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From ASEAN Economic Development to Militarization

POLITICS / WORLDVIEWS / January 22, 2019

By Dan Steinbock              

In Africa, the Trump administration is setting a precedent by replacing economic development with militarization. In Asia, it seeks to couple “rebalancing” in trade with a rearmament drive.

In a recent editorial, The Manila Times expressed concern that relatively benign economic conditions may lead to a false sense of security as “the United States-China trade war may be starting to inflict collateral damage on the economy.”

In the short-term, it is a valid concern for the Philippines and other ASEAN economies that currently benefit relatively benign economic conditions.

But even if the worst excesses of the trade war could be deterred, there are darker clouds in the longer-term horizon. The Trump administration’s new trade protectionism is accompanied by increasingly military stance. The new US Africa strategy heralds changes in other regions as well, particularly Asia.

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About the Author

dan-steinbock-webDr. Dan Steinbock is the founder of Difference Group and has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), Shanghai Institute for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see  

Featured image courtesy of: U.S. Pacific Command / Flickr

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