CSIS – Southeast Asia SIT-REP – April 20, 2016

CSIS Southeast Asia SIT-REP

This issue includes an update on the situation facing minority groups in Indonesia, an overview of the strategic case for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and analyses on the Philippines’ security environment and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s visit to India, 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:


Deep insight into developments that move the dial

Indonesia’s Mounting Intolerance toward Minority Groups Prompts Concern,” by Murray Hiebert (@MurrayHiebert1) & Norashiqin Toh (@norashiqintoh)
The election of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in July 2014 marked Indonesia’s third direct and peaceful selection of the country’s president and seemed to consolidate the archipelago’s democratic gains. Given Indonesia’s impressive political transformation, the recent uptick in the harassment, intimidation, and violence toward minority groups has surprised many outside observers… Read more >>

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

The Strategic Case for TPP,” by John Hamre, Michael Green, Matthew Goodman, Scott Miller, Ernest Bower, Victor Cha, Christopher Johnson, Michael Matera, and Richard Rossow
The United States is a Pacific power. For over 70 years, we have been the guarantor — and a major beneficiary — of peace, stability, and growing prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Public opinion polls show that Americans consider the region to be more important than any other to our nation’s future. And in Asia, surveys show that in the midst of uncertainty about China’s growing power, our allies and partners are counting on… Read more >>

Beyond Centrality: Advancing ASEAN Unity,” by Norashiqin Toh (@norashiqintoh)
The Obama administration has relied heavily on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a hub for engagement with multilateral regional architecture in Asia. ASEAN centrality is touted as key to advancing U.S. interests in the area, but strengthening ASEAN unity across strategic and economic spheres is increasingly vital too. While the United States has not consciously pursued divisive policies in the region, the deepening of relations with more strategic and advanced partners within the group… Read more >>

Beyond Balikatan, Troubling Questions for Philippine Security Post-Aquino,” by Zachary Abuza (@ZachAbuza)
The United States and the Philippines held their annual Balikatan military exercises from April 4 to 15. While the exercise identified no threat, the symbolism of training exercises that included retaking an oil platform and an amphibious beach landing was none too subtle. This year’s exercise is worth noting for several reasons. Just under 100 Australian troops joined the 8,500 U.S. and Philippine forces… Read more >>

Carter Visit Another Step Forward for U.S.-India Strategic Relations,” by Richard Rossow (@RichardRossow)
This week Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made his second visit to India since becoming secretary of defense in February 2015. The strategic community had fairly high expectations for the visit, particularly as it became apparent that three “Foundation Agreements” that will widen the aperture for defense cooperation are under serious consideration. These expectations were largely met, with new or expanded work streams related to joint exercises, technology sharing… Read more >>

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The Leaderboard

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

Vuong Dinh Hue, Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam
On April 9, the National Assembly confirmed Hue as one of three new deputy prime ministers in the incoming government. He will be in charge of economic and financial issues in the office of new Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Hue was also elected to the new Politburo, a 19-member body with the highest decision-making authority in the party, at the Communist Party congress in January… Read more >>

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CogitAsia Podcast

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

CogitAsia Podcast: April 14, 2016
In this episode we discuss the remarkable rise of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar, or Burma. Following inauguration on April 1, 2016, the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi must now address significant internal and external challenges while governing for the first time. Southeast Asia Program scholars Murray Hiebert and Phuong Nguyen analyze Myanmar’s political landscape… Listen >>

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Upcoming Events

Religious Extremism: Perspectives from Indonesia
The CSIS Southeast Asia Program is pleased to host a discussion with Imam Shamsi Ali, director of Jamaica Muslim Center in Jamaica, New York; Fauziah Fauzan, director of the Diniyyah Putri boarding school in West Sumatra Province, Indonesia; and Shaarik H. Zafar, the State Department’s Special Representative to Muslim Communities… Register >>

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For more on the Southeast Asia Program, 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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