Deep in the SEA
Despite political instability, Indonesia is too big to ignore for investors – With Keith Leong
During the financial crisis, some banks were “too big to fail”. According to Keith Leong, Indonesia, despite the political turmoils, is “too big to ignore”. The second term of Jokowi, in fact, is not starting positively: a series of unpopular projects of reform, which would endanger civil liberties, led young people on the streets. Despite the chaos, the Indonesian market is so massive that investors and businessmen can’t ignore it. However, civil unrest is not an uncommon feature in Indonesian politics and society. Indonesian political system prefers results over ideology, and it is not unusual that the country is led by a big coalitional government, in which majority and large portions of the minority rule together. For this reason, the opposition is usually tiny and not so effective, so the need for Indonesia to have a strong and fierce independent civil society, ready to occupy street and squares against any government.
China has been useful for the elites in Duterte’s circle - With Carlo Fong Luy
Carlo Fong Luy is a young researcher and he has a lot to share about his country, the Philippines. As you dear listeners may have understood, I have a passion to speak about Rodrigo Duterte and his flamboyant foreign policy. According to Carlo, in order to understand Duterte, we need to depart from a rock-solid assertion: the Philippines’ politics is an oligarchy. Powerful elites control vast swaths of the country and government needs them. A pro-Chinese foreign policy lead Chinese investments that have been beneficial particularly for the elites in Duterte’s circle: Dennis Uy and Lucio Tan.
Duterte is overplaying his hands with China - With Richard Heydarian
Richard Heydarian is one of the most authoritative source regarding the Philippines and Rodrigo Duterte. According to Heydarian, in the past Duterte, a local politician in Davao with zero experience in global affairs, has been capable to pragmatically shift Manila’s foreign policy away from an ironclad and rigid alliance with Washington. Duterte, differently from previous leaders, has been acute enough to understand that sometimes the Philippines’ national interests would have been better off by distancing from the US and binding more with Beijing. However, Durerte has swung too much aggressively towards China and he is not appreciating anymore the value of the US deterrence against a more assertive Chinese presence in the South China Sea.The military apparatus, obviously, is not really in tune with Duterte’s pro China stances. According to Heydarian, Duterte and his supporters are overestimating China’s assets and underestimating it’s liabilities: aging population, ecological catastrophe and structural economic slowdown. There will not be a complete collapse, as American scholars predict, but the physics of power and economics are hitting hard on China.
Forget about an Indian major involvement in Southeast Asia - With Gregory Poling
If Vansh Saluja was quite sure about India’s diplomatic, political and military capabilities in Southeast Asia, Gregory Poling, from the CSIS, is not sure about it. He believes that, on case of an American disengagement from the region, India will be incapable to provide any political or military reach. ASEAN has insistently asked India in the past for a major geopolitical involvement, but it never happened. At most, India will be another middle power in the region.