is still a region of relatively cheap labor, which can not but attract American multinational corporations that seek to minimize economic production costs in order to maximize final income. Gross U.S. FDI in ASEAN countries totaled $ 159.6 billion 7 in 2011. In general, the United States is interested in further liberalizing new markets in the Asia-Pacific region, and in particular in Southeast Asia. To this end, the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade Zone is being actively lobbied with the broadest participation of the countries of the region.

At the same time, the sea area of Southeast Asia is not only trade routes, but also strategically important routes for the transfer of US Navy forces to the Pacific Ocean from the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. L. Panetta, while still serving as US Secretary of Defense, announced the US plans in the future to change the ratio of stationed armed forces in the Atlantic and Pacific in favor of increasing the presence in the Pacific area to 60% (currently 50-50%) 8.

As part of the Obama strategy, existing alliances in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in Southeast Asia, are being strengthened, partnerships are being further improved, and new friends are being sought there. Based on the foreign policy steps taken by the US leadership in the framework of the new deal, certain foundations of Washington's strategy towards Southeast Asia are emerging, namely: establishing a close, friendly and trusting political dialogue with the ASEAN member states; deepening trade and economic cooperation; and finally, ensuring a military presence in the region. The return campaign is also accompanied by the traditionally American "democratic-human rights" rhetoric.

Two striking features of Washington's tactics in the region, which are characteristic of the current stage, are clearly evident. First, it is the intention to gain a comprehensive foothold in Southeast Asia - to achieve the status of a friend, a trading partner and, if possible, a military ally. In September 2010, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Secretary of State

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H. Clinton delivered a speech dedicated to the so-called "forward-deployed diplomacy". This course involves relying on alliances, new partnerships, and regional institutions in the Asia-Pacific region in order to create a common economy in the region, ensure regional security, and promote and protect the institutions of democracy and human rights.

Secondly, despite the continuation of Washington's democratic rhetoric, the new tactics are based on both rationality and pragmatism, which are manifested, for example, in the recent willingness to build a dialogue with the previously "objectionable" military junta in Myanmar, to develop not only trade and economic, but also military ties with Vietnam. This is in contrast to the one-sided approach in the past, when the United States was selectively "friendly" in the region (post-war political flirtations, military alliances of the 1960s and 1970s, economic "consultations" of the 1980s and 1990s). in many ways, it distinguishes the current administration from the previous ones. It is obvious that today Washington intends to pursue a policy of comprehensive involvement of both friendly and considered hostile countries.

I would now like to focus in more detail on the operational and applied level of development of relations between the United States and its ASEAN partners at the multilateral and bilateral levels.

This is the first foreign trip of a Secretary of State in the first Obama administration. Clinton was accompanied by assurances of the US government's firm intention to increase its presence and involvement in the Asia-Pacific region.

In July 2009, X Clinton attended the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Security Forum summit in Phuket, Thailand. Then, during a press conference, the American pompously announced that the United States "returned to Southeast Asia"9.The intention of the United States to establish a permanent mission to ASEAN, headed by a Resident Ambassador, was announced. As a result of the meeting, the first important step towards new US-ASEAN relations was taken - the document of the US accession to the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC)10 was signed, which had always been an unspoken and necessary rule for those who wanted to establish closer relations with ASEAN.

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During his participation in the first ASEAN - US Leaders ' meeting in Singapore in November 2009, President Barack Obama confirmed the assurances of Secretary of State X. Clinton expressed her firm intention to develop relations both with the ASEAN countries individually and with the Association as a whole. The agenda included a wide range of issues of interaction, including trade, economic and investment cooperation, educational exchanges, establishing ties in the field of science and technology, providing development assistance, including in the context of implementing the UN Millennium Development Goals, anti-terrorist activities, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, protecting and promoting human rights, and environmentally sustainable economic development. razvitie et al. 11.

