Lee Sue-Ann is Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. She also directs the Media, Technology and Society Programme at the same institute.
Sue-Ann graduated from the National University of Singapore with an honours degree in Political Science and from Harvard’s Kennedy School with a Master of Public Policy.
Her research interests include topics such as the rise of China and its strategic implications, technology as the emerging key arena for big-power competition, the politics of Islamisation and the continued salience of identity politics as a divisive factor in political discourse.
Amid intensifying Sino-US competition, the strategic conversation between the United States and Southeast Asia is in danger of being stuck in a rut. While messages from the region's leaders to their American counterparts have been received, the latter see these refrains as hackneyed. It is high time for Southeast Asia to internalise the shifts in Uncle Sam's approach to the region and proceed accordingly.
5-year data trends from the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’s State of Southeast Asia annual survey suggest that ASEAN countries have remained ambivalent about the US’ regional leadership role on multiple fronts. While there is still a reservoir of goodwill towards the US in the region, this is being depleted in some countries and cannot be taken for granted.
The race for Indonesia’s 2024 presidential elections remains wide open. Among the top three contenders, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is the one with the most options. If he does not make a run for the nation’s top job himself, he is well-placed to become a kingmaker.
The clash of online opinions surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reveals support for pro-Russia, pro-Putin narratives in Southeast Asia. Untangling why such rhetoric is attractive points to deep dissatisfaction with the existing liberal international order. Southeast Asia can play a part in helping the world avoid worse alternatives.
In the online battlefield, companies, politicians and media outlets are trying to shape how we think. For media consumers and journalists alike, the keys to a strong defence lie in media literacy and discernment.