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Arc of ContainmentBritain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia$
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Wen-Qing Ngoei

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501716409

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501716409.001.0001

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The Best Hope

The Best Hope

Malaysia in the “Wide Anti-Communist Arc” of Southeast Asia

(p.114) Chapter 4 The Best Hope
Arc of Containment

Wen-Qing Ngoei

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how the creation of Malaysia in 1963—the merger of Malaya, Singapore and Britain’s Borneo territories—completed a geostrategic arc of anticommunist states in Southeast Asia, undermined Sukarno’s left-leaning regime in Indonesia, and provided a powerful fillip to U.S. Cold War aims. As Singapore prepared to enter the Malaysian federation, its anticommunist leader, Lee Kuan Yew, incarcerated his main left-wing rivals with repressive policies inherited from British colonial rule. This move ensured Britain’s military bases in Singapore would continue to serve Anglo-American interests. In addition, Britain and Malaysia launched effective diplomatic offensives against Sukarno during the Malaysia-Indonesia Confrontation (Konfrontasi) of the early 1960s, destabilizing the Sukarno regime and paving the way for his ouster and Indonesia’s subsequent alignment America against China and the USSR.

Keywords:   Lee Kuan Yew, Sukarno, Confrontation or Konfrontasi, Cold War, Malaysia, Britain, Colonial Rule, Southeast Asia, Singapore, Indonesia

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