June 14, 2002
The United States continues to make the war against terrorism its top priority. To keep the world focused on the battle, it is focusing on Southeast Asia, opening what some call "a second front" in the region. This agenda makes sense in Washington, but its single-minded focus could undermine long-term U.S. interests in the region. Counter-terrorism policy must be part of a broader strategy of engagement with Southeast Asia; many Southeast Asians believe the war against terrorism is becoming a substitute for that broader approach to the region.