tv Containment Policy in Southeast Asia CSPAN March 30, 2019 10:29am-12:01pm EDT
, the navajo code talkers, compelled to use their devised it,d they they schemed in such a way that it played a role of a very unique role of confusing the enemy. announcer: live sunday morning at 8:30 eastern on american history to be, and c-span's washington journal, the 40th anniversary of the three mile island nuclear power plant i leaned near harrisburg, pennsylvania, considered the most serious nuclear power plant accident in the united states. joining us is samuel walker and acting director of the union of concerned scientists edwin lyman. america,.m. on reel watch the 1979 cbs report fallout from three-mile island. .> belltower here
at this time, there is no evacuation. please, stay indoors with the windows closed. of middletown, pennsylvania lived in fear of an enemy they could not see, hear or feel. >> watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> wen-qing ngoei talks about anti-communism in southeast asia. he talks about the war to foster anti-communist governments in the region and contain the spread of communism to vietnam. he argues that despite the outcome of the vietnam war, the u.s. was largely successful in its strategy. the wilson center hosted this 90 minute event. right, everyone. i would like to call us all to
order. good afternoon and welcome to this afternoon session of the washington history seminar, historical perspective on international and national affairs. my name is eric and i am the cochair of this seminar. may see, we have c-span taping today. we would like to welcome those of you who are watching on your computers or on your television screens and suggest that you visit our website to learn about the upcoming speakers at the wilson center. seminar is a collaborative effort of two organizations. the woodrow wilson international center for scholars and the american historical association national history center. we are in our ninth year of programming, approaching our big decade-long celebration that
will come next year. we meet weekly, mostly on monday afternoons, during the academic year. the seminar at once to think a number of institutions that helps to make this seminar possible. in particular, the lepage center for the history of public interest and the george washington university department of history. we would also like to thank a number of anonymous donors whose make possible sessions such as this one. joind you be compelled to the ranks of anonymous or not so anonymous donors, we would welcome that. details can be found on the back of the flyer you may have picked up or that is outside the door of this seminar. behind the scenes, a number of folks work hard to make this seminar possible. i would like to extend thanks to jeff, the assistant director of the national history center.
and our two interns the wilson center, call knickers -- kyle nichols and kim. thank you for your efforts in helping us to pull this off. i would also like to welcome dane kennedy, the director of the national history center. and roger lewis, the founding director of the washington history center. i would like to ask everyone to take out the device you know you have in your bag and turn it to silent or vibrate so it does not go off in an inauspicious moment as these devices tend to do on a regular basis. it is my pleasure to introduce today's speaker, wen-qing ngoei. he completed his phd at northwestern university in evanston, illinois and posted
doctoral work at northwestern and yale university. art of containment, britain, the united states and anti-communism in southeast asia is due to be released by cornell university pressed -- press sometime next month. this book will argue that british decolonization intertwined with southeast asian anti-communism to shape u.s. policy in the wider region. he has also published essays in dip a medic in 2017 and a prize-winning theory that appears in the pages in the journal of america and east asian relations back into thousand four. with that, we will hear about the art of containment. >> thank you very much. warm greetings to everybody. thank you to the wilson center. it is a great honor to be here.
thanks to kristin, eric, people behind the scenes. chuck, jeff, peter. thank you for helping to make this happen. today, i will be presenting my book, art of containment. or aprile out in may or may. i should say this. it is available for the percent of the retail price up through the first of april. the u.s. empire in south east asia from world war ii through the end of the intervention in vietnam. with anti-communist nationalism. it came to the chinese diaspora. it shows how this process ushered the region from european dominated --
what is it about? you see the cover of a british troops to taking territories that border with indonesia. this happens during the malaysian-indonesian conflict of 1963 through 1966. saying that off by my book is a response to what has been the dominant story of u.s. foreign stories. this picture will be familiar to many of us because it captures the spirit of the dominant story. you see the artificial state of south vietnam. is climate of america abandoned. you have the south vietnamese that are fleeing desperately. -- u.s. personnel are doing
making way for more evacuate -- evacuees. this south vietnamese domino came crashing down in april of 19 semi five. it was preceded by cambodia and followed by allows. accordingly, they generalize vietnam isailure in emblem attic of u.s. failure in the wider region. you have a general collapse of western imperialism in the face of indigenous nationalism what about the broader -- nationalism. what about the broader region? what about britain who maintained their military
institutions in malaysia and singapore fo. the u.s. foreign relations history, countries like malaysia and singapore? don't we lose the fundamental theory? the domino these are the questions that i answer in my research. to 1950 four.ack when president eisenhower would propose the principal to describe interconnectedness. for many of us, 1954 will be an important year. we find it familiar. that is when the french met defeat to the communist led vietminh. the french were surrounded.
