Great Power Strategies in Muslim Southeast Asia: Indonesian and Malaysian Public Perceptions of the U.S., China, and Japan

Dr. Guido Benny
5 September 2019

This forum will disseminate the results of an empirical survey conducted by Dr. Guido Benny (Taylor’s University) and Dr. Prashanth Parameswaran (Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.) in April 2019. Focusing on the perceptions of the youths in Indonesia and Malaysia, this study adopts the ICE Framework to probe the perceived images, contribution, and expectation of the regional role of three Great Powers – the United States, China, and Japan – in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nations. Particular attention is paid to: the three powers’ actions, their influence (helping or hindering the Southeast Asian countries’ national and regional interests), and the prospect of their presence in the region. In addition, the survey also measures public perceptions of the evolving strategies by Great Powers, namely China’s strategy in the South China Sea, its Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the U.S. Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. The survey, involving 824 youths in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, reveals interesting findings about the three Great Powers’ foreign policies and strategies in Southeast Asia. The talk will conclude with some policy recommendations for public diplomacy and engagement.

About the Speaker: Dr. Guido Benny is Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for the Bachelor of Social Science at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Taylor’s University. He was formerly a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Malaysia (UKM) from 2014 to 2017. Dr. Benny’s current research focuses on the public diplomacy of Great Powers in Southeast Asia. Previously, he has conducted studies on non-traditional security issues and regional integration initiatives in East and Southeast Asia. He has published widely on the subjects, including 25 impact and refereed journal articles (2 in ISI, 12 Scopus, 14 peer-reviewed journals), 2 policy papers, 28 working papers or proceedings, and 7 books or chapters in books. He obtained his Ph.D. in Strategic and Security Analysis from UKM in 2013, Master in Management Science from the University of Indonesia (2001-2003) and Bachelor of Social and Political Sciences (1994-1998) from the same Indonesian university. During his service at UKM, he served as Coordinator for the Masters Programme of Strategic and Security Analysis (2016 – 2017), Research Group Leader for Regionalism and ASEAN Research Cluster (2016 – 2017), and the managing editor of Jebat: Malaysian Journal of History, Politics and Strategy(2014 – 2017).