In response to the war in Ukraine and amid growing tensions with China, Vietnam has doubled down on its strategy of multi-alignment, by simultaneously courting closer relations not only with the U.S. and China, but also with likeminded regional powers and neighbors. As a result, Vietnam has forged a new strategic sweet spot.
Over the past five years, Beijing has adopted a much more assertive military and diplomatic approach in Southeast Asia. While one could reasonably expect this to negatively affect China’s standing in the region, the opposite is the case. China’s influence in Southeast Asia has soared, largely at the expense of the United States.
Ahead of Thailand’s election, Pheu Thai, the country’s main opposition party, is gaining momentum as it looks to end nearly a decade of military-backed rule. But while a clear margin of victory would limit the military-backed regime’s ability to remain in power by legal means, it could prompt another coup or a judicial intervention.