The nature of Lao security challenges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


East Asia (including the sub regions of Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia) has been viewed as ranking among the most dangerous or conflictual regions on the planet, enduring colonial and Cold War legacies and several potential flashpoints. Regional international security governance has focused on nonintervention and conflict management, whereas domestic governance has focused on national security, development, and unity under tight central government control. Laos is a paradigmatic case of East Asian security policy prioritization. Its authoritarian government focuses, primarily, on traditional state-centric conceptualizations of security, and top-down, macroeconomic models and mega-projects to develop the country out of insecurity. This research project uses a qualitative approach consisting of literature review, document analysis, and limited interviews in the field. The conclusions are that, while by some measurements Lao governmental policymaking has been successful in achieving stated security objectives, in terms of nontraditional security (NTS) and human security considerations, these policies may not only be considered insufficient, but could also be counter-productive, storing up challenges for the future. Hence, the final section contains policy prescription for a more sustainable security situation in the Lao PDR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-243
Number of pages25
JournalAsian Affairs(UK)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • governance
  • human security
  • Laos
  • nontraditional security (NTS)
  • security


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