Arriving in Australia last November, President Obama brought with him one clear message: America is back in Asia. He didn’t say it directly, but the pundits could guess why. China is growing at a rapid rate, and the regional balance of power is shifting fast. Much has been written about what China’s rise means for Australia. But what do the 600 million people who live between Darwin and Hong Kong think? Does Southeast Asia welcome America’s reinvigorated presence in the region? Or do they see it as a threat?
Jessica Brown is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies and author of an upcoming CIS report on Southeast Asian foreign policy. In 2011, she published Jakarta’s Juggling Act: Balancing China and America in the Asia-Pacific. A Meet the Researcher Lecture.