“US eyes Indonesia, Vietnam as potential strategic allies in Southeast Asia,” AFP, 1 May 2005, http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050501/pl_afp/usaseanally_050501224348;_ylt=A9FJqYYNYXVClgMB_QCs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2bW85OXIzBHNlYwNwbA– (from Praktike Liberals Against Terrorism).
Hmmm… If only some blogger gave us early notice that America’s friend Vietnam was becoming a Thailand-class ally…
The United States is eyeing Muslim giant Indonesia and erstwhile enemy Vietnam as potential strategic allies in Southeast Asia as it moves to expand a counter-terrorism drive and contain China’s growing influence in the region.
At present, the United States has three close allies in the region — treaty allies the Philippines and Thailand as well as key security partner Singapore.
Strong US-Vietnam relations will be an effective bulwark against any Chinese regional military expansion while Indonesia is crucial in the US “war on terror,” of which predominantly-Muslim Southeast Asia is seen as a key front, analysts say.
If only someone would have predicted this…
[Deputy Secretary of State Robert] Zoellick is expected to discuss prospective security partnerships with the Indonesian and Vietnamese leaders on top of identifying areas for economic cooperation.
The Vietnamese “have been very, very interested in strengthening the overall relationship,” he told reporters in Washington ahead of the visit. “Economics is one of the drivers but there is very strong security interest. This is obviously true for a country like Indonesia too.”