The Fall of Singapore, “Chinese Penetration,” and the Domino Theory
This chapter treats Japan’s conquest of Southeast Asia as a window to the longer history of Anglo-American perceptions of the region’s interconnectedness. Japanese victories fuelled what would become the domino logic, entwining race with the struggle for ascendancy in the region, preparing the way for U.S. Cold War fixations with the perceived threat from China and its diaspora to Southeast Asia. At base, the domino theory in U.S. policy toward the region arose from apocalyptic visions of China using its diasporic links across Southeast Asia to repeat Imperial Japan’s shocking wartime triumphs over the colonial powers, the most notable of these being the fall of British-controlled Singapore in 1942.
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