HOANG THI HA, IAN STOREY

The tension between values-based and realpolitik imperatives is always a defining feature of US foreign policy, but democracy has been on the back burner despite all the rhetoric. Biden’s flagship Democracy Summit in December 2021 invited only three Southeast Asian states — Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines — but US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Kritenbrink was quick to play down the gravity of non-invitation, saying that it “is not a commentary on the strength” of US relations with its closest partners, including Singapore. Besides, the little care exhibited by most Southeast Asian states about the Democracy Summit as well as its nominal outcomes meant that this event would soon become, if not already, a footnote in the story of US-Southeast Asia relations.

Read the full article at Fulcrum