there was anticipation the vietminh would strike. according to the records, eisenhower said with great force , he could not imagine committing u.s. troops anywhere in south east asia except malaya. at the time, britain and its local allies were waging a war against the guerrilla fighters of a mostly chinese party. morehower saw it in much broader, regional terms. like the vietminh, these guys had been the backbone of an anti-japanese resistance during world war ii. because the chinese population of malaya amounted to almost 30%, there was some level of
popularity that these fighters enjoy. american officials looking at malaya worried it would become a chinese state. they worried about singapore which was 78% ethnic chinese. the singapore affiliate had infiltrated chinese language middle schools in the island and dominated the trade unions. by the mid-1950's, in washington's eyes, the situation in malaya had improved suddenly. britain also shrewdly aligned itself with the anti-communist nationalists in malaya. had independence from britain. in the records, he is referred
to as the prince. it was popularly -- he was popularly regarded. he remained very friendly with britain. ite of you may know what looks like. america'st resembles old glory. this was by design. he called it the stripes of glory. within hours, he stated that malaya must tie up its fate with democratic. 1958, he plotted to topple the left-leaning regime. which is why when these two men conceded, eisenhower was happy. he was elated when the malayan visitor visited -- malayan leader visited the u.s..
partner they valued in the cold war. theaid malaya should pursue anti-communist grouping that would be indigenous. malaya could exert terrific force to combat influence in asia. with his encouragement, he managed to do this by 1961. called the association of south east asia. forould lay the foundation the southeast asian nations. it would include malaysia, thailand and the philippines. all of these countries were ruled by conservative economist elites.
would fully support intervention in vietnam. in the 60's and 70's, they would intimate ties with the ascendant superpowers. a wider pro-u.s. trajectory across south east asia. what my book suggests is that this story of the wider region focuses tightly on the fate of china. scholars suggest retreating from vietnam is the short lived american empire. it transformed into u.s. predominance into the region. this became an informal empire for america. strategic arc to
circle china. that is why my book is titled the arc of containment. it reflects what u.s. officials had been intending. europehitect of nato in whatoutheast asia a connected japan to india. malaysia, thef singaporeof malaysia, , they believed the creation of malaysia would complete a wide anti-communist arc. the johnson administration called it a great arc of asian and pacific nations. nixon fantasized of a long belt of u.s. allies that stretched from japan to india. what is the base of this?
what was the base of this empire of former dominoes? what was the connecting issue neocolonialism to mesh with anti-communist nationalism? in looking at the dominoes that surrounded china, i argue that the connecting tissue was pre-existing to the chinese diaspora. they utilized anti-chinese prejudice to deflect away from themselves. they branded the chinese as menacing foreigners even though many had settled into the region. for europeans and americans, there has been a long history of anti-chinese presidents -- prejudice which i will not go into here.
you can see propaganda posters. interlude in a much longer history about treating the chinese as the yellow peril. whiter it was threatening civilization. or threatening south east asia via communist extension. crucially, what the americans, british and many conservatives believed was that china, even dominated by the chinese come this party, they believed china would use its networks to expand its influence. the chinese diaspora numbered some 10 million by the 1950's. it was a scary prospect. they expressed the concern that the chinese were -- had underlying loyalties to the mother country.
the british called them a imperial.oblem, and the u.s. often used chinese penetration to refer to the problem. the logic of interconnectedness comes from -- through its diaspora. this anti-chinese prejudice fueled the consolidation of power. local conservatives tended to weaponize a widespread distrust of that chinese population. the resentment of ethnic chinese economic success, even though not all of them were prosperous. also the belief that ethnic chinese might serve some cause. knowing the anti-chinese sentiment with anti-communism during the cold war became the
elite's path to power. of malcolmctures is the u.k. commissioner general for southeast asia. oft to him is the founder the malayan-chinese association. the primetroduced to minister of malaya as well as the head of the united malays national organization. and finally you have a wounded fighter. some details about malaya. the ethnic chinese and malaya made up 40% of the population and the mcp was 95% ethnic chinese. they could not be denied even though many of the ethnic there was a sense in this group -- this group could
represent them. the malayan popularization -- the malayan population was antagonistic to the chinese. the mcp went on a campaign against many malays, accusing them of collaborating with the japanese. also, malaya was the single largest producer of rubber. largestamerica its customer. for the british, the question decolonizationhe of malaya so that it could extend their presence. the answer was nationbuilding colonialism. sponsor local, west friendly leaders. aarantee their alignment with former colonial ruler.
