In tandem with China’s rise, America's geopolitical predominance in Asia has been waning, and this decline in influence has accelerated under the presidency of Donald Trump. Looking further ahead, however, it is not obvious that this "new normal" will be sustained in light of America’s deep economic and security interests in Asia and China’s fundamental fragilities.
India is scheduled to launch the lunar rover Chandrayaan-2 in 2018, an emblematic sign of the country's will to step up its space policy. Its efforts in this arena include a revival of international partnerships and a change in its position on space militarization. In the absence of an adequate global governance regime, such activity extends geopolitical tensions to outer space.
In its Nuclear Posture Review released in February 2018, the Trump administration introduced new types of weapons and expanded the circumstances for justifying their use. This reverses nuclear arms control gains acquired through decades of delicate global negotiations.
Almost half of the world's pirate attacks happen in Southeast Asia. Among the most common locations for attacks is the Strait of Malacca, where tankers carry oil from the Gulf region to China, Japan, and South Korea, and via Singapore's refineries. As piracy becomes more prevalent, collaboration across the ASEAN region is more necessary than ever.
Despite his questionable, often violent leadership, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte enjoys an astounding 80% approval rating. In actuality, this support is carefully weighed and highly conditional. While Duterte won the presidency by speaking to the anxieties and hopes of the citizens, he now has to deliver on his promises, and the people are keeping tabs.
As demand for documented migrant labor has risen across Asia, smugglers have been replaced with migration brokers, who utilize and manage webs of relationships to send workers abroad. With knowledge of both the intricacies of bureaucracy and the informal world of local communities, they are an essential part of the international migration infrastructure.