TITLE: THE ADVANTAGES OF FOREIGN POLICIES OF USA IN SOUTHEAST ASEAN
The foreign policy of the United States is the way in which it interacts with foreign nations and
sets standards of interaction for its organizations, corporations and individual citizens.
The end of the Cold War heralded major readjustments in American foreign policy around the
globe as the United States emerged as the hegemonic power. For Southeast Asia, however, major
change began earlier with the military disengagement and subsequent messy departure of the U.S.
from South Vietnam in 1975. Subsequently, through succeeding administrations, Washington
remained generally inattentive to the region, involving itself only sporadically in response to political
crises and to ensure access to markets. This changed after September 2001, when the George W.
Bush administration labeled Southeast Asia the “second front” of terrorism and took steps to reinvolve the U.S. in the region.
Culminating with the 1973 U.S. military withdrawal from Vietnam, a major shift in foreign
policy had been signified by the Nixon Doctrine in July 1969. The doctrine proclaimed that although
Washington would honor its treaty commitments and provide military and economic assistance,
henceforth the U.S. expected its allies to provide their own defense. This was widely interpreted to
mean that America would not again be drawn into a land war in Southeast Asia. So fully was this
policy embraced that by 1971 Nixon himself was warning about the dangers of under involvement
and isolationist tendencies that became known as the “Vietnam Syndrome.” American bases in
Thailand were closed and the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) was allowed to lapse in
1977. For a long time, Washington did not appear to think much about Vietnam (other than efforts
concerning soldiers missing in action) or issues in Southeast Asia.
(Reference from link:http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Acrobat/Burma_Mauzy_Job.pdf)
Association of Southeast Asean nations (ASEAN) is an important partner for United States in both
economic and geostrategic aspects. ASEAN's geostrategic importance stems from many factors,
including: the strategic location of member countries, the large shares of global trade that pass
through regional waters, and the alliances and partnerships which the United States shares with
ASEAN member states. In July 2009, the United States signed ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and
Cooperation, which establishes guiding principles intended to build confidence among its signatories
with the aim of maintaining regional peace and stability. Trade flows are robust and increasing
between America and the ASEAN region.
This paper will mention four aspects : economics, politics, culture, military.These foreign policies
of USA in Southeast Asean area are almost positive and helpful.
In recent years, the role of the foreign policies of USA in Southeast Asia has changed, and the
majority of people feel that this change is for the better. More aspects are cooperated than ever
before, and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) become is an important partner for the
United States in geostrategic aspects, especially the politics aspect. In my opinion, the exchange of
views on political and security matters of USA brings advantages for ASEAN.
First of all, the U.S plays an important role in maintaining peace, security and stability in the
region. Other areas of mutual interest include nuclear non-proliferation, maritime security,
transnational crime and cyber security, among others. In the recent years, the US has changed
foreign policy. Given the rise of Asia, the U.S rebalance toward Asia is a reasonable reflection of
changing geostrategic realities; it makes strategic sense. The rebalance has more promise for
advancing U.S interests, especially politics aspect. The Obama administration is committed to the
rebalance, and this is likely to continue through the end of the president’s term in office. “Given
Asia’s continuing importance in the first half of the 21st century, U.S. grand strategy is likely to
continue focusing on the Asia-Pacific region after President Obama leaves office, In which Southeast
Asia is the main focus” ( Balancing Acts: The U.S. Rebalance and Asia-Pacific Stability Robert G.
Sutter, Michael E. Brown, and Timothy J. A. Adamson, with Mike M. Mochizuki and Deepa
Ollapally) The president Obama is knowledgeable and appreciative to ASEAN. Therefore, the
Obama administration promoted the strategy called “return” to Southeast Asia with flexible policies.
After his re-election, President Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit the once pariah
nation of Myanmar, drawing attention to the country's shift to democracy and highlighting what his
administration regards as a marquee foreign policy achievement.. "The Myanmar trip is potentially
historic, and for that reason has both tremendous opportunity and risk associated with," said Matthew
Goodman, a former Obama international economic adviser. When Obama visited to Myanmar in
2012, optimism about the future of Myanmar politics as a market, and of U.S.- Myanmar
relations were almost unbounded. Obama deepened his administration's support for the startling
reform process launched by Thein Sein that has seen Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest for years,
become a member of parliament. The new government had scheduled elections in 2015 and released
Suu Kyi from house arrest. Myanmar President Thein Sein had freed hundreds of political prisoners,
signed cease-fire deals with the ethnic minority insurgencies that had fought the government for
decades, and loosened restrictions on the domestic media environment.
Obama also visited Thailand and attend the East Asia summit in Cambodia on this trip. In
Thailand, a US treaty ally, Obama met Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and marked 180 years of
diplomatic relations with the Southeast Asian kingdom, a key regional military ally. From this trip,
we can see that there are many advantages that US policies bring for Southeast Asian in general.
