Outposts of Empire: Korea, Vietnam, and the Origins of the Cold War in Asia, 1949-1954

By Steven Hugh Lee

Drawing on quite a lot of lately declassified records, Lee outlines the neighborhood and foreign context of yank diplomatic background in the direction of Korea and Vietnam and analyses the connection among containment, the bipolar overseas procedure, and ecu and American techniques of empire firstly of the period of decolonization. He argues that even if coverage makers within the uk and Canada followed a extra protective containment coverage in the direction of Communist China than the us did, they typically supported American makes an attempt to advertise pro-Western élites in Korea and Vietnam. this is often a huge booklet for an individual attracted to American overseas coverage, Anglo-American relatives, Asia and the overseas method, and British and Canadian international policies.

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In 1951 the Thais exchanged diplomatic rep resentatives with Vietnam and Cambodia. Thailand in truth had a lot to realize by means of aligning itself with the West: its rice used to be exported to British colonies and Japan, and the U.S. was once supplying it with army and fiscal relief. there's facts to signify that Thai officers disliked the French colonial presence and retained a few sympathy for the communists' objectives. a few have been serious of the domino conception and disclaimed the prospect that communism may well undermine the Thai government's authority. On 10 March 1953, the United Kingdom's ambassador to Thailand, G. A. Wallinger, spoke with the pinnacle of Thailand's police, common Phao. Phao believed that Britain's fears of communism have been exaggerated, and he pushed aside the ambassador's analogy that because the communists in Vietnam had confident the peasants to just accept their ideology, an analogous factor may take place to Thailand. "It used to be French mismanagement and exploitation which had triggered the rot in Indo-China," stated Phao. The British were smarter in Malaya, yet in Thailand "there will be no difficulty. "37 many of the significant Western chilly conflict axioms for this reason seemed very varied to neighborhood actors. The theoretical changes among formal and casual empire can have seemed arguable to Asian leaders corresponding to Nehru and different "neutralists," however it used to be accurately this distinction among East and West that fearful the yankee and British officers. nice BRITAIN AND THE DOMINO idea just like the american citizens, British officers adhered to the crucial tenets of the domino thought. even if, the British have been keen on the re- 129 Containment in Vietnam, 1950-1953 gional elements of the idea because it pertained to British colonial pursuits in Southeast Asia, and so they concentrated their awareness at the fiscal effects which the pull of Thailand into the communist orbit might have on Malaya and Hong Kong. Of specific hindrance was once the British colonies' dependence on rice provides from Thailand. In 1950, for instance, ninety four in line with cent of Malaya's rice and 88 consistent with cent of Hong Kong's got here from Thailand. A overseas workplace memo recorded: "The institution of Communist keep watch over at the frontier of Siam ... may most likely gravely weaken the pro-Western alignment of the current Siamese executive and can ultimately bring about its substitute through a central authority of components beneficial to the Vietminh. " this may critically disrupt provides of rice for Malaya and Hong Kong, and maybe Burma. Psychologically, a trust within the luck of communism may result in renewed chinese language communist successes in Malaya and a deterioration within the defense state of affairs within the British colony. 38 A lack of French keep watch over in Indochina therefore threatened British colonial energy in Southeast Asia. The British dependence on Thai meals offers intended that the Thai govt may perhaps use rice as a diplomatic weapon. A memo to Ernest Bevin dated 15 September 1950 famous that rice used to be a staple nutrients of the zone and critical scarcity might have in all probability disastrous results at the "present quite gentle stability ...

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