In June 2010, the United States became the first non - ASEAN member State to open a permanent mission to the organization in Jakarta. On 26 April 2011, Ambassador D. L. Cardin, President-designate, presented his credentials to ASEAN Secretary-General S. Pitsuwan.12 The opening of the permanent mission, and this is important to note, does not mean that up to this point, ASEAN and the United States did not have any institutionalized form of interaction at all. Since the establishment of the dialogue partnership in 1977, ASEAN and the United States have held more than 20 annual senior-level dialogue meetings. In addition, the sides coordinated their positions on various issues within the framework of the ARF, the ASEAN-plus Defense Ministers ' meetings, the EAC, the ASEAN Post-ministerial Conferences and other events.

In November 2010, the second ASEAN-US Leaders ' meeting was held in New York, following which it was decided to establish an Outstanding Personalities Group (EPG)13. The Group is designed to provide advice to leaders, act as a generator of new ideas in order to deepen the dialogue between ASEAN and the US on a wide range of issues.

The trip of the American President to the ASEAN and EAC* summits in Bali (Indonesia) in November 2011 was fruitful. The third meeting of the ASEAN - US leaders was held on the sidelines, which resulted in the adoption of an Action Plan for the implementation of the Expanded ASEAN - US Partnership in

* In 2010, the United States and the Russian Federation were simultaneously accepted as permanent members of the EAC.

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14. In 2012, President Barack Obama again personally participated in the ASEAN and EAC summits held in Phnom Penh. At the same time, the trip was the first visit of an American head of state to Cambodia in the history of bilateral relations. A joint statement issued on the sidelines of the fourth ASEAN - US Leaders ' meeting highlighted the importance of maintaining a high-level dialogue. It was decided to transform the leaders ' meetings into the format of the ASEAN - US Summit in 2013. In order to promote trade, economic and investment cooperation, the ASEAN-U.S. Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative was launched 15.

The regular participation of the top US official in ASEAN and East Asian multilateral events is an indicator of the seriousness of Washington's approach. By the way, an anti-example in this case, unfortunately, can serve as Russia, which, having achieved accession to the EAC at the same time as the United States, nevertheless still did not find it necessary to come too often to meetings of leaders. In this regard, the ASEAN partners have a fair question regarding Russia's priorities about the importance of the East Asia and Pacific region in Russia's foreign policy vision.

Let's try to classify the ASEAN members in terms of the proximity of relations with the United States in comparison with the competitor - China. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand would most likely be considered" friendly " but at the same time unwilling to follow America's lead. The Philippines, Singapore and Brunei can be described as pro-American or tending towards close relations with the United States. Cambodia and Myanmar have long been closely linked to China. Nevertheless, based on the latest foreign policy steps, Washington is likely to pursue a strategy to involve them. With Vietnam, everything is not so clear: Both the United States and China have historically been viewed with distrust. At present, Hanoi seems to be leaning towards greater expansion of ties with America amid the tense situation in the South China Sea. However, the Vietnamese are likely to remain cautious

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in rapprochement with Washington. Laos, being a political ally of Vietnam, keeps its distance from the United States, while at the same time increasingly inevitably falling into the zone of economic and investment influence of China.

Thus, a significant part of the ASEAN bloc is currently in close cooperation or establishing close relations with the United States. This, however, does not mean that these states are trying to dissociate themselves from China, but at the same time indicates their concern about the current excessive "attachment" to any one center of power (read-Beijing) and the desire to create a certain balance. Although ASEAN members have well-developed trade and investment ties with China and are only interested in expanding them in the future, they are afraid of China's growing influence.

It turns out that moving towards Washington is not a strategic choice of ASEAN, but only a reaction to China's excessively strengthened position in the region at this stage. For this reason, the top Ten is only too happy about the arrival of major players in the region with serious intentions that can create a counterweight to Beijing. The consolidation of other major powers in the region, including Russia, would be viewed only in a positive way, as it would guarantee greater regional stability. Now, as we can see, the United States is most actively trying to occupy and monopolize this niche.

Let's look at the development of this vector of American relations in the country context at the tactical level.