Besides that, the U.S. participates in a series of consultative meetings with ASEAN show that The
ASEAN-United States relationship has expanded dramatically since formal relations began in 1977 in
political-security cooperation. For instance, The US attended to ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the
ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Post
Ministerial Conferences (PMCs). The PMCs mechanism offers an opportunity for the U.S. Secretary
of State and the ASEAN Foreign Ministers to review existing political, security, economic and
development cooperation issues. Periodic dialogue meetings are held at the level of senior officials to
provide a more in-depth review of political and security, economic, functional and development
cooperation activities. In addition, ASEAN and the U.S. signed the ASEAN-US Joint Declaration on
Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism on 1 August 2002 in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Subsequent to the signing of the Joint Declaration, both sides adopted a Work Plan to implement the
Joint Declaration. A number of cooperation activities have been identified and implemented under the
Work Plan. Under the ADMM-Plus Framework, the U.S. co-chaired the ADMM-Plus Experts’
Working Group on Counterterrorism (EWG on CT) with Indonesia for the period of 2011-2013,
during which a Counterterrorism Exercise (CTX) was successfully conducted on 7-13 September
2013 in Sentul, Indonesia. The United States also acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in
Southeast Asia in 2009, was the first non-ASEAN country to appoint a resident Ambassador to
ASEAN in 2010, and joined the East Asia Summit in 2011. The US institutionalized annual ASEANUS Summits in 2012. Especially, the United States took part in the 3rd ASEAN-U.S Summit in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia on 21 November 2015. ( MAKE REFERENCE TO “Overview of ASEAN-U.S.
Dialogue Relations”) From that, we can see the relationship to the ASEAN-U.S and Strategic
Partnership play an important role in realizing this common vision of a peaceful, prosperous AsiaPacific region that offers security, opportunity and dignity to all its citizens.
Secondly, the US support and encourage ASEAN in South China Sea dispute and put a check on
China’s geopolitical ambitions in Southeast Asia. Actually, China is a main factor driving a wedge
between the ASEAN member countries.. Especially, Cambodia is depending solely on China for
political, economical and military aids, Cambodia may again become an authoritarian nation.
Many observers believe that Cambodian’s refusal to accommodate The Philippines and Vietnam
resulted at least partly from Chinese pressure and financial incentives in The 45th AMM and Related
Fortunately, Thanking to the US, Myanmar does not follow the same way. The Obama administration
regards the political changes in Myanmar as possibly diluting the influence of China in a country that
has a strategic location between South Asia and Southeast Asia, regions of growing economic
According to “Joint Statement on the ASEAN-U.S Strategic Partnership” on The white house
report, They reaffirm the importance of maintaining peace and stability, ensuring maritime security
and safety, and freedom of navigation including in and over-flight above the South China Sea. “We
are working to resolve these disputes through international law,” Obama said in a speech at the West
Point military academy on May 28. Instead of remaining neutral on the issue before,
the recent positive moves of the US to South China Sea issue show that they are supporting ASEAN.
The United States carried out a patrol coming near artificial islands in the South China Sea. In that
operation, the United States sent a warship, the USS Lassen, close to one of China's artificial islands.
Heading into 2016, U.S. officials say that more patrols by Navy ships and aircraft are coming. Legal
experts say these patrols are the only way to protect freedom of navigation rights disputed by China.
In addition, The U.S. and Malaysia have been secretly discussing the expanded use of Malaysian
territory for hosting U.S. spy planes to patrol the South China Sea, in response to increased
Chinese activity in the disputed territory. By the United States providing military presence and
offering to assurances to the Philippines, the Philippines have been pushing back and seeking
to expand its capabilities. Especially since being shoved aside out of Scarborough Shoal,
Philippines was brave to takes South China Sea claim to Hague court. “Not only in the
sense that it is a small country doing battle against the large country, but also in the sense that
the Philippines must hit the Chinese legal armor at exactly the right spot in order for it to
prevail, "Jay Batongbacal, an international maritime law expert and law professor at the
University of the Philippines said. Recently, Obama again reiterated U.S. neutrality regarding
the disputes, but also pledged his country’s “rock solid commitment” to the Philippines.
In conclusion, I would say that the foreign policies of the US bring a lot of advantages for Southeast
Asian area in general and for ASEAN in particular, especially in politics-security aspects. I hope that
in the near future, ASEAN – The US relationship will strengthen of cooperation from comprehensive
partnerships to Strategic and comprehensive partnerships, especially focusing on the politics security aspect.
As far as we know that US is one of affluent countries and having strongly developed all aspects
such as; economy, society, policy, so on. Altogether, US is the state which almost others are admiring
and attempt to pass it.
