The Woodrow Wilson Center has published a report on counter-terrorism efforts in Southeast Asia, a follow-up to an event in Washington on April 23.
These five essays suggest that U.S.–Southeast Asia relations have improved since the United States launched its war against terrorism, but many potential pitfalls lie ahead.
David Wright-Neville of the Global Terrorism Project at Monash University, Australia, maintains that corruption, anti-U.S. sentiment, and institutional weakness at the multilateral level may disrail meaningful counter-terrorism cooperation in the region. Angel Rabasa of RAND is more optimistic, implying that U.S. relations with Southeast Asia are deepening and likely to improve—although he points out that under weak governments extremists tend to wield influence that is disproportionate to their numbers.
Sheldon Simon of Arizona State University makes suggestions for improving coordination of efforts but expresses concern that the United States may involve itself too closely in domestic political disputes. Larry Niksch of the Congressional Research Service expresses similar concerns and emphasizes the importance of non-military activities such as law enforcement assistance and aid programs that target the fundamental causes of conflicts. Carolina Hernandez of the University of the Philippines outlines the links between Philippine extremists and global networks, and also points out that while more than 80 percent of the Philippine public supports U.S. military assistance, resentment may be building among Muslim and other Filipinos.
Program Associate, Asia Program
The Woodrow Wilson Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004-3027
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