You searched for: Content Type Working Paper Remove constraint Content Type: Working Paper Publishing Institution S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Remove constraint Publishing Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Political Geography Malaysia Remove constraint Political Geography: Malaysia Topic Foreign Policy Remove constraint Topic: Foreign Policy
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  • Author: KUIK Cheng-Chwee
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper adopts a neoclassical realist perspective to explain Malaysia's evolving policy towards the United States under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. It argues that to the extent that there is a “shift” in Malaysia's U.S. policy under the current leadership, the substance and symbolism in Najib's U.S. policy has been driven and limited by the needs of the ruling elite to strike a balance between a variety of structural imperatives and domestic considerations. Structurally, in the face of a fast rising China (with whom Malaysia has come to develop an increasingly productive relation in both economic and diplomatic domains, but with whom it has unresolved territorial issues), the leader of the smaller state is increasingly confronted with the geostrategic need to keep a more balanced relationship with all the major players. This is especially so with the United States, which, under the Obama administration's “pivot” to Asia policy, has demonstrated a renewed and enhanced commitment to engage countries in the Asia-Pacific, including Malaysia. This structural push, however, has been counteracted by the smaller state's desire of not wanting to be entrapped in any big power rivalry, and by its concern about the uncertainties of great power commitments. Domestically, there is a strong economic need to further enhance two-way trade and increase the flow of American capital and technology into Malaysia, deemed vital to Najib's Economic Transformation Program. Perhaps more importantly, there is also a political calculation by the governing elite to capitalize on the increasingly warm and close bilateral ties as a leverage to reduce – if not neutralize – Washington's support for the Anwar Ibrahim-led opposition and civil society movements, which have presented a growing challenge to the ruling BN coalition. This calculation, however, has been counteracted by UMNO's domestic concern of not wanting to appear too closely aligned with America, in order not to alienate the country's Muslim majority voters who have been critical of U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These structural and domestic determinants together explain Malaysia's evolving policy toward the superpower under the current leadership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Political Economy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Malaysia, Israel, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Helen E.S. Nesadurai
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explains Malaysia-US relations in terms of national interests derived from the nature of the Malaysian political economy and the salience of Islam in Malay(sian) politics as they interact with US foreign policy postures derived from distinct US grand strategies. The paper compares Malaysia's responses to the US under the Clinton and the first George W. Bush Administrations in terms of the following: (a) instances of cooperation and non-cooperation on key US initiatives; (b) pursuit of alternative economic and defence/security relationships; and (c) construction of alternative discourses and coalitions aimed at challenging US initiatives and its hegemony more broadly. Malaysia's responses to the US can be summed up in the phrase, 'rejecting dominance, embracing engagement', evident during both the Clinton and the Bush Administrations and consistent under the Mahathir and the current Abdullah Badawi governments. The Malaysian government's attempts to develop coalitions to challenge US initiatives and its hegemony have not alwyas been successful. The government has, nonetheless, stood firm and rejected US initiatives and actions that directly threatened national interests. The US, on its part, has accommodated itself to Malaysia's positions on a number of occasions since September 11, reflecting Malaysia's valuable role in Washington's fight against terrorism. Both governments also cooperation extensively in economics, defence and transnational crime from which both parties draw benefits.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Malaysia, Southeast Asia