Southeast Asia’s Hedging: A Strategic Opportunity for the European Union?
Southeast Asia is among the regions where the intensification of Sino-American rivalry is most felt. Notwithstanding attempts by both competitors, the regional states are not willing to take sides, adopting instead a strategy of equidistance known as “hedging”. The refusal of a binary logic opens up a strategic space for third actors to step in and provide southeast Asian nations with alternatives. In its quest for strategic autonomy and a more marked role in the traditional security realm, the European Union appears to be potentially equipped to take up this role. By leveraging its longstanding relations with the region and exploring new synergies, Brussels could establish itself as a reliable security actor in southeast Asia, work with local states to reach common goals, and help mitigate the negative spillovers of great power rivalry.
(Photo credit: Giang Lê, Pixabay)