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Hard Interests, Soft IllusionsSoutheast Asia and American Power$
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Natasha Hamilton-Hart

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450549

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450549.001.0001

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The Politics and Economics of Interests

The Politics and Economics of Interests

Ruling Elites and U.S. Power

(p.48) 3 The Politics and Economics of Interests
Hard Interests, Soft Illusions

Natasha Hamilton-Hart

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the political and economic interests underlying the beliefs held by ruling elites and their allies in noncommunist countries of Southeast Asia regarding American hegemony. In each country, the political groups that emerged as winners in domestic conflicts in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were those that benefited—in political and material terms—from the U.S. role in the region. Their defeated opponents, conversely, had strong reasons to see the United States in a very different light. This chapter also considers the political economy of alignment with the United States in the noncommunist Southeast Asian states. It suggests that a different distribution of domestic political power would have produced a different regional orientation toward the United States.

Keywords:   political interests, economic interests, ruling elites, Southeast Asia, hegemony, United States, political economy, alignment, political power, noncommunist countries

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