http://www.nbr.org - NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

The Regionalization of Defense in Southeast Asia

Sheldon W. Simon

The end of the Cold War has proved a mixed blessing for those regions where the impact of international politics remains volatile. On the positive side of the ledger, cessation of Sino-Soviet-U.S. strategic competetition has alleviated some of the smaller states' concerns over the domination of their foreign and defense policies by the great powers. They no longer need to seek the shelter under the wing of a state that might interfere in their domestic affairs as the price of alliance. On the other hand, the Cold War's demise also means that great power largesse has been greatly reduced. Subsidies for small allies' budgets and special access for their exports have atrophied as regional powers' strategic value diminishes. Moreover, when great powers reduce their military deployments in Third World regions, the indigenous conflicts-which had been suppressed through extended deterrence-resurface. Regional states must then confront these conflicts on their own and either defer, resolve, or possibly go to war over them.