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Southeast Asia Among the World Powers

Southeast Asia Among the World Powers

Copyright Date: 1957
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Southeast Asia Among the World Powers
    Book Description:

    First published in 1957, this classic work on the political situation in Southeast Asia at the start of the Vietnam War includes a supplement covering events up to mid-1958. An introductory chapter describes the general political and economic characteristics of this important region lying south of Communist China and east of neutralist India. Individual chapters are devoted to Indonesia, the Philippines, Indochina, Thailand, Malaya, and Burma. The concluding chapters analyze the international relations of Southeast Asia and describe American foreign policy in the area.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6492-2
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-vi)
    Amry Vandenbosch and Richard Butwell
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. 1-25)

    Not so long ago the people of the Western world knew only vaguely of the existence of the countries of Southeast Asia. India, on the fringe of the region, had for several decades attracted a great deal of attention because of its heroic struggle for national independence under a very unusual leader. The Philippines were known to Americans, though in a superficial manner, because the United States had the responsibility for governing the islands. Their country’s respective Southeast Asian colonial holdings were likewise known in a general fashion to Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Dutchmen. As a whole, however, the people of...

  5. CHAPTER 2 INDONESIA: Restless Insular Empire
    (pp. 26-68)

    The Indonesian nation is the product of the more than three centuries of Dutch rule which was terminated by the transfer of sovereighty to the new state on December 27, 1949. Nationalism was, of course, bound to come to the peoples of the region, but under other circumstances it might have been Javanese, Sumatranese, or other island or island-group nationalism. Such feeling of unity as now exists among the varied peoples of the insular state has in large part come about as the result of the long period of common Dutch administration.

    For their population and resources the Dutch had...

  6. CHAPTER 3 THE PHILIPPINES: Showcase of Western Democracy
    (pp. 69-109)

    The establishment of United States sovereignty over a territory many miles from the American mainland and inhabited by an alien people who were already engaged in a bitter struggle for national independence presented a new departure in American policy, the meaning of which was not at once apparent to the American nation. Assuming responsibility for the destiny of the Philippines was not expansion into sparsely peopled areas awaiting American settlement, but imperialism, and for this the American people were not prepared. As a result there was little consistency in Philippine policy. In many respects the distant tropical territory was treated...

  7. CHAPTER 4 INDOCHINA: Gateway to Southeast Asia
    (pp. 110-155)

    The fall of Dien Bien Phu to the forces of Viet Minh on May 8, 1954, dramatized to the whole world the growing military and political weakness of the French in Indochina. The negotiations at Geneva in the summer of 1954 which resulted in the partition of Vietnam confirmed Western pessimism about the future of this section of Southeast Asia. During the next year the gloomy outlook of the West was justified in large part by the fact that the north Vietnamese regime of the Communist Ho Chi Minh had got off to a much faster start than its southern...

  8. CHAPTER 5 THAILAND: Diplomatic and Political Phenomenon
    (pp. 156-185)

    Politics in Thailand since the bloodless revolution of 1932 has been a rough-and-tumble struggle dominated by colorful personalities who have jockeyed with one another for control of the state. This competition involves serious implications for the whole world, particularly as it increases political instability in Thailand and so reduces the country's capacity to resist Communist pressures.

    Central among Thai political personalities of the last quarter of a century has been Phibun Songgram, a field marshal who led the military faction against the Chakri dynasty in 1932, and who now is premier. His arch foe is Pridi Banomyong, a civilian politician,...

  9. CHAPTER 6 MALAYA: A Problem in Nation Building
    (pp. 186-211)

    The situation in Malaya is quite different from that in any of the other countries of Southeast Asia. Before the Second World War, Malaya was politically asleep. For most of the area the governmental structure was feudal—sultanates under a complicated system of British protection. The native population had become a minority as a result of immigration chiefly from China and India. As if to make up for lost time, the political tempo since the war has steadily accelerated. The British government has now promised the people of the Malay Peninsula self-government within the Commonwealth in 1957, but the three...

  10. CHAPTER 7 BURMA: Land of Contradictions
    (pp. 212-245)

    The leadership of the Burmese government is, at one and the same time, passionately socialist and devoutly Buddhist. Socialism has a greater foothold in Burma at the present time than it has ever before had in any Far Eastern country. At the same time Buddhism is receiving more official support in Burma today than it has received in any land in modern times. This philosophical contradiction is nowhere better illustrated than in the fact that one man, U Win—presently Burmese ambassador to the United States—served until late 1955 as both minister of national planning and minister of religious...

    (pp. 246-283)

    The events of the last fifteen years have had immense consequences for Southeast Asia in the realm of international relations. After a frustrating era of colonialism, when their relations with other nations and among themselves were directed from London, Paris, The Hague, and Washington, the countries of this part of the world gained in the years after the Second World War, among other aspects of national independence, the right to conduct their own foreign affairs. 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...

    (pp. 284-326)

    The United States has had responsibilities in Southeast Asia since 1899, when it acquired sovereignty over the Philippine Islands, but American interest in the region as a whole remained slight until the eve of Pearl Harbor. The amount of American capital invested in the region was small. Senator Albert Beveridge, in 1899, predicted that Americans would swarm to the Philippines and American capital would flow to the newly acquired dependency in an ever-swelling stream, but this did not happen. The total amount of American investments in the region in 1941 was estimated to be $325,000,000, or only about 2 percent...

    (pp. 327-350)

    The political instability in most of the countries of Southeast Asia—especially the deterioration of economic conditions in Indonesia and the civil war in that unhappy land—is favoring the Communist cause by enabling the Communists to play on political rivalries, to intensify disruption, and to spread disillusionment with democratic or non-Communist systems. Indonesian President Sukarno’s determination to allow the Communists a role in the government obviously also works in their favor. The arrival in Indonesia of ten ships from the U.S.S.R. in early 1958 to replace Dutch vessels which formerly provided the transportation for this large insular country, and...

    (pp. 351-356)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 357-360)