CSIS Southeast Asia SIT-REP, Aug. 27, 2015

CSIS Southeast Asia SIT-REP

The SIT-REP gives you links to all of CSIS Southeast Asia’s (@SoutheastAsiaDC) best updates and programs in a five minute read. This issue includes a report on the future of the U.S.-Philippine alliance, analysis of some challenges facing Myanmar ahead of its elections, profiles of two of Indonesia’s newest cabinet members, and much more. Links will take you to the full publications, multimedia, or to registration for upcoming programs when available. To jump to a section, select one of the following:


The core of CSIS Southeast Asia’s work is our research. Go deep for insight and inspiration

Building a More Robust U.S.-Philippines Alliance,” by Murray Hiebert (@MurrayHiebert1), Phuong Nguyen (@PNguyen_DC), and Gregory Poling (@GregPoling)
With elections in both the Philippines and the United States in 2016, the future of the alliance must be institutionalized to ensure that it is not diminished by a change of leadership. Given the long history of U.S.-Philippine relations, the alliance must be based on more robust cooperation across the spectrum of political, security, economic, and sociocultural relations… Read more >>

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Deep insight into developments that move the dial

Endgame to Myanmar’s Cease-fire Deal Tests President Thein Sein’s Resolve,” by Phuong Nguyen (@PNguyen_DC)
President Thein Sein urgently wants to sign a nationwide cease-fire agreement before Myanmar’s November elections. Yet nearly five months after his government reached a tentative draft nationwide cease-fire agreement with representatives of the NCCT, an alliance of 16 ethnic armed groups, major sticking points between the two sides remain unresolved… Read more >>

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The CSIS Asia blog features insights on policy around the Asia Pacific

Civil-Military Relations in Myanmar: At a Low Point, but Hope Is Still Alive,” by Aung Din
The relationship between civilian politicians and the military in Myanmar is at one of its lowest levels ever. The roots of this mistrust date back to the early period of Myanmar’s independence and the beginning of the civil war. The military staged a coup and in 1962, arguing that the country was facing a crisis due to the incompetence of the civilian government… Read more >>

Japan-Philippine Alliance: Transcending Historical Memories,” by Richard Heydarian
As far as Japan’s national image is concerned, there is obviously a North-South divide within East Asia. Japan continues to be seen in more negative terms in China and Korea. Now compare this to the hugely favorable view of Japan among major Southeast Asian countries. In the Philippines, 80 percent of the population is favorably disposed to Japan…. Read more >>

Possible Implications of the Bangkok Bombing,” by Desmond Walton
The horrific bombing in central Bangkok on August 17 was the worst attack ever suffered by the Thais and will likely have a 9/11-type impact on the country’s internal security policies. The attack is a huge setback, especially at this very delicate political time, when painstaking progress is being made towards setting the timetable for elections… Read more >>

The United Kingdom Needs Sustained Engagement with Southeast Asia,” by Rui Hao Puah
UK prime minister David Cameron picked Southeast Asia as his first major overseas visit outside Europe since his Conservative party won the general elections in May. His four-day trade and diplomatic mission brought him to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Cameron’s Asia tour came after a year of domestic focus on winning the general elections… Read more >>

The Philippines’ Expanded Defense Partnerships Benefit U.S. Strategic Interests,” by John Juenemann
In light of China’s aggressive posturing in the South China Sea, the Philippines has stepped up defense cooperation with a number of other countries that share its concerns about China, including Australia, Japan, the United States, and Vietnam. The Philippines is also reportedly discussing a multilateral Visiting Forces Agreement with Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia… Read more >>

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The Leaderboard

Two-minute read on the real people that are making news

Rizal Ramli, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs
Shortly after joining President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s cabinet in an August 12 reshuffle, Rizal stirred up a controversy by openly criticizing government projects, including plans to build new, large-scale power plants and for national flag carrier Garuda to purchase $44.5 billion worth of planes. His remarks have drawn rebukes… Read more >>

Rodrigo Duterte, Mayor of Davao, Philippines
Rodrigo Duterte is the mayor of Davao city in the southern Philippines, a position he has held off-and-on for 21 years. Under Duterte’s tenure, Davao went from one of the Philippines’ least safe cities to one of the safest in the world. Duterte has been criticized by rights groups for his implicit support of the so-called “Davao Death Squads”… Read more >>

Abu Wardah Santoso, Leader of the East Indonesia Mujahideen
Abu Wardah Santoso is the leader of the East Indonesia Mujahideen, or MIT, a terrorist group based near Poso in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi. Santoso has pledged his organization’s support for the Islamic State. Santoso’s group has successfully produced homemade bombs and launched several lethal attacks against the local police… Read more >>

Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Indonesian Trade Minister
Thomas Trikasih Lembong is an experienced Indonesian investment banker. From 2000 to 2002, Lembong was the head of asset management and investment at the now dissolved Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency. A Harvard graduate with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Lembong founded Quvat Management, a Singapore-based private equity firm… Read more >>

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CogitAsia Podcast

An engaging mix of news, analysis, and predictions from around the region

CogitAsia Podcast: August 20, 2015
Our feature interview this week covers Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement of August 15, the seventieth anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the Second World War. CSIS Senior Vice President and Japan Chair Dr. Michael Green joins to discuss the statement’s significance, the reaction in Japan, and how it impacts historical grievances in Asia… Listen >>

CogitAsia Podcast: August 14, 2015
In this episode we discuss the challenges in balancing the U.S.-Thai security relationship with continued concerns over the Thai military’s intervention in domestic politics and civil liberties following the May 2014 coup. Desmond Walton, the U.S. military attaché to Bangkok from 2012 until 2015, joins to provide his perspective… Listen >>

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Upcoming Programs

CSIS programs are designed to expose you to policymakers through open and honest dialogue

Asian Archictecture Conference @ CSIS, September 22, 2015
The third annual Asian Architecture Conference @ CSIS will feature keynote addesses by high-level administration officials on the role of APEC and ASEAN-led regional institutions, and expert panel discussions on regional economic and security architecture, as well their role in boosting small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Asia Pacific… Details to follow

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For more the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies, check out our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, visit our blog CogitAsia, and listen to our podcast at CogitAsia and iTunes. Thank you for your interest in U.S. policy in Southeast Asia and CSIS Southeast Asia. Join the conversation!


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