the u.s. policy in the philippines was similar. -- linking the economies to each other. one journalist called this dependent independence. theeen the late 1940's to 1950's, what malcolm mcdonald did with the rest of the british colonial authorities was remind the local nationalists who were anti-communist, if you do not get a durable, multi racial -- multiracial accord going that turns on the malayan communists, we will never give you independence. they had to get together. encouraged itld at that time. you can guess what he was knighted for.
what is ironic about the chinese is the malayan -- were pureyour ethnic chinese. no others would join. alliance was created by these two parties fought for interracial unity. interracial unity while keeping their parties racially pure. this produced a multiracial coalition that appeared to be durable in the 1950's. that made the british confident enough to release malaya and give it its independence. in the midst of doing this, they whipped up anti-chinese sentiment in an anti-communist package. malcolm mcdonald took to the airways because radio malaya was popular in the peninsula as well as singapore.
malcolm mcdonald would be visiting people by the radio to say there was a malayan communist party of chinese who are tyrants who would link up with the international communist movement. but, if you have patriotic love for malaya, you would turn against those fellows in the malayan communist party. did it work? at the time malcolm mcdonald was coming to the end of his campaign, malayan's complaint about the increasing number of chinese. they said don't trust these guys. the malayan communist party began to complain, saying that all of these chinese who joined our traders against the cause.
there was some effectiveness. even more crucial was lost time. by creating the chinese malaya association, having been in the industry, he was able to get all of the political grassroots onders to line up and take an anti-communist stance. one of the biggest things he said was that to be a good chinese is to be a good malayan. join in this anti-communist campaign. together alliance came , it was possible for the multiracial coalition to destroy the malayan communist party. the result, the final picture. killed thens were even fought in the revolt in the first place. this was prosecuted by malayan's
of all races. wrote that the mcp was crushed. u.s. wasis that the very inspired by this. american diplomats were coming to the region and were inspired by the british tenacity and decolonization strategy. especially as their powers were fading fast in the region. success and the campaign against the mcp. mcdonaldwith malcolm and called him the most constructive man he had ever met. how the bestut person to catch the chinese bandit is the chinese policeman. thinking back, to help british methods seem to be working in
the 1950's, john pens his report to the state department. it is time that we learned the trick of at least having asians fight asian battles. that yellow men will be killed by yellow men, rather than white men alone. the observation captures the heart of british neocolonialism in malaya. outside of malaya, this violent against fighters, beheading them, one is a woman, one is a man. was paralleled by anti-chinese policies. the commander, -- from the 1930's, he started to craft an identity.
it described chinese as the jews of the east. what he went out of his way to do was to arrest and report chinese who were alleged to be chinese nationalist operators. he conducted a campaign to eject ethnic chinese from critical sectors of the economy. knowing that this would earn the ire of china. he came to the united states in 1950 and adopted anti-communism. he became a u.s. client and aid which entrenched the high military elites for the time to come. much like the education program. mixing economic nationalism with anti-chinese prejudice and being
part of a broad campaign of the united states. history is littered with many accounts of anti-chinese programs. put simply, it was us versus them mentality. calledous nationalists ,he chinese greedy capitalists aliens and collaborators with the just -- dutch. indigenous chinese attacked chinese businessmen. chinese economic activities were restricted. some 100,000 ethnic chinese fled the country for fear of prosecution. this is a kissing cousin to what was happening in malaya because through the emergency, some 40,000 ethnic chinese or deported from the country while the war was going on.
