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The Changing Face of Southeast Asia

The Changing Face of Southeast Asia

Copyright Date: 1966
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    The Changing Face of Southeast Asia
    Book Description:

    Southeast Asia, whose alienation might tilt the balance of power in favor of the Communist bloc, has become the focus of American foreign policy. Amry Vandenbosch and Richard Butwell here trace the development of the eight nations which comprise Southeast Asia and appraise their current role in international affairs.

    Although led to adopt state forms similar to those of the departing colonial powers, each nation traditionally had quite different political systems. It is the authors' thesis that their historical patterns of political and social behavior are re-emerging and that the chief differences among the national political systems and related ways of life can largely be explained in these terms. They feel that the main changes in Southeast Asia in the past two decades reflect the peculiar wedding of such historical considerations and the worldwide forces of democracy, communism, and economic development.

    Southeast Asia, the authors hold, can be viewed as a single collective political entity, for no country is free from direct or indirect influence from its neighbors and this interaction is increasing in quantity and intensity. The pattern of political development, the authors assert, is much colored by national variations of common occurrences, but paradoxically Southeast Asia has never meant more in terms of an interdependent unit historically than it does today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6495-3
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-viii)
    Amry Vandenbosch and Richard Butwell
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. CHAPTER 1 SOUTHEAST ASIA: Politics of a New Era
    (pp. 1-20)

    Modern political systems are the primary means for attempting to solve problems of a public character, with the control of government the chief goal of the competitors for power. The purpose of this pursuit of power is influence over such policies as are formulated by government and subsequently administered by various of its agencies. Those interests which seek to influence public decision-making and policy execution in areas of their concern hope either to obtain or increase advantages for themselves or to prevent undesirable action.

    At least two such types of political systems exist side by side in contemporary Southeast Asia....

  5. CHAPTER 2 INDONESIA: Protracted Revolution
    (pp. 21-73)

    Indonesia in the two decades following World War II came increasingly to be known throughout the world as “Sukarno’s Indonesia.” During these years Indonesia moved from a so-called democracy of appointed legislators and other leaders to a freely and fairly elected cabinet government, then to an increasingly pro-Communist dictatorship. Sukarno, as his country’s never-elected president, was probably the most important political constant throughout this period of change. The story of Indonesia’s political development was in effect an account of Sukarno’s amazing adaptability to the various roles allowed him by his evolving and restless nation. As dictator, Sukarno nonetheless mirrored as...

  6. CHAPTER 3 MALAYSIA: Crisis of Confrontation
    (pp. 74-106)

    Malaysia came into existence on September 16, 1963. It was really not a new state but came about by the incorporation into the Federation of Malaya (which had been granted independence in 1957) of three territories: the island of Singapore and Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo), all former British dependencies. The extension of the federation to include these loose ends of the British empire in the region was generally greeted with approval but unfortunately with hostility on the part of its neighbors-the Philippines and Indonesia—mildly by the first and violently by the second. Instead of adding to the stability...

  7. CHAPTER 4 THE PHILIPPINES: Doubting Democracy
    (pp. 107-159)

    More than 450 years ago the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, sailing in the service of Spain, discovered a chain of islands which the ancestors of the present-day Filipinos had found centuries earlier. What the Filipino of 450 years ago, if indeed he was a Filipino,¹ had not discovered, however, was himself and his fellow Filipinos. There was no common sense of identity among the ancestors of today’s Filipinos, and it was the unifying effect of Spanish colonial rule which ultimately developed such a feeling. The Spaniards ruled the Philippines, or parts thereof, for nearly three and a half centuries—centuries...

  8. CHAPTER 5 VIETNAM: Cork in the Bottle?
    (pp. 160-199)

    On Vietnam, little known to most of the world’s peoples only a few years ago, today have converged almost all of the main forces of international politics as part of the persisting efforts of competing powers to expand their influence and limit that of their adversaries. Ever since the occupation of Indochina by the Japanese in 1941 the world’s political leaders have been very conscious of the strategic position of this territory in the southeastern corner of Asia. The defeat of Japan did not bring peace to Indochina; it brought in new contestants and intensified hostilities. The Japanese pushed Indochina...

