Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Introduction

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Introduction

Article excerpt

The terrorist attack on the United States on 11 September 2001, often referred to as simply "9/11", has been described as the defining moment that was supposed to change the world in many ways. As its impact was seen to touch all corners of the world one way or another, Southeast Asia included, the question naturally arises whether or not the 9/11 event means a paradigm shift, be it political, economic, or strategic, in Southeast Asia.

The attack on the United States perpetrated by radical Muslims did impact on the domestic politics of many Southeast Asian countries, particularly those with sizeable Muslim populations, whether in the majority or minority. Ethno-religious issues took the centre stage in domestic political and social concerns. However, some countries were already facing or had been through problems that had been linked to radical Muslims before 9/11. The issue was whether the ethno-religious conflicts were home-grown or inspired by a worldwide web of radical Muslim organizations such as the Al-Qaeda. Southeast Asian governments felt compelled to choose whether to join the coalition against the worldwide terrorist network or stay out and become a pariah state, a decision that could intensify already existing challenges to the government.

As questions of political stability loomed larger as a result, the regional economies took an extra beating as investors stayed away because of the apparent insecure environment arising from 9/11. …

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