Southeast Asia under the New Balance of Power

Southeast Asia under the New Balance of Power

Southeast Asia under the New Balance of Power

Southeast Asia under the New Balance of Power

Excerpt

Melvin Gurtov

It is by now almost a commonplace to talk about the new multipolar balance of power in Southeast Asia. Changes in the landscape of international politics have made several old and inaccurate descriptions of the region--such as American dominion, a Chinese sphere of influence, or East-West (U.S.-Soviet) Competition--obsolete. The actions of the major powers, and the reactions of the Southeast Asian governments since the end of the 1960s are responsible for these changes. This book studies the region from the perspective of the four major powers (the United States, USSR, China, and Japan) and India. The conclusion indicates how their behavior and the changes they have promoted are being assessed in Southeast Asia.

Each of the next five chapters will elaborate on those policies and developments that have brought about this threshhold in Southeast Asian international relations. However, a brief summary here may be useful. Perhaps the starting point was President Lyndon Johnson's offer of negotiation to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) in March 1968, which opened the long road to the Paris Accords of January 1973. The reduction of American military strength in Indochina and, under the Nixon Doctrine, elsewhere in Asia, clearly had a major impact on strategic calculations within the region, all the more so after the presidential visit to Peking in Febuary 1972.

Outside Southeast Asia, the start of Sino-American diplomacy had significant impact in Japan. It quite quickly led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Japan and to a new basis for Sino- Japanese trade. An even more far-reaching effect may be that Japan henceforth will conduct foreign policy with greater independence and an unwillingness to react constantly to U.S. initiatives. Japan's break with the United States in 1973 on policy toward the Middle East, during the energy crisis, was the first clear sign that Japanese support can no longer automatically be assumed in Washington. Japan is not yet a superpower; but it has become one of Asia's major powers.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.