How has the largely American war in Afghanistan--the terrorist attacks of 11 September, the counterattack that began on 7 October, and the retreat of Taliban forces since 13 November--affected the foreign policy environment now facing Northeast and Southeast Asian states? Is this the beginning of Cold War II? Has terrorism replaced communism as the enemy of a new and enduring global alliance led by the United States? How do East Asian governments see themselves in relation to this anti-terrorist coalition? As enthusiasts eager to defend or promote democracy in politics and moderation in religion? As joiners hoping to elicit American support for the repression of "terrorism" inside their own countries, e.g., in Tibet, Aceh, and the Sulu archipelago? As bystanders skeptical of American motives and resentful of American influence, but resigned to their inability to curb American hegemony? As balancers eager to organize East Asia into a region able to defend itself against unchecked American power? Matters relevant to the answering of such questions include: disappointing economic trends in much of East Asia; the likely impact of the compromises reaching at the recent World Trade Organization meeting in Qatar; the status and implications of the proposed free trade area between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); changing affinities and tensions among ASEAN members; military progress or failure in the effort to destroy Al Qaeda; and the possible involvement of East Asian contingents in a UN-brokered arrangement for the stabilization of Afghanistan.
Simon SC Tay teaches international law at the National University of Singapore. He was selected for three terms as a Nominated Member of the Singapore Parliament. His many publications include A New ASEAN in a New Millennium (2000); Preventive Diplomacy and the ASEAN Regional Forum (1999); and "Towards a Singaporean Civil Society," in Southeast Asian Affairs 1998. He also writes stories and poems; his 1991 book, Stand Alone, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize. In 2000 the World Economic Forum named him a "global leader of tomorrow."