Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 06/2012

The Emerging Strategic Dynamic in Southeast Asia

Marvin C. Ott

January 2012

East-West Center


Southeast Asia, long quiescent in a turbulent international environment, has suddenly become the focal point of what promises to be the signature strategic contest of the 21st century—between the United States and China. But the evolving dynamic is far more complex than a simple binary face-off between an established superpower and an emerging rival. Marvin C. Ott, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, discusses why Southeast Asia "has become the arena where Chinese power and ambition confront an established US military presence reinvigorated by renewed American attention to the region."