-- this it is going to be crucial. please hold on, i am going to go on a brief detour of the long shadow that britain cast over the u.s.. mentioned earlier there was a ,remendous american fascination they obsessed about learning from it. the article came out in reader's digest in 1962. praises the british for corralling some half a million chinese malayan's into camps. they hide them off from mcp guerrillas. was easierthat, it and easier for britain to track mcp fighters who are trying to
acquire supplies from the new villages. wonder of the the wall. this went beyond the reader's digest. very.s. army was fascinated with how the british had conducted this. they produced the handbook for the suppression of communist guerrilla and terrorist operations. they make no secret of what its goal is based on what the seat -- picture is there. malaya are the only successful -- other successful campaign other than the rebellion in the philippines. onlyse the british are the feeding colonial power that could do this, there was something to it. supposed to be an urban
legend but many reported he said this. he asked what are we going to do about guerrilla warfare. waskennedy administration inundated with studies about the malayan emergency. kept turningudies up inside the white house. get its army would then hands on the manual. atom. called 1961, the u.s. army at almost 70 nations as clients. heavily on the british model. this would grow throughout the cold war. the u.s. called it the
transmission belt. more and more countries would become clients. every year into the late 1960's, policymakers demanded more and more records of the practices and kept going back to the british example. it would not stop. 1962, a corporation did a no the study. there were multiple reports how toopulation control, use the air force. how to use the scouts. about 600 pages of this. longer than my dissertation which was completed in 19 -- september of 1964. johnson -- linden it is hard to downplay how
important it is. is based on an australian novel. it sounds like a not particularly inducing movie title. they renamed it the seven don -- seventh don. it is about malaysia and the fight against the mcp. in the book, it is about an australian counterinsurgency with theo hangs around mcp and helps the british destroy the mcp after world war ii. worked with the mcp and helped the british. this is a movie from 1964. i watched it so that you did not have to. [laughter] why, by the time we
get to 1963, even though prideful of the fact that the same -- singapore prime minister was struggling against those that were deemed extreme leftist, chinese chauvinists, the creation of malaysia and the absorption of singapore, that would snuff out u.s officiale called the singapore -- kennedy said this. forbest hope for security that part of the world, kennedy advisors -- this is where we come back to.
did enact many anti-chinese --icies he was pro-beijing anti-chinese policies. he was pro-beijing. this was the third-largest commonest party in the world. british is connected to colonialism? 1960 -- 19 63, he launched the confrontation which was due to be formed in september for a he opposed the creation of malaysia. he called it a british neocolonial plot. stooge he was a colonial elite with the british. singapore's military bases were going to be used against indonesia. even the new york times called malaysia a giant and mentioned it might be a waste.
by the time the campaign of cannesia had started, you see him at his exuberant rest, was already on the move to make a case. he visited yugoslavia, burma, india and egypt to plead the case for malaysia. india was especially friendly. yugoslavia apologized for criticizing malaysia. burma agreed that it would allow singapore -- time, british and indonesianers kept forces on the back foot. the irony is that the indonesian
economy went into a freefall. diplomats, then point is for me to expand what is happening in the african continent, indonesians could not match what a team did in 1964. a team of malaysians went on a tour of africa to say that aggression was unwarranted and malaysia was a fulfillment of the self-determination aspiration. lee found himself on a roll. many agreed with him. the leaders of ghana and ethiopia agreed and called him a hitler's. what is critical is that the kenyacoast and enya -- supported. bys helped lock in malaysia
19 65. months before, in egypt, afro asian nations had come didn't condemned the empty malaysian campaign. this is what it said in its memoirs of 19 65. there was something else he did not see coming. pro-u.s. indonesian army was trained and equipped by washington since the late 1950's. it was deeply anti-communist and very distrustful. they only needed a pretext to seize power. it was a government in waiting period the pki worried about the army and was tripped up by trying to seize the initiative.
it became too easy for the army to make the bid for power. what did he do? he utilized anti-chinese sentiment. mixed it into a deadly cocktail with anti-communism and blamed china for the pki's move. that the foundation was laid for this. condoned it in 1963, 2 years before this. to evictred officials indonesian chinese from their homes if they were considered security threats to the country. while the massacre was going on and the indonesian army was destroying the pki, 200,000 ethnic chinese were forced into leaving the country for a land they did not know. many were massacred.
1967, diplomatic relations with beijing were broke. here in lies an important irony. it is 1967 when the masker occurs. is committings. combat troops to vietnam to prevent dominoes from falling to communism, much of southeast asia had shifted to the american orbit. as british influence waned, singapore followed malaya in gravitating toward the united states. allowed u.s. soldiers to come to singapore for r&r. critically, siding with the u.s. was beneficial. it amounted to 15% of singapore's national income.