On July 23, 2009, the first - ever meeting of the foreign ministers of the United States and the lower Mekong Basin countries-Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand-took place. Subsequently, the Lower Mekong Initiative was established on the basis of the agreements reached during the meeting to increase cooperation in the areas of environmental protection, education, health, energy security, food security and agriculture, as well as infrastructure development. Myanmar joined the Initiative in 2012.

Since the late 1990s, the lower Mekong basin countries have been cooperating in various formats, such as CLV

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(Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam), and projects such as ACMECS, which was attended by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand. They have long been united by similar problems. Washington was able to note this in time and take far-sighted steps. To be fair, it should be noted that Americans do not skimp on funding a wide range of OSI projects and programs - as of the end of the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the total assistance to the four countries amounted to about $ 220 million.16

Building up its presence immediately with already established groupings of countries, such as the" four " so - called new members of the Association (Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), is a calculated step on the part of the United States. At once, the Americans significantly improved their position in the land part of ASEAN. Institutionalization of interaction with sub-regional integration groupings and associations of countries also seems to be a distinctive feature of modern American diplomacy in Southeast Asia.

At this stage, among the aforementioned countries, Vietnam and Myanmar seem to be the most relevant and interesting for Washington in terms of developing relations. As part of the strategic course to strengthen its position in Southeast Asia, efforts are also likely to be made to expand ties with Cambodia and restore trust and reputation in relations with Laos.

In this regard, for successful progress in rapprochement with these States, radical steps on the part of the White House would be necessary. We can clearly see how the Obama strategy works - the White House is ready to conduct an active dialogue not only with"bosom friends". This is confirmed by X's" preparatory " trip. Clinton's visit to Myanmar in December 2011,17 followed by a historic visit by Barack Obama in 2012.

Despite the statement of the American president that the visit is only a recognition of the ongoing democratic transition, and not support for the current regime, 18 it seems that there is a reasonable pragmatism adopted by the administration, when it turns out that for the development of normal and mutually beneficial relations, it is not at all necessary to have similar views

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on the values and structure of political and administrative systems. Obama's logic is to gradually squeeze out China, which for many years was engaged in preferential production of Burmese oil, gas and other minerals, was able to monopolize the country's trade market and profitably used Myanmar's seaports. Beijing was content with this state of affairs, provided that Yangon (then Naypyidaw) enjoyed full support and patronage from China in the event of Western sanctions and embargoes. Moreover, China has always been not only the main Burmese trading partner, but also the main supplier of weapons and military equipment.

However, the last couple of years have seen some changes in the thinking of the Myanmar leadership that could have far-reaching consequences. So, it became clear that the military led by the junta wanted recognition from the world community of the ongoing liberalization in the country and readiness to start cooperation with the West. The release from custody of the country's main opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, her participation in by-elections and getting a parliamentary seat, which did not meet with opposition from the authorities of her meeting with X. Clinton and Prime Minister Shinawatra of Thailand, a telephone conversation with Barack Obama, and the lifting of the ban on American and European companies to do business in the country seem to indicate a new strategy adopted in Naypyidaw. According to R. Egreto, a Myanmar expert at the University of Hong Kong, Myanmar is on the path to moving away from its long-standing dependence on Beijing. He considers it absolutely clear that the era of Chinese monopoly is over there, but recognizes that Beijing's strong influence will remain for the time being.19

Vietnam is one of the most difficult areas of US foreign policy in the region. Despite the normalization of relations more than 15 years ago, the memory of the war is still fresh, which does not allow building relations of full mutual trust. A friendly Vietnam is essential for the effective implementation of Washington's plans for a strong foothold in the region. First of all, the Americans are interested in regaining the privileged attitude in terms of the free entry of warships into Vietnamese deep-water ports, such as Cam Ranh, or receiving them back as their naval bases.

