Journal Article, International Security, issue 3, volume 32
By Evelyn Goh
The end of the Cold War left the stability of Southeast Asia in question, with many assuming that China would dominate the region after the United States withdrew and that other countries would engage in conflict. Instead, Southeast Asian states shaped the new regional order by encouraging the omni-enmeshment of major powers through multilateral institutions and indirectly balancing against China. The resulting stability, though promising, remains questionable because of uncertainty regarding U.S. commitment and Chinese intentions in this part of the world, as well as the involvement of other regional powers. The United States must widely engage Southeast Asia to maintain a favorable regional order.
Since the 1990s, Asia-Pacific countries have changed their approaches to security cooperation and regional order. The end of the Cold War, the resurgence of China, the Asian economic crisis, and the events of September 11, 2001, have all contributed to important changes in the Asia-Pacific security architecture.