Some five months after Philippine troops flushed out Islamic State-aligned militants in the southern city of Marawi, recent military-militant clashes show the Islamic State's local affiliates have regrouped and spread since last year's siege, still gaining recruits and threatening once again to become a rallying point for jihadists across the region. But the persistent regional threat has spurred ASEAN countries towards greater security cooperation.
The growing influence of Iran under the failing nuclear deal and the ongoing importance of the Australia-US relationship were key messages shared during this week's visit by American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris.
Israel has long had deep links with some ASEAN member-states, while its relationship with others are more fragile or less developed.
On January 19, the Pentagon released its new National Defence Strategy for the US. The second paragraph of the 14-page declassified summary painted a dire picture. "We are facing increased global disorder, characterised by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order - creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."
THERE is a group that was described by a senior US security official 15 years ago as the "A-Team of terrorists" and has only gone from strength to strength in the years since then. This group perpetrates violent acts against civilians, calls for mass murder and, by its own admission, doesn't differentiate between its political and military arms.
Yet Australians are effectively free to fly this group's flag, fill its coffers and offer it material support, even as its operatives undertake terrorist activities in our region.
The death in Marawi of the top two leaders of the Islamic State-aligned forces in Southeast Asia was a significant achievement for the Philippines military. However, few believe it will end Islamist terrorism in the southern Philippines and neighbouring regions, as the remnants of the Marawi campaign scatter to remote areas to reconvene and reorganise.
I've heard people in Australia, including people of former prominence, offering the suggestion that if you do not run with the pack on a pro-Palestinian agenda, you're running against the tide of history.
The exact opposite is the case.
In reality, Israel is now running through a fairly incredible sequence of diplomatic achievements which are part of a broader pattern.
The United States has repeatedly been surprised by major developments in Asia, sometimes catastrophically so. Think Pearl Harbor... the victory of Mao Zedong's Communists in the Chinese civil war... the Korean War... Vietnam... or the rise of a Chinese superpower competitor from the depths of Maoist misery.
Michael R. Auslin's The End of the Asian Century seeks to prevent Americans from again being surprised by the disruptions that still might come in Asia.
As North Korea once again comes to the fore of the world's conscious, the lesson should be clear. What matters is not short-term talk, deal, and negotiations, but whether Iran's long-term ambitions have changed.
For now, this does not seem to be the case. And, if this is allowed to fester, the long-term result may be another North Korea, if not something even worse.