Skip to main content

Recasting US Commitment in Southeast Asia

The cover of the report featuring the logo of the Indo-Pacific Program
The cover of the report featuring the logo of the Indo-Pacific Program

"The United States has found itself playing the role of international stabilizer and security guarantor. It is a burdensome, expensive, and often thankless activity—but a vital one in a world that perpetually teeters between civilized behavior and the law of the jungle. With finite resources and limited bandwidth, Washington is constantly required to determine which problem/ threat will get priority attention. The calendar now reads 2024 and two wars—localized, but intense and bloody, in Ukraine and Gaza—have forced themselves to the top of the immediate agenda. But, even as these conflicts consume the energies of senior officials across US security agencies, these same officials repeatedly affirm that America’s most enduring and important strategic challenges lie in the Indo-Pacific. If pressed, those same officials will focus in on the Western Pacific and, most particularly, the South China Sea and Southeast Asia."

Read more from Marvin Ott, a senior fellow with the Wilson Center.

About the Author

Marvin Ott

Marvin Ott

Asia Fellow;
Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Former Professor of National Security Policy, National War College and Deputy Staff Director, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Read More

Indo-Pacific Program

The Indo-Pacific Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on US interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more