Malaysia Between the United States and China

What do Weaker States Hedge Against?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article analyzes Malaysia's alignment behavior vis-à-vis America and China, with a focus on explaining how the weaker state's insistence on hedging has both motivated and limited its defense links with the competing powers. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that regional states choose to align militarily with the rebalancing America to hedge against China, the article argues that this characterization is only partially true; a more accurate account is that weaker states do not hedge against any single actor per se; rather, they seek to hedge against a range of risks associated with uncertain power relations. In the case of Malaysia, while Putrajaya aims to mitigate the challenges of an assertive Beijing, its alignment behavior is more a function of a desire to offset several systemic and domestic risks, namely, the shadow of entrapment, abandonment, and alienation, alongside the fear of authority erosion at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-177
Number of pages23
JournalAsian Politics and Policy
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

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Malaysia
China
alienation
wisdom
erosion
anxiety

Keywords

  • Asymmetric defense cooperation
  • Hedging
  • Malaysia-China relations
  • Malaysia-U.S. relations
  • Weaker states

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Malaysia Between the United States and China : What do Weaker States Hedge Against? / Cheng Chwee, Kuik.

In: Asian Politics and Policy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 155-177.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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