A paradigm shift has occurred in geopolitics, particularly across the Indo-Pacific with the re-emergence of the Quad security partnership and the AUKUS deal forged between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
This is a major issue for Southeast Asia where politics is already complicated by a dramatic rise in Chinese debt, which is threatening the region’s economy and has brought the glory days of its Belt and Road Initiative to an end.
The focus remains on Evergrande and the property developer’s debt load of more than $300 million.
Bradley Murg, distinguished senior research fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, talks with The Diplomat’s Luke Hunt about these issues as Phnom Penh prepares to take over as chair of ASEAN in 2022, a year which includes the potential for superpower confrontation over Taiwan and the South China Sea.
And then there are the great pretenders – France and Russia – and their ambitious bids for influence in a region where security is still dominated by the United States and its long-time allies.