Living in Viet Nam country, you must know the ASEAN organization, it’s established to help and
urge southeast Asia is that make condition for development of ASEAN that has a much ample
source of natural resource. So, to bring about benefits for both us and ASEAN.US has given out the
diversity of policy into southeast Asia and thus, ASEAN gets lots of advantages from the US foreign
policies, ASEAN developing follows the positive orientation.
About economy, decades of the nineteenth, ASEAN with strong economic development potential, it
became the attractive region about trading and investment of foreign countries. Growth of GDP of all
countries in the area is that Singapore 10,1 percent, Vietnam9,5%, India 7,8%, Malaysia
7,4%, Thailand 6,8%. ASEAN gets pace of strong progress due to economic development turn into
priority. Mid nineteenth decade, US yet declares one plain policy in Southeast Asia, but in 2005, US
encourage some economic reform follow the orientation of market in Southeast Asia deploying to
process economic pacts approved, step by step to accelerate free trading to ASEAN, improving the
environment of investment with aim is that expend markets for goods and investment of US.
In 2010, US claimed that US supports all AMERICAN consortia which consist of several oil
companies invested in VIETNAM. Besides, US reinforce to hasten stable and lasting ally relationship
with Thailand, Philippine, and as well, creating a more poignant connection with Singapore
developing strategy association to Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam with purpose is that it help to solve
most of the problem of section. US reinforce to concern avid and others.
Interference of US involves in issues of ASEAN had been created, anew poke for ASEAN to
pursue the outward strategies and, making balance in connection with prosperous countries.
This help ASEAN develops with high tempo and economy of many counties in this region
is settled and having mainstream developing quickly. As well, US hasten economy of the counties of
ASEAN keep on growing.
However, with a large investment of US into ASEAN, this cause Southeast Asia always
stays passive and dependent on US and others is that never restore itself, moreover, it also makes us
subjective attitude about security, military, so on.
General looking, the US investment is good for ASEAN, but we should foreseeing before any
situation can occur whatever.
In addition Economics polities, Politics polities, Culture an issue which frequently generates a
great deal of heated debate. There are many people thinks that “American is great country, strong,
powerful, and influential. Therefore, there are many influences of American culture to over the world,
especially Asian countries (countries have culture different from American culture) with advantages
physical culture and spiritual culture.
Firstly, it is a strongly changes in which is called spiritual culture in Asian culture by
collecting and choosing in American culture. Individualism and freedom are developing and
supporting by many countries as: Vietnamese, Japanese, Thailand… especially Chinese (a big
country and strongly developed in Asian) also changes about individualism and freedom, in new
values in Chinese said “Individualism is the hallmark of Western civilization (American). Before, it
was the weapon of the bourgeoisie to fight feudal despotism. Now, it has become the ethical norm:
liberation of personality, the right of freedom for individuals. Liberalism is a value that means
freedom of belief, speech, action, and also implies free competition, free trade.” Furthermore, the
woman’s right of the woman Asian is respected by government and citizen in different countries
Asian: “Women in Hong Kong are generally more independent, monetarily autonomous, assertive,
and career-focused. This may make them more prominent when compared with women in
other Southeast Asian countries. With the increased number of women in professional and managerial
positions in recent decades, the terms "female strong person" or "superwomen" are being used to
describe women in Hong Kong.” Children are more and more independent on their decision about
studying as well as their future. Nowadays it is true said that entertainment of American also affect
significantly to people’s life in Asian. For example developing of music and film has effects on
recognition about aesthetic of music or quality’s film as new style or different kinds of music…
Secondly, in contract with spiritual culture, physical culture is affected clearly by American in
Asian as: clothes, food culture,…on the newspaper about fashion said that “American culture has had
a strong influence on Asian fashion trends over a period of time. It is quite evident that the trends in
Asia, particularly East Asia, have been heavily influenced by American culture, and it has been seen
in many cases that there is a growing inclination, amongst the younger population to follow American
fashion trends”. People in Asian believe that their clothes are more and more modern with
comfortable design that is not same in traditional clothes. In Japan, I’ve seen a number of American
fast food chains chilling all over the place: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s (they’re making a
comeback it seems), KFC, and Subway (does that really count?).it is easy to recognize that fast food
become a kind of popular food for life’s citizen in Asian.
To sum up American culture has influences on life’s people in Asian thought globalization
lead to many culture have mixing together, which confirm American’s position all over the world.
Furthering the process of bilateral and multilateral security cooperation will be important to U.S.
foreign policy objectives for several reasons. First, it will help to build effective and self-sufficient
partner-nation defense capacities. Second, it will assist with the promotion of mutually beneficial,
long-term US-ASEAN relationships to avail regional access in times of crisis. Third, it will better
equip Southeast Asian states to independently offset, or at least balance, outside influence. To this
end, there are four major roles that the Pentagon could play in shaping the Southeast Asian security
environment over the near term: supporting defense reform and restructuring, facilitating
humanitarian relief operations, providing assistance to address nontraditional transnational threat
contingencies, and helping to balance China’s increased influence into Southeast Asia, exactly the
First of all, we do research on the defense reform and restructuring
At least three Southeast Asian states are presently undergoing a concerted process of military
restructuring and reform. Of these, two are island archipelagoes-the Philippines and Indonesia and
one a mainland state in Indochina-Cambodia.
