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William T. Tow, ‘U.S.-Southeast Asia Relations in the Age of the Rebalance’, in Malcolm Cook and Daljit Singh, eds, Southeast Asian Affairs 2016, Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2016.
As Barack Obama nears the end of his Presidency, his administration’s “rebalancing” strategy directed toward the Asia-Pacific constitutes a significant part of his foreign policy legacy. As China rises, that strategy remains a core element of American efforts to reassure ASEAN that the United States will remain an “indispensable” player in their region. Despite criticisms directed toward rebalancing from various quarters, that policy nevertheless remains an appropriate security posture at a time when Southeast Asia is confronting intensifying security challenges and US resources are becoming increasingly strained. Rebalancing’s future viability will depend largely on how well a post-Obama US presidential administration adapts to these challenges and succeeds in sustaining that policy’s initial vision of projecting a comprehensive and consistent US policy approach into the region.