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Vietnam on the side of the United States would be a serious trump card in a strategic confrontation with China. To this end, the Americans are working very hard to deepen a comprehensive dialogue with their Vietnamese partners, especially against the backdrop of territorial disputes in the South China Sea. In recent years, US policy has brought positive results, such as joint military exercises at sea, regular political contacts, an established annual bilateral dialogue in the field of politics, security and defense (since 2008), an annual dialogue in the field of defense policy (since 2010)20, and well-developed trade and economic relations.-economic and investment ties (in 2012, the trade turnover was almost $ 25 billion, while the Vietnamese had a serious positive balance of more than $ 15.5 billion, 21 the US accumulated investments in Vietnam are about $ 10 billion), joint participation in the negotiation process on the creation of a macro-regional free trade zone in Eastern Vietnam. Hemispheres-Trans-Pacific Partnership.

At the same time, the parties are not yet ready to make separate mutual concessions. Thus, the United States refuses to lift the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam, and Vietnam has continued to take a tough, unambiguous position on naval bases over the past 15 years, rejecting the possibility of "transferring" them to the Americans. Such issues remain an inconvenient obstacle to bringing bilateral relations to a higher and more trusting level. Apparently, the time has not yet come when the fears of the past will be completely forgotten.

It is equally important for Washington to increase cooperation with the Association's largest country, Indonesia, and its profitable partner Malaysia, strengthen allied relations with the Philippines and Thailand, as well as close ties with Singapore, and further develop comprehensive cooperation with Brunei.

One of the most important bilateral directions in US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region is the establishment of a strong partnership with Jakarta, which rightly claims to be a regional leader due to its territory, population, resources and status as a member of the G20.

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Currently, the Indonesian leadership is fully aware of the growing involvement of ASEAN in the long-term confrontation between the United States and China. Jakarta understands that they, as a regional power, will not be able to stand aside in this case.

In 2008, Indonesian President S. B. Yudhoyono initiated a proposal to bring Indonesian-American relations to the level of "comprehensive partnership". A press release from the Indonesian-American Society (June 2010) describes the" comprehensive partnership " of the two countries as a long-term commitment of Presidents Barack Obama and S. B. Yudhoyono to expand and deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.22 In November 2010, during the historic visit of Barack Obama to Jakarta, the leaders of the world's" second and third democracies "officially announced the transition to interstate relations of "comprehensive partnership"23. However, since 2005, relations between Indonesia and China have also been officially maintained at the level of strategic partnership.24

Apparently, this situation indicates the unwillingness of Indonesia to be part of one of the opposing blocs, while remaining a neutral and independent power. By creating a similar Sino-American balance over itself, Jakarta has secured the opportunity to pursue an independent foreign policy course, as well as creating the necessary conditions for developing pragmatic economic and investment cooperation with both America and China.

The bilateral trade turnover between Indonesia and the United States in 2012 amounted to about $ 26 billion. 25 American direct investment is readily available in Indonesia. Thus, in 2011, US cumulative FDI in Indonesia exceeded $ 11 billion (this is not the maximum - in 2010, $ 15.5 billion).26. However, Washington has not yet succeeded in persuading Jakarta to join the negotiation process for the development of a high-level multilateral agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There is no consensus on this issue in Indonesia - discussions are actively held at various political and public levels. According to the author, the comment of one of the Indonesian diplomats reflects the most balanced and

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a position on the free trade area that "takes into account" the views of various parties. Thus, A. Wirazhuda believes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not at all a competitor to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership being negotiated today under the auspices of ASEAN (actively promoted by China), and Indonesia may well be a member of two free Trade zones simultaneously.27

After 30 years of political tension, relations between Malaysia and the United States have been gradually improving since 2003. The jump was especially noticeable with the arrival of N. Razak as Prime Minister in Kuala Lumpur in 2009. To date, the countries have reached a very good level of trade, economic and investment cooperation. Trade turnover in 2011 totaled almost $ 40 billion. 28 Since 2010, Malaysia has been participating in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There is also close cooperation in the security sector, including counterterrorism activities (Washington actively sponsors various programs of the Counterterrorism Center for Southeast Asia (SEARCCT), joint military exercises (including Cobra Gold), the fight against non-traditional challenges and threats, educational exchanges of military personnel, etc.29 In April 2010, on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, B. Obama and N. Razak met, which was considered in the Malaysian media as a historic event in bilateral relations. 30

At the same time, there is a definite anti-American sentiment in the Malaysian public, related to concerns about the current rapprochement with Washington, which, according to some local analysts, is fraught with limiting Kuala Lumpur's independent policy in the future. At the same time, it has a well-developed trade partnership with China (China is Malaysia's largest trading partner, Malaysia is China's largest ASEAN trading partner, with a trade turnover of about $ 90 billion in 2011). United States dollars.31) is in some ways a factor of Malaysia's resilience in the context of competition for spheres of influence between Washington and Beijing.

