onsdag 9. mars 2022

What Russian aggression in Ukraine means for Southeast Asia

Russia is attacking Ukraine, an act of aggression that could upend the global order. This is a clear violation of the sovereignty of a state, a central principle of international law. Yet the response from across the capitals of Southeast Asia has been muted, despite the extremely dangerous precedent that it sets. President Vladimir Putin’s goal is not to take over Ukraine. He wants a compliant government, like Belarus, that does Moscow’s bidding. He wants the political and diplomatic assets of having vassal states, without any of the liabilities of their underperforming economies.

In short, Putin is reviving the old Soviet concept of “limited sovereignty”: Great powers are sovereign, and weaker states have just a little less sovereignty. Should they not comply with the demands of great powers, they open themselves up to military and political intervention.

Where’s the concern in Southeast Asia?