The U.S Army is already playing a useful role in furthering these reform efforts, directly assisting the
capability upgrade program initiative in the Philippines, instructing basic precepts of humanitarian
law, and helping to promote transparency in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, as well as augment
its emerging regional peacekeeping profile. Over the near term, Washington could build on this
support through the provision of additional money, training, equipment, strategic guidance, and
For instance, there are a number of security cooperation programs that could be used to facilitate
partner-nation engagement of this type. One good example is the Defense Institution Reform
Initiative (DIRI), the mission statement of which is squarely focused on military restructuring and
modernization. Indeed, all of DIRI’s priority areas, defense policy/strategy, human resource
management, budgetary planning, civil-military relations, logistics/infrastructure, and professional
education are directly relevant to the reform efforts currently under way in the Philippines, Indonesia,
At the same time, Washington could seek to more directly embrace militaries that are either highly
proficient or have signaled a willingness to reorient away from traditional anti U.S postures. Notable
in this regard are Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. The first of these has one of the best-trained and
best-equipped armies in ASEAN and is also a participant in the Five Powers Defense Arrangements.
However, the United States (as well as other close allies in the region, such as Australia) has yet to
comprehensively embrace Kuala Lumpur on a bilateral basis, largely due to the somewhat recalcitrant
attitude of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad.
Then, one of the significant factors that we need to mention is Humanitarian Assistance and
Disaster Relief (HADR)
Firstly, this part of the world is highly susceptible to natural disasters, especially those that are
weather-related. Hurricanes, flooding, mudslides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions are all frequent
events in the region, and certain calamities have resulted in major destruction. Therefore, supporting
for HADR is another area that would boost U.S. credibility and engagement in Southeast Asia.
Secondly, the U.S. Army has considerable experience in disaster assistance and is well placed to
help further develop these initiatives. Washington’s inclusion in meetings of the ASEAN Regional
Forum affords it a useful means through which to impart emergency management concepts, such as
the Incident Command System, that can be readily adapted to HADR situations. Existing disaster
response workshops run or sponsored by U.S. Pacific Command offer a proven method for building
cooperative working relationships between military and humanitarian communities.
Thirdly, helping to address cross-border crime is another task that the U.S. Army could fulfill in
Southeast Asia. A plethora of so-called gray-area phenomena exists in the region, ranging from
various forms of trafficking (people, drugs, timber, diamonds) to piracy, weapon proliferation, and
money laundering. The extent to which the military is involved in dealing with these activities differs
from country to country. However, there is a general consensus within ASEAN that these problems
constitute concrete security concerns and that defense establishments will increasingly be involved in
responding to them.
Finally, the Army could help augment regional cooperation against illicit transnational activities
by conducting regular exercises equivalent to those it runs in the field of counterterrorism and
mediating to promote standard operating procedures and greater force interoperability for fighting
cross-border crime. Washington’s Export Control and Related Border Security Program is an
additional mechanism that the military could leverage. Although primarily directed at stemming the
proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, it has obvious relevance to
smuggling in general.
And the last aspect is about balancing China’s Increased Influence into the Region about the
matter of East Sea.
Now that East Sea have special importance in the strategy of many countries, the contention
among powerhouses all around the world is happening during a couple of years recently, including
US. Therefore, starting from the global strategy and strategy in Asia - Pacific, the United States does
not accept any change any status in East Sea. Washington-existence is do concerned about the
resurgence and increasing influence of Beijing for the Southeast Asian region.
Furthermore, America till keep their behavior on neutral but If China has continued, US army
will implement corporeal actions . In directly, US military support a peaceful resolution of the
sovereignty dispute resolution in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Accordingly, the United
States maintain the freedom of navigation and aeronautic. Simultaneously, US condemn compulsive
behavior or the use of force to prevent the exercise of the freedom to use the waters or international
airspace over the South China Sea.
Specifically, the US is stepping up its military presence in the region by strengthening training
programs and free maritime activities to emphasize the rules of international law. Recently,
Washington has ran warships to press artificial island where China was building in Subi Spratly
In general, the US army actions has influenced positively to not only Southeast Asian but also all
over the world.
By practical policies on economics, politics, culture, military, America has had many positive
impacts to the Southeast Asia area.
The positive foreign policies of the USA has done for the southeast Asian countries more
developed and the relationship between two sides is stronger.
Although there are many objective opinion but what mentioning above is almost objective.