British-Malayan Counterinsurgency and Nation Building in U.S. Strategy
This chapter revisits the Malayan Emergency to recover the outsize American fascination with Britain’s military triumph over the guerrillas of the Malayan Communist Party. It traces how U.S. policymakers’ attempts to cherry-pick lessons from the British counterinsurgency campaign in Malaya shaped U.S. regional and global strategies from the 1950s through the 1960s. The American preoccupation with British-Malayan counterinsurgency tactics, as well as British and Malayan leaders’ efforts to exploit this preoccupation and thereby strengthen their Cold War partnership with America, illuminates the British Empire’s critical and enduring influence upon American empire-building across the global South.
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