This chapter addresses some of the main strategic and security challenges confronting Southeast Asia and evaluates the extent to which the region’s security practices are meeting those challenges. As Alagappa has argued in a seminal text on the subject, it is important to recognize that regional security is shaped as much by internal as international factors and that the maintenance of political legitimacy, state consolidation and the suppression of internal conflicts have been key concerns (Alagappa, 1998: 614–25). As such, alongside what is perhaps the paramount external strategic challenge confronting Southeast Asia today — the question of how to reach an accommodation with a rapidly strengthening China — this chapter focuses on some of the internal dynamics of regional security, most notably the on-going process of state-building and challenges to it. Many of the region’s main security challenges — including territorial disputes, ethnic secessionism and Islamist terrorism — are related to the process of state-building and are legacies of decolonization.
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Alex J. Bellamy
- Macmillan Education UK
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- Chapter 11