The United States-Brunei relationship, based on the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Trade and Navigation of 1850, is now gaining ground.

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There are good prospects for expansion, especially given the instability in the South China Sea. For Washington, Brunei is an additional fulcrum of its influence in the region. The primary national interest of Brunei, a small state located on the South China Sea coast, is to ensure its security. Counter-terrorism, countering maritime piracy and transnational crime are also topical issues for the "maritime" sultanate with rich oil and gas reserves. Bruneians are interested in expanding comprehensive ties with the United States, including in the field of security and defense. In 1994, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation. The Joint Defence Working Committee meets on an annual basis. Since 1995, the annual naval exercise CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) has been held. There are special educational programs for military exchanges 32.

Trade, economic and investment ties are steadily developing. The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) has been in force between the two countries since 2002. Brunei is an active participant in the negotiation process for the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA. It should be noted that Brunei still maintains strong relations with the former metropolis and the closest ally of the United States, Great Britain, whose 1.5-thousandth military corps is based there on a permanent basis, mainly concentrated near oil and gas processing enterprises. 33

Thailand and the Philippines are two long-standing allies of the United States in Southeast Asia. However, these unions are not similar to each other.

The friendly foundation of relations between the Philippines and the United States at the present stage was laid back in the times of metropolitan-colonial relations between them. After the end of World War II, the Americans, as it turned out, did not intend to let the Filipinos out of their influence at all-in 1951, the United States and the Philippines entered into the so - called Mutual Security Treaty. A little later, in 1954, Manila also joined the Collective Security Treaty in Southeast Asia (SEATO). It doesn't look like it

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the fact that the sovereign feelings of Filipinos were violated in this case. It seems that such relations were absolutely mutually beneficial, and perhaps even more in line with the interests of the young Philippine state. Since 1946, in the form of foreign aid, including military aid, the United States has transferred to its ally a total of more than $ 9.5 billion in monetary terms. $ 34.

In turn, the Americans continued to freely use military bases on the territory of the ally, including the Clark Air Force Base and the Subic Bay Naval Complex on the island of Luzon. These were strategic outposts of the US Armed Forces during the Cold War. After the end of the global confrontation, the US military left the facilities in 1992 in accordance with a new law passed by the local parliament prohibiting foreign armed forces from being on the territory of the republic on a permanent basis. 35

By the end of the century, after some years of cooling off in Philippine-American relations, Washington was engaged in the issue of" restoring " the union. In 1998, a new formula was reached on the issue of the presence of the US military in the Philippine territories - the Visiting Forces Agreement was concluded. The legal document allowed the United States to send troops to the Philippines and deploy them there only on a temporary basis.36 In fact, it turned out that since the beginning of the 2000s, the US military has been on Philippine territory almost constantly. In addition,a U.S. counterterrorism military contingent is currently deployed in the southern Philippines to support local armed forces in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf extremist organization associated with al-Qaeda. 37

In 2003, the United States declared the Philippines one of its global non-NATO allies.38 And in 2011, by adopting the Manila Declaration, the two countries reaffirmed the continued operation of the 1951 Mutual Security Treaty.39

Since 2011, Manila has been seriously considering granting the US Air Force and Navy greater access to Philippine bases on a temporary basis in order to strengthen its defense capabilities.

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the potential of the Philippines, which is especially relevant in light of the growing contradictions in the South China Sea with China. At the same time, this issue is strongly criticized by some of the public in the Philippines, who do not want a repeat of the situation when the country was excessively dependent on the United States. Many analysts fear that taking such a decision against the backdrop of still open territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea can only inflame the situation and lead to an unnecessary escalation of the conflict.

