For 70 years the United States has dominated Southeast Asia with both hard and soft power. While its hard power is still dominant and may even grow, its soft power seems to have declined. This decrease is both absolute and relative to that of China.
The India-Japan Nuclear Deal came into force on July 20, 2017. With the deal, Japan can export nuclear power plant technology to India and help India with nuclear waste management. They can also jointly manufacture nuclear power plant equipment.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been entangled in the Panamagate scandal revealed on April 3, 2016. The eight offshore companies listed in the Panama Papers are linked to his family members, including a daughter, two sons, and the in-laws of his brother.
As a small state, Singapore’s foreign policy is largely premised on a realist approach to international relations. At the same time, the question as to whether realism can be harmonized with a principled approach to the practice of diplomacy is worth pondering.
Cambodia has recently become much closer to China in almost every respect, leading some scholars to label Cambodia-China relations as a client-patron relationship. Meanwhile, Cambodia’s bilateral relations with the US have been getting worse.
Currently, Cambodia’s foreign policy faces significant challenges amid great power rivalry for regional influence. The high-level official defense visits between China and Cambodia highlight the strong cooperation which is widely seen to be at the expense of the US.
In recent years, the downward spiral in Saudi-Iran relations, the worsening Syrian conflict, the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and the rise of new diplomatic rivalries between the Sunni Arab states have created new complications for Pakistan.
Contemporary East Asia seems to resemble much more an American tianxia than a Chinese one. And not just East Asia. America’s NATO allies are tightly integrated into US-centered security institutions, and the European Union is in effect controlled by NATO countries.
The first FONOP under the Trump administration occurred in late May 2017, when the USS Dewey made a non-innocent passage within 12 nm of Mischief Reef. It raised questions as to the purpose and effectiveness of US FONOPs in the South China Sea.