Beyond the Mekong

Of ASEAN, China, Russia, and Hypersonic Weapons

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Beyond the Mekong | Security

Of ASEAN, China, Russia, and Hypersonic Weapons

A conversation with retired U.S. Naval Captain Carl Schuster.

Of ASEAN, China, Russia, and Hypersonic Weapons
Credit: Photo Supplied

Carl Schuster has been an adjunct faculty instructor at Hawaii Pacific University since 2000, after retiring as a captain with the United States Navy, and he has since earned an academic reputation for his research on China, Russia, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

His specialties also includes hypersonic weapons, which Russia claims to have used in combat in Ukraine. China is also developing similar weapons.

However, Schuster – Chief of Pacific Command’s Intelligence Operations and Director of Operations at the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific from 1994-1999 – remains skeptical about Moscow’s claims and its production capabilities.

He spoke with The Diplomat’s Luke Hunt about Russia’s relationship with China and the impact that is having on broader ties with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) where countries are increasingly looking to develop ties outside the trading bloc.

That includes Myanmar where the generals have divided ASEAN following their February 2021 coup which ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Schuster was commissioned as an ensign at the University of South Carolina Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Battalion in May 1974 and would serve at the Combat Information Center and later as Tactical Action Officer on three U.S. Navy destroyers.

He was also chief of NATO’s Balkan Analysis Team during the 1991-1994 Balkan Wars and has published more than 800 articles in magazines, newspapers and academic publications over the last 40 years.