The union of Thailand and the United States is not quite standard de facto. On the one hand, Bangkok is a long-time friend of Washington, as well as one of the key American non - NATO allies (like the Philippines), but, on the other hand, it has a legally established comprehensive strategic partnership with China.40 If you look at it, then there is really nothing surprising in this disposition: Bangkok pursues its usual and historically proven policy of so-called "bamboo diplomacy"41, maneuvering and obeying the prevailing circumstances ("bending-with-the-wind policy")42.

In Thailand, it is well known and remembered that there is a lack of proper attention from an ally. It is known that after the unsuccessful end of the Vietnam War, Washington began to reduce its allied obligations and, in general, its presence in the region as a whole. In those circumstances, Bangkok was forced to look for alternative supports, which led to the establishment of relations with Beijing. Today, Thais, now interested in "diluting" Chinese influence in their country, on the contrary, welcome the "turn" of the United States to the Asia-Pacific region. Over the past few years, Washington and Bangkok have maintained high-level political contacts as part of the US-Thailand Strategic Dialogue.43 There are probably also prospects for concluding a full-fledged strategic partnership in the future. Trade and economic ties are also at a very decent level. According to the results of 2012, the trade turnover amounted to about $ 37 billion.44

In terms of military cooperation, Thailand and the United States conduct a large number of joint military exercises every year, including the Cobra Gold multi-pronged combined exercise. A dialogue is underway on the former US naval aviation base Utapao

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in Thailand, in particular, on the issue of its possible transformation into an American center for disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. Skeptics, particularly in China, see a hidden military and geopolitical background in the aspirations of the Americans.45 According to Wikileaks, the Royal Thai Armed Forces ' Utapao military base has already been used by the US Air Force as an intermediate point on the route to Afghanistan and Iraq since the early 2000s.46

In the future, Thailand, as a central state in Southeast Asia and a key player in ASEAN, will strive to pursue a fairly independent and independent policy, maneuvering between China and America and taking advantage of the opposition of their interests. It seems that a possible further expansion of all-round cooperation with the United States will not entail serious changes in relations between Bangkok and Beijing.

Singapore is one of the most friendly countries to the United States in the Southeast Asian region. Washington's interest in Singapore is probably primarily due to the geostrategic factor. The dwarf state of Singapore is located at the intersection of the world's most important sea routes. Singapore's hyper-dependence on foreign trade and vulnerability to disruption of the free movement of goods and services at sea are at the core of its national interest. In view of this, the country's leadership expresses unwavering support for the US policy in terms of freedom of navigation, as well as in increasing their role in the security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region. For Singaporeans, maintaining close relations with the United States is a historic choice in order to maximize their security, including economic security.

To date, bilateral relations have been based on two pillars - trade and investment and military cooperation. The US-Singapore Free Trade Area has been operating since 2004. At the end of 2011, bilateral trade exceeded $ 50 billion (Singapore is the largest trading partner of the United States in ASEAN). According to data for 2010, Singapore ranked third in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of the amount of accumulated US foreign direct investment - more than $ 106 billion. More than 2 thousand people are based in Singapore. American companies. The countries are jointly participating in the negotiation process for the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership47.

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As for cooperation in the field of security and defense, the so-called Strategic Framework Agreement has been in force between the states since 2005. Since 1990, Americans have been granted access to Singapore's military facilities on a rotating basis, including a naval base, a ship repair dock, and an airfield. The Changi Naval Base has been open to the US Navy since 1998 and is capable of hosting aircraft carriers. USAF 48 aviation units are based in Singapore on a monthly basis. Singapore also hosts the logistics command unit, which is tasked with coordinating the movement and deployment of US Navy warships in region 49. The armed forces of the two countries regularly participate in joint bilateral and multilateral (including Cobra Gold) military exercises. Active cooperation is underway to ensure the safety of sea routes in the Straits of Aden and Malacca. It is important to note that Singapore is the leader among the Southeast Asian countries in terms of the number of national military personnel trained in the United States 50.