  9. CHAPTER 6 LAOS: Captive of Conflict
    (pp. 200-219)

    Laos is a small, landlocked, underdeveloped country, sparsely populated by a collection of tribes without a national history. As a state it is an artificial entity. Such a country would seem destined for a role of insignificance in international relations, yet within a decade it has been the subject of two international conferences—in 1954 and in 1961-1962. At the earlier conference it shared the spotlight with the three other states which constituted the old French Indochina, but in the later one it monopolized the stage. As in the case of the whole of what was Indochina, its geographic position...

  10. CHAPTER 7 CAMBODIA: Land of Strange Politics
    (pp. 220-238)

    Cambodia is a kingdom of about 70,000 square miles wedged in between Thailand, Laos, South Vietnam, and the Gulf of Siam. Its population of more than 6,000,000 is rapidly growing. Between 85 and 90 percent of the population are Khmers, whose ancestors moved down from the northwest into the Mekong Delta two thousand years before the Christian era. Their culture and religion were strongly influenced by Hinduism over a long period, beginning in the first century A.D. The Khmers were under pressure from various peoples, but about the year 800 there emerged the Khmer kingdom of Kambuja (now Cambodia), with...

  11. CHAPTER 8 BURMA: From Buddha to Mars
    (pp. 239-278)

    Burma had a democratic government—certainly in intention if not always in fact—from 1948 to 1958, the country’s first ten years of renewed independence after liberation from British colonial rule. Its leader during these years was one of the most colorful and charismatic political figures in all the newly emergent lands of Asia and Africa, the intensely devout Buddhist U Nu. Nu sought the effective democratization of his country, the liberation of its people from poverty and injustice through socialism, and the revival of Buddhist values as the basic governing force in Burmese life. To do these things, however,...

  12. CHAPTER 9 THAILAND: Soldiers in the Saddle
    (pp. 279-318)

    Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that never has lost its independence to a Western colonial power. Partly as a consequence of this status unique in its part of the world, it experienced some of the same problems in the 1930s that other Southeast Asian nations were to encounter after the Second World War and the liquidation of the old imperial holdings. For example, soldiers played a part in making Thailand a nominally constitutional monarchy in 1932, and by 1938 the country had a fascistlike military dictator, perhaps farcically fascist, in the person of Field Marshal Phibun Songkhram. For...

    (pp. 319-359)

    The international relations of the Southeast Asian countries had inevitably to change with the coming of independence. Only Thailand was master of its own foreign affairs during the long years of Western-dominated Southeast Asian international relations, and even the Thai had to deal with the European masters of neighboring lands rather than with other Southeast Asians. For the Philippines, ruled first by Spaniards and then Americans, the ending of the colonial period marked the first time in nearly four hundred years that it had been able to conduct its relations with other peoples. Centuries also had lapsed since Indonesia had...

    (pp. 360-409)

    American economic interest in Southeast Asia was slight on the eve of the Second World War despite the fact that the United States acquired sovereignty over the Philippines as long ago as 1899. Senator Albert Beveridge predicted at the turn of the century that Americans would swarm to the islands and that American capital would flow to the new dependency in an ever-swelling stream, but this did not happen. The total amount of American investments in the region was estimated in 1941 to be $325,000,000—only about 2 percent of total American foreign investments at the time—and it is...

    (pp. 410-420)

    From any reflection upon contemporary Southeast Asia there emerges one central realization—that of the changing face of this ancient and important region of the globe. The changes, however, are not merely superficial or technological; there are deep and fundamental changes in the aspirations and goals evolving out of the conflict between the cultures of East and West in the minds of Asian peoples. These changes are finding expression in the economies and in both the international and internal political systems of the new nations. Of special interest and concern are the changes which this new situation in Southeast Asia...

    (pp. 421-428)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 429-438)