Lao PDR-US Relations in the New Decade: A Systemic Explanation

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Poowin Bunyavejchewin


This article examines Lao PDR-US relations in the decade of 2010 through a neo-realist foreign policy analysis framework based on expected-utility rational-choice. It also scrutinizes Lao foreign relations in the past as the basis for understanding current foreign policy practice. By applying the foreign policy analysis framework to the case of current Lao PDR-US relations, it found that the Lao PDR views the United States as an external actor that could help balance and counteract China’s overwhelming influence, despite the fact that the US has not received high priority in Vientiane’s strategy. Finally, notwithstanding Vietnam’s indirect support, Lao PDR is cautious in responding to American rapprochement in order not to irritate China.


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Bunyavejchewin, P. (2013). Lao PDR-US Relations in the New Decade: A Systemic Explanation. Journal of Mekong Societies, 8(3), 143–166. Retrieved from