Malaysia Between China and the West: Don't Rock the Boat
When it comes to great power rivalry in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a prime example of a middle power trying to negotiate between the West––principally led by the United States––and China. The experience of Malaysia is of course not unique: the challenge the country faces, being pressured by both the United States and China into supporting one side over the other, is similar to those facing many other countries in the region.
In this short article, I will lay out the reasons as to why Malaysian middlepowership has led it to pursue a policy of strategic ambiguity in the context of the South China Sea, and to pursue a “low-profile” approach to competition between the United States, its allies, and China more broadly.
Publication titleGeorgetown Journal of Asian Affairs
Department/SchoolPolitics and International Relations
PublisherAsian Studies Program, Georgetown Universtiy
- Published online