Southeast Asia’s autocratic leaders have adored Trump’s transactional approach to foreign policy and at times won trade and defense deals without adequate scrutiny of their poor human rights records. The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will take a tougher stance on democracy and human rights in bilateral deals.
Donald Trump’s presidency has damaged America’s stature in Southeast Asia greatly. What does Joe Biden need to do to reverse the impact of last four years?
Washington wants Southeast Asia to stand up to China to defend the region’s economic and security interests. Will the region’s political leadership adhere to the United States calls?
As the chances of Donald Trump winning re-election increase, Southeast Asia may be bracing for four more years of US policy that prioritizes strategic competition with China.