Peer-reviewed (refereed)

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2018. "Why is Southeast Asia Rearming? An Empirical Assessment", in U.S. Policy in Asia -- Perspectives for the Future, eds. Rafiq Dossani and Scott W. Harold (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2018), pp. 106-137


Why have Southeast Asian states seemed to be rearming over the past decade? Are they improving their defense capabilities to confront a rising China, or are the activities driven by other considerations, such as the need to replace aging equipment? This paper addresses these questions by providing a regional, rather than country-specific, overview of Southeast Asia's defense capability development. Specifically, it presents empirical regional patterns of defense spending, weapons import, and force structure. It examines three existing explanations for Southeast Asia's arms drive: (1) External threat: China’s rising military threat and aggressive behavior, (2) Market economics: the structural dependence on the global defense market, and (3) Technological requirement: Individual armed forces need to replace their aging Cold War–era equipment.

A shortened and summarized version of this chapter appears as "Is Southeast Asia’s Military Modernization Driven by China?" Global Asia, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2018): 42-47


2012. “Regional Order by Other Means? Assessing the Rise of Defense Diplomacy in Southeast Asia”, Asian Security 8 (3): pp. 251–270


This article seeks to address why and how defense diplomacy in Southeast Asia has risen in the past decade. By examining multilateral defense diplomacy under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), as well as Indonesia’s bilateral defense diplomacy, this article makes three arguments. First,bilateral and multilateral defense diplomacy in Southeast Asia complement one another. Second, the focus of multilateral defense diplomacy has evolved and now reflects the blurring distinction between nontraditional and traditional security issues. Third, the rise of ARF’s multilateral defense diplomacy can be attributed to the concern over China’s rise, while ASEAN, considers it as among the key mechanisms to recover from the fallout of the 1996 Asian financial crisis and the recent regional arms development.


2011. “Double Jeopardy: Climate Insecurities and Their Implications for Asian Armed Forces,” Defence Studies 11 (2): pp. 271 – 296


This paper seeks to explore and assess the implications of climate insecurities for armed forces in the Asia-Pacific region, and in particular Southeast Asia. It identifies key issues and trends related to climate insecurities – in the areas of mass migration, diseases, natural disasters and the scarcity of water, food and other resources. It then details the implications for regional armed forces in the strategic, institutional and operational realms, and contends that climate change will become both a burden multiplier and a threat multiplier in the decades to come


Book reviews


Maritime Security and Indonesia: Cooperation, Interests, and Strategies by Senia Febrica (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017

Unresolved Border, Land and Maritime Disputes in Southeast Asia: Bi-and Multinational Conflict Resolution Approaches and ASEAN’s Centrality, edited by Alfred Gerstl and Mária Strašáková (Leiden: Brill, 2017)

Reviewed in Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Vol. 54, No. 2 (2018): pp. 270-274


The two books advance our understanding of the different historical and policy contexts surrounding territorial disputes and security cooperation in Southeast Asia. They bring a much-needed corrective to the prevailing policy narrative that geopolitical dynamics and great power politics drive regional states’ security behaviour. Both books show that Southeast Asian states formulate their own set of strategic interests and calculate which policies benefit their positions


Working papers

2009. Evan A. Laksmana, “The Preponderance of Geography: Revisiting American Grand Strategy in Asia,” Working Paper No. 1 (Bangkok: American Studies Program, Institute of Security and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University)


Short essays and commentaries

"The odd man in: contemplating Australian membership of ASEAN", The Strategist, April 4, 2018

"Why ASEAN needs to decentralize regionalism", The Jakarta Post, October 13, 2017

"Time to consider refinancing options for the ASEAN secretariat", The Strategist, November 10, 2017

"Timor-Leste, Australia, and Asia's contested maritime order", The Jakarta Post, September 22, 2017

"Boost ASEAN's own security web", The Jakarta Post, August 8, 2017

"ASEAN and the mud on the US–China strategic lens," The Strategist, May 9, 2017

"Should Washington rearm Southeast Asia against China?", The Jakarta Post, Feb 8, 2017

"A growing strategic impasse in the Indo-Pacific?," IISS Shangri-La Voices, July 8, 2016

"How Washington can restore strategic reassurance in Asia," The Jakarta Post, Dec. 6, 2016

"Can there be ASEAN centrality without unity?," The Jakarta Post, September 6, 2016

"Why international law cannot rule over the South China Sea," The Jakarta Post, July 25, 2016

"Bracing for the `game of thrones' in Asia's future", The Jakarta Post, Nov 19, 2011

"Sketching out a future ASEAN-NATO partnership,” The Jakarta Post, July 26, 2011

"Climate change can strain region's security", The Straits Times, December 16, 2010

"Is China failing SE Asia's litmus test?," The Jakarta Post,  June 7, 2010

"Asia's 'Holy Grail' of regional architecture”, The Jakarta Post, March 31, 2010