Today, relations between the United States and Singapore are on the threshold of a new stage. In February 2012, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the " U.S.-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue." Within this framework, a mechanism of meetings has been established, during which positions are exchanged and a wide range of issues on various agendas are discussed on the way to bringing relations to the level of strategic partnership. If successful, the U.S.-Singapore relationship will be underpinned by a third pillar that is extremely important - political cooperation.

At the same time, despite such close comprehensive cooperation with the United States, Singapore is still trying to conduct its foreign policy taking into account China's interests in the region. Maintaining non-confrontational relations with Beijing is one of the central tasks in this regard. Singapore understands that the growing American presence in the region will eventually become increasingly irritating to the Chinese. Thus, the Singapore leadership is clearly aware of the need to pursue a cautious foreign policy course against the background of the escalating US-Chinese rivalry.

page 119


The analysis of the situation shows that the necessary prerequisites for the "return" of the United States are currently being formed in Southeast Asia. Given the situation in the South China Sea, regional players are seriously concerned about the issue of security and sustainable development, and therefore America is considered primarily as an additional factor in the strategic balance of power. Many ASEAN members are also concerned about China's excessive (sometimes near-monopoly) influence in their national economies. Against the background of the "favorable" situation, Washington is taking effective measures to strengthen its position there, demonstrating a serious approach to building partnership both with ASEAN as a whole and with its member countries separately. It should be noted that with most of the "top ten" Americans manage to maintain relations at a good level. A solid level of trade, economic and investment cooperation is an obvious help in this context. With some countries, in particular the Philippines and Singapore, bilateral relations are on a historic rise.

It seems that in the near future, Washington's policy will be aimed at further developing the dialogue with ASEAN. Americans will continue to show solidarity with the Association's efforts to play a central role in the integration processes in the Asia-Pacific region and achieve greater political weight on the world stage. Based on the principle of pragmatism, the Administration will continue to work towards rapprochement with each of the ten countries, including, where possible, through sub-regional cooperation mechanisms such as the Lower Mekong Initiative, which enable them to effectively restore and promote their image in Indochina. It is probably to be expected that the United States will not stop trying to get as many ASEAN members as possible to participate in the negotiation process on the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA. In addition, the military track of bilateral cooperation will increase in importance. Washington is likely to step up efforts to return to its old military bases.

page 120

At the same time, the United States will face a number of "constraints" in its full-scale "return" to the region. So, first of all, there is still a certain amount of distrust of the Americans in the region, given their policies there during the Cold War era. Second, it is unlikely that China's firm position in Southeast Asia will begin to weaken any time soon. Today, China is the main trading partner of ASEAN, and the" top ten " together - the third partner of China. Chinese influence there is fueled by deep cultural and historical roots, as well as a significant proportion of Huaqiao leading an active economic activity and showing an increasing interest in participating in national political processes. At the same time, Beijing's position on territorial disputes in the South China Sea does not make it popular among its ASEAN partners. Third, the United States will be challenged by its unilateral foreign policy moves in the Middle East using armed force, given that Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim - majority country, is the regional leader. In addition, a new wave of American involvement in resolving the problems of the Middle East region, including through the use of force, threatens to reduce opportunities for Washington, which may be associated with an increasing shortage of resources and a deterioration in the image of a friendly and moderate partner.

1 Remarks by President Obama to the Australian Parliament, Canberra, Australia, November 17, 2011 // arliament

2 US Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson. Clinton Statement on South China Sea, July 23. 2011 // #axzz2HH2yM92n

3 Through the eye of a needle. Critical places of oil transportation / Institute of Religion and Politics / / URL:

4 Strait of Malacca / / Answer Logistic-International Transportation / / URL: kkskij-proliv. html#. UjRfiGjxrBE

5 Malaysia - ASEAN's multinational marketplace/ Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Malaysia), 2012 //

page 121

6 Joint Statement on the 4th ASEAN - US Leaders' Meeting. 20.11.12. Jakarta // -us-leaders-meeting

7 Ibid.

Travis J. Tritten. 8 Stars and Stripes. June 7, 2012// old-bases-newspaper-reports-1.179790

