Comparative Connections v.18 n.2 - US-Southeast Asia
September 13, 2016
The Obama administration has achieved only a portion of its Asian rebalance strategy in Southeast Asia. Washington is repositioning elements of the US Navy to the Pacific, engaging in “freedom of navigation patrols,” and providing assistance to Vietnam and the Philippines to monitor and defend their maritime territories. US leaders are regularly attending ASEAN-based meetings to demonstrate US commitment to Asia. President Obama regularly promotes the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Despite these advances, US presidential electoral politics are presenting new obstacles. Meanwhile, the US has urged caution with respect to the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal’s decision on the South China Sea. Human rights concerns continue to trouble US relations with Hanoi as well as Bangkok, Nay Pyi Taw, Vientiane, and Phnom Penh.