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Variations on a (Hedging) Theme: Comparing ASEAN Core States’ Alignment Behavior
Published February 26, 2016
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This chapter compares the foreign policy responses of three “core” ASEAN states—Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore—vis-à-vis an assertive China and a rebalancing America.1 The weaker states have all pursued a hedging approach, not taking sides and adopting contradictory policies aimed at keeping a fallback position. There are subtle, but crucial, variations in their responses—different degrees and forms of their fallback-maintenance efforts, i.e., the military, political, and economic measures seeking to mitigate the risks of uncertainty. Indonesia and Singapore have persistently demonstrated a greater readiness than Malaysia to cultivate political and military options to hedge against the uncertainty surrounding China’s rise, but with varying attitudes about America’s countervailing role.

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