News analysis

Is Asean alone in new 'America First' anti-terror strategy?

Trump's plan omits South-east Asia and the threats posed by active extremist groups

Francis Chan Since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks by Al-Qaeda militants, the United States has played an important role in providing many of its Asean allies with wide-ranging assistance in counter-terrorism.

At the time, the George W. Bush administration positioned South-east Asia as its second front in the war on terror, which formed the impetus for a concerted, US-led response against Al-Qaeda affiliates in the region. These groups include the Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines and Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which had significant presence in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Is Asean alone in new 'America First' anti-terror strategy?'. Print Edition | Subscribe