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The Universe UnravelingAmerican Foreign Policy in Cold War Laos$
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Seth Jacobs

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801445477

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801445477.001.0001

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“ Foreigners Who Want to Enslave the Country”

“ Foreigners Who Want to Enslave the Country”

American Neocolonialism, Lao Defiance

(p.129) Chapter 4 “ Foreigners Who Want to Enslave the Country”
The Universe Unraveling

Seth Jacobs

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the chain of events that culminated in the battle for Vientiane when Washington tried to reverse the results of the May 1958 supplementary elections—which saw left-wing candidates win most of the contested seats in the Lao Assembly. Anxious to prevent future disasters at the polls, American policymakers took a number of steps that violated Lao sovereignty. First, they created their own party to compete in local politics, then they used this party to undermine Prince Souvanna Phouma to make way for a premier who excluded the Pathet Lao from ministerial posts. After the new premier wielded plenary powers for a year, the Eisenhower administration underwrote a coup that resulted in an even more right-wing government, and when the Royal Lao Government (RLG) held its next round of nationwide elections, the CIA and the PEO helped manipulate the country to ensure success for conservative candidates.

Keywords:   Vientiane battle, Lao Assembly, Lao sovereignty, Souvanna Phouma, Pathet Lao, Eisenhower administration, right-wing government, Royal Lao Government

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