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Current Affairs

US policy focus shift to Southeast Asia?

Date: 03 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


After the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, US foreign policy is under serious criticism from policy experts across the globe.



  • US has been shoring up support by making alliances with like-minded countries to take on China. Vice President Kamala Harris has taken out diplomatic trips.

  • During her visit to Vietnam and Singapore, Harris reiterated support of the Biden administration towards Southeast Asia.


The debacle

  • Even as the Vice President has made efforts to retain allies, South Asian countries were forced to evacuate their citizens hurriedly after premature withdrawal by US.

  • Many countries have expressed fear that the rise in terrorism in Afghanistan will adversely affect the peace in their countries.


Importance of Southeast Asia

  • Southeast Asian economies are growing at a remarkable rate. Their importance is being realized due to assertive China.

  • US has close security and economic ties with countries like Thailand and Philippines. Relationship with Singapore and Vietnam has also recorded growth.

  • US has stood by Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam during the South China Sea disputes with China.


Nature of relationship

  • US ties with Southeast Asian countries have been security and economic with already stable states.

  • In Afghanistan the role was focused on peace, security and eradication of terrorism with ultimate focus on nation building.


Change in stance

  • Since the coming of power, Biden has made efforts to focus his attention to Indo-pacific by avoiding central Asia and middle-east.

  • The US would not completely abandon its focus from Asia. It will likely increase its presence in Southeast Asia to counter China’s growth.