Prof K.S Nathan during the talk
The Centre for International Studies along with the Centre for Corporate and Community Development, Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Social and Policy Studies, and Malaysian Association for American Studies (MAAS) jointly organised a webinar titled “United States Policy in Asia under the Biden Administration” on 20 August 2021. Held via Zoom, the webinar, was presented by Prof K.S. Nathan, who is the current President of MAAS. Prof K.S. Nathan is currently a visiting research fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) in the National University of Malaysia (UKM).
The webinar discussed the current and future direction of American foreign policy under Biden’s administration following Joe Biden’s victory in the November 2020 Presidential Election. In the webinar, Prof K.S. Nathan spoke about the principles of the United States foreign policy in Asia under the Biden administration and examined the continuities and discontinuities in the US policy towards Asia between Trump and Biden administration. In the webinar, Prof K.S Nathan also spoke about the US-Asia relations in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia, and US-China relations from Trump Presidency to Biden Presidency.
“The United States has been actively involved in Asia since the conquest of The Philippines in 1899. It views itself as a major Asia-Pacific power with a responsibility to maintain a global as well as regional balance of power. The US supports democracy and free enterprise as the economic models that best promotes human rights and welfare. The US-ASEAN relations have been generally stable in the period of the post-cold war era and the reasons are ASEAN has gained regional confidence, political stability and has established strong institutional links as well as major powers via Dialogue Partner Relationships among the USA, the European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, India and Russia. ASEAN practises Inclusive Regionalism, thus, there is no threat to any external power and the rise of multipolarity has also strengthened the concept of ASEAN centrality in managing regional stability and security,” said Prof K.S. Nathan.
He added, “President Trump did not pay much attention to ASEAN and skipped key regional meetings such as ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit. Trump was more interested in security issues such as North Korea’s nuclear threat and China’s economic threat to the US. He is also not known for his knowledge and experience in international relations and diplomacy. Biden will pay more attention to ASEAN via foreign aid such as development assistance, capacity building, pandemic control-supply of vaccines, healthcare post-pandemic, cyber security, counter-terrorism, maritime security with an eye on the South China Sea.”