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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 Friendly Kings

The Friendly Kings

Southeast Asia’s Transition from Anglo-American Predominance to U.S. Hegemony

(p.149) Chapter 5 The Friendly Kings
Arc of Containment

Wen-Qing Ngoei

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Southeast Asia’s imperial transition from Anglo-American predominance to U.S. hegemony between the late 1960s and mid-1970s, a product of British decolonization strategies in Singapore and the growing stability of the arc of containment. As Britain’s military withdrew from Singapore, London established the Five Power Defense Arrangement (FPDA), a security framework for Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, that thwarted the Soviet Union’s hopes of expanding its regional influence beyond Vietnam. At the same time, Southeast Asia’s anticommunist statesmen founded ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in 1967 and forged increasingly intimate political, economic and military ties with America, stabilizing their regimes and effectively containing Vietnam and China. Moscow and Beijing were cognizant of U.S. dominance in Southeast Asia and keen to thaw relations with Washington, the de facto hegemon despite U.S. policy failures in Indochina.

Keywords:   Southeast Asia, Anglo-American predominance, British decolonization, U.S. hegemony, Arc of containment, Five Power Defense Arrangement (FPDA), Soviet Union, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Vietnam, Imperial Transition

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