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Big power competition in Southeast Asia may not be all that bad

Manu Bhaskaran
Manu Bhaskaran5/18/2022 03:10 PM GMT+08  • 10 min read
Big power competition in Southeast Asia may not be all that bad
At the US-Asean special summit on May 13, Biden welcomed Asean with a promise of US$150 million in new investments in the region / Bloomberg
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Almost three months into the Ukraine conflict, there remain many uncertainties but some trends that our region will have to deal with are becoming clear. It will be a troubled time for less powerful countries including those in Southeast Asia: Expect a hardening of big power hostility against each other; growing insecurity for other nations as the big powers raise their military profiles in the regional backyard; and a higher chance that political tussles will create economic challenges such as protectionism and inward-looking policies.

But as the Western Bloc led by the US and the opposing bloc centred around China each pursue their game plans to outdo the other, there will be opportunities as well as headaches for us in the region. How our neighbourhood fares in the end will depend on regional leaders having the wisdom to ensure a more unified regional response.

The region faces a harsher world

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