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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 “Reverse Domino Effect”

(p.177) Coda
Arc of Containment

Wen-Qing Ngoei

Cornell University Press

This coda concludes the book by examining how the United States and its Southeast Asian allies responded to the fall of Saigon to communist forces in 1975. It shows that the regimes of the arc of containment did not proceed to topple like dominoes to communist factions at home, or bow to Chinese or Soviet power, but instead elected to reinforce their ties with Washington. Equally, U.S. policymakers discerned this “reverse domino effect” across Asia (or so they termed it) and unreservedly renewed American economic, political and military commitments to their allies in the region. Given that the arc of containment underpinned imperial transition and the rise of U.S. empire in Southeast Asia, the coda contends that reversals of the domino theory, not its fulfilment, were the true prevailing motif of American interference in the region’s fraught decolonization after the Pacific War.

Keywords:   Fall of Saigon, Domino Theory, Decolonization, Southeast Asia, Arc of containment, Reverse Domino Effect, U.S. empire, Imperial Transition

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