The Best Hope
The Best Hope
Malaysia in the “Wide Anti-Communist Arc” of Southeast Asia
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.
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