Khoman, Thanat
July 1964
Foreign Affairs;Jul1964, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p628
Academic Journal
The article discusses political development and problems associated with the Southeast Asian nations. Prior to the World War I, Southeast Asia, with the exception of Thailand, was under Western colonial rule. The British, French, Dutch and Americans shared control of the region. The tasks confronting the newly independent Southeast Asian nations thus appear mainly to be twofold. They have first to devise their own internal order and structure, and then to define their position vis-a-vis the outside world. The experience of the Soviet Union, once a nation with a backward peasant economy, cannot fail to attract attention and also more or less openly avowed admiration. Japan, from being a relatively insignificant nation, rose to prominence among the Great Powers through methodical and determined effort. Discrimination of any form was totally alien to the Thai mind. In spite of these assets, the Western representative system has not produced results measuring up to expectations; indeed, instead of bringing progress and stability, it once brought the Thai nation close to the brink of disintegration. In Laos, the Communist gains consisted firstly of securing de facto control over two of the Laotian northern provinces, even though these remain under the nominal authority of the central government, and a long corridor connecting North with South Vietnam, through which military personnel and supplies steadily flow to sustain and intensify Communist Viet Cong operations in South Vietnam.


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