Professor Katja Weber Contributed Chapter to Trump’s America and International Relations in the Indo-Pacific

Primary tabs

Professor Weber contributed chapter seven, “Trump’s America in the Indo-Pacific: Southeast Asians Coping with Harsh Realities and Trying to Come Out Ahead,” to the book Trump’s America and International Relations in the Indo-Pacific published in 2021 by Springer. Here is the abstract of her chapter: “This chapter examines the challenges and opportunities Southeast Asian countries confront as a result of a transformed international order. More specifically, the chapter investigates how Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members are responding to growing uncertainty regarding the U.S.’ role in the Indo-Pacific under the Trump administration as well as an increasingly assertive China. Although neorealists, by focusing on changes in the distribution of capabilities of various regional actors—a potential erosion of American power vis-à-vis the Indo-Pacific and an increase in China’s military and economic capabilities —can explain why ASEAN countries are reevaluating their foreign policies, neorealists have trouble accounting for the range of strategies chosen. More specifically, while neorealism might be able to shed light on why particularly weak countries, like Laos and Cambodia, in this asymmetric regional power structure bandwagon with China (accept bilateral deals in the hope that China will leave them alone), it encounters problems accounting for why other Southeast Asian countries, like the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia or Indonesia, do not engage in straight balancing behavior (aggregate capabilities with allies to offset an increasingly powerful China). Instead, to guard against the possibility of U.S. abandonment and to tackle excessive dependencies on China, these countries avoid having to choose sides and pursue hybrid strategies which, I argue, are best explained by neoclassical realism. The chapter ends on an optimistic note suggesting that, since the Trump administration’s policies toward the region in the economic (less so the military) realm represent a significant departure from those of his predecessor, there is reason for cautious optimism post-Trump. Based on his track record as vice president, President Biden seems to understand that both the U.S. and the rest of the world will be better off tackling today’s challenges multilaterally and, thus, return to cooperating with America’s allies, although they most likely will be asked to increase their contributions to enhance regional security.” You can find more information about the book here.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: rallister3
  • Created: 09/04/2021
  • Modified By: rallister3
  • Modified: 09/04/2021


No keywords were submitted.

Target Audience