The Biden administration’s attempts to rebuild ties with Southeast Asia will no doubt be welcomed by many within the region. The United States will remain an important Indo-Pacific player for the foreseeable future, and crucial for ensuring stability in the world economy’s new center of gravity. It is thus incumbent on Washington to properly understand the aspirations and priorities of Southeast Asians to ensure America’s return to the region is a lasting one.
Imran Shamsunahar is an Executive Researcher with the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), a liberal-leaning think tank based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is also a freelance writer, having published pieces for Nikkei Asia, South China Morning Post, and Quillette.