9 Press Availability at the ASEAN Summit. Hillary R.Clinton. The United States is back in Southeast Asia. Phuket, Thailand, 22 July 2009//

10 Remarks by Hillary R.Clinton from the Signing Ceremony of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation Accession, Phuket, Thailand, 22 July 2009//

11 Overview of ASEAN - US Dialogue Relations// ogue-relations

12 US Engagement with ASEAN // United States Mission to ASEAN //

13 Overview of ASEAN - US Dialogue...

14 Ibid.

15 Joint Statement of the 4th ASEAN - U.S. Leaders' Meeting Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 19, 2012// eting

16 Lower Mekong Initiative FAQ's/ US Department of State//

17 Clinton offers Myanmar first rewards for reform//

18 President Barack Obama schmoozes with Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra on first stop of historic Asia visit// M-Yingluck-Shinawatra-stop-historic-Asia-visit.html

19 US - Myanmar detente forces Chinese rethink: experts/ AFP. Bangkok. Nov. 22, 2012// tml

Colonel William Jordan 20Lewis M. Stern. U.S. -Vietnam Defense Relations: Investing in Strategic Alignment/ The Heritage Foundation. July 18, 2012// egic-alignment

21 US Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau, Trade in Goods with Vietnam//

22 USINDO/ Comprehensive Partnership//

page 122

23 The United States - Indonesia Society USINDO// http:/

24 China - Indonesia relationship braces for a promising future// China economic net //

25 US Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau, Trade in Goods with Indonesia//

26 Office of the United States Trade Representative, US-Indonesia bilateral trade and investment//

Adhyanti S. Wirajuda. 27 Is Indonesia Missing the Trans Pacific Partnership// The Jakarta Post. Jakarta, July 01, 2013; URL: bandwagon.html

28 US Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau, Trade in Goods with Malaysia// URL:

29 US - Malaysia Partnership, Remarks by Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Malaysia Armed Forces Defense College. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 15, 2012//

30 Najib and Obama in historic bilateral meeting // The Star Online. April 13, 2010// 4422

31 Malaysian Polls Reflect US-China Competition // Asia Times//

32 Brunei - US Relations // Global Security //

33 World Country Profiles. US Department of State Background Note: Brunei Darussalam //

34 USAID/Philippines //

35 Philippines - US Relations//

36 Ibid.

Vaughn B. 37 Terrorism in Southeast Asia/ Congressional Research Service. P. 16 - 20 //

38 Philippines - US Relations...

39 Signing of the Manila Declaration on Board the USS Fitzgerald in Manila Bay, Manila, Philippines, November 16, 2011//

40 China, Thailand to establish comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, Xinhua, April 19, 2012 //

Pavin Chachavalpongpun. 41 Reinventing Thailand:?Thaksin and His Foreign Policy. June 2010?

Kislenko A. 42 Bending with the wind. The Continuity and flexibility of Thai foreign policy// International Journal. Vol.7. N4. Autumn 2002/ Canadian International Council. P. 537 - 561.

page 123

43 Joint Statement of the Fourth United States-Thailand Strategic Dialogue, Washington, June 14, 2012 //

44 US Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau, Trade in Goods with Thailand//

45 Planned use by US of Thai Naval Base raises concerns/ Xinhua, June 8, 2012// - 06/08/c_131640416.htm

46 Wikileaks: more on US and Utapao// Political Prisoners in Thailand //

Chanlet-Avery E. 47 Singapore: Background and US relations/ Congressional Research Service. July 26, 2013 // P. 3.

48 The Strategic Framework Agreement. Ministry of Defense of Singapore //

Chanlet-Avery E. 49 Op. cit.

50 Ibid.

Adelman D. 51, US Ambassador to Singapore. US-Singapore Strategic Partnership: bilateral relations move up a weight class // 8844

Keywords: Asia-Pacific region, ASEAN, Southeast Asian countries, USA, China's interests in the region, South China Sea.


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