u.s. investment in singapore followed thereafter. members ofg thailand, the philippines, singapore and indonesia in the late 1960's -- u.s. trajectory of the reason had become clear. -- region had become clear. did they notice? that is why i put this picture up. by august of 1967, president johnson announced that the u.s. had on its side, the great park of -- arc of asian and pacific nations. i.e., japan and south korea. od that asian nations were suspicious of china. lyndon johnson argued that a
reverse domino effect was in play and he was not the only one that noticed. from is 68 through -- 68 through predominance in the pacific was a fact. against theheck common enemy, china. this fell flat. the countries were not interested in jumping on the soviet bandwagon. man -- in 1969, a man expressed frustration with something american intelligence discovered. was isolated on most key policy issues. later admit that the forces for containing china in southeast asia were more numerous than in any other area
of the world. combined with the destabilizing and vibrate with the ussr. , heide of the white house was trying to improve his policy chops as he was going to run for president again. , heoreign affairs encouraged u.s. policymakers to look beyond vietnam for possibilities. minds put it did not fill the map. all around china were u.s. allies. asian nations that saw the u.s. as a protector and were concerned about chinese expansionism. he described the long bout of pro-u.s. patients stretching from japan through southeast asia.
indonesian arc of islands to india, anchored by australia and new zealand. it was a pivot asking for a pivot to widen asia that describes a more characteristic path following the pacific war. what did they see? they saw this map inside of my book. it was the ark of containment that went around the south china sea. it connected to u.s. allies in japan and south korea. take ourselves back. in the early cold war, southeast asian nations had been received as dominoes. by the end, they had drawn closer to the united states and become stable regimes. this condition had been produced by british neocolonialism.
-- that theis anti-communist nationalists had not cast them off. they established a new imperial system in collaboration with the to preserve their newfound independence. they did so during the cold war which i suggest is a bloody chapter in a much longer and continuous history of western imperialism in southeast asia. thank you very much. [applause] i think we have much to discuss. just a few ground rules. if you would wait until you get called upon and wait for the microphone to reach you.
c-span is recording. we want people to hear this. please identify yourself when you get the microphone as well. let me start off with a basic question, if i could. lessonso do with the that the american policymakers drew from malayan counterinsurgency examples. you spoke about a few moments ago, it occupies an important chapter of the book. what strikes me is americans obsessed about the success the suppressingin -- himalayan communists. they want to apply this to vietnam. they import sort robert thompson. a counterinsurgency specialist. in the end, you call this a
fantasy. it is not a silver bullet. they do not replicate the example. get it why the americans so wrong? they do not replicate the village program. there is a lot that does not work yet they think they are following the guidelines. why did they get it wrong? reasons is that the british found a way to charm the american policymakers and convince them they were indispensable to u.s. policy in south vietnam. that thesh understood south vietnamese leadership was not interested in the british model of malaya but continue to persuade and represent to american officials that in fact it was the british model that
was being applied. the enthusiasm with which british officials spoke about their model even though it was not being applied convinced a lot u.s. officials that this would be the way to go and that they were winning the war and that the british model was being applied. the britishit was charm on american policymakers and u.s. policymakers willing to go along with this because they thought something could be .rought out of malaya getting it wrong is the second thing i want to say. getting it wrong is a question of is it really applicable in the first place? it is not clear that the malayan model was in any way truly redolent -- relevant to vietnam. critics. numerous they have said things like how
the malayan commonest party did not have outside help the way these comest did desk communists did. -- communists did. they were a ragtag bunch to begin with. these are all true. question as to whether or not it is applicable -- it becomes a moot question as to whether or not it is applicable because it was never applied. awould attribute that to problematic angle of american relationship of wanting to learn from the british and thinking of them as the imperial example that they needed to get knowledge from. >> thank you. christian. >> thanks. great presentation. thank you so much for your inspired talk. i think this was probably the
think i have seen -- think i have seen. i will have to track down that story. i would like to ask you to just talk a little bit to us in the audience and the viewers out kind of newshat sources led you to a new take on this history. in particular, were you able to get into non-western, non-us sources? all i would have to say that the diplomatic records of malaysia, singapore, the philippines, thailand, are pretty much not available. for various reasons which i will not go into here. when you don't get those to medical records, you ask
yourself how can you get at some of these actors who create an who -- that do not necessarily turn up in official records. man'sable to get a private fable that was not featured. he has always been featured and written about in domestic stories of race relations and malayan independence. what i was able to find when i put it in the larger context of anti-chinese and anti-communist nationalism was that the things he did to drive a bargain with the u.s.-himalaya organization, these had much wider ramifications. i was able to get that out of his private paper. it is freely available for study
. another one of those private papers was the foreign minister of singapore. what was crucial here was that as the u.s. was pulling out of vietnam and policymakers are despairing, singapore as well as malaysia are trying to persuade the united states to remain embedded in the region. from a what you can get lot of private papers. roger goes to the asian society and the american authorization of businessmen. says can you really opt out of asia? if you opt out, aren't you opting out of world history? maybe the cold war is over because we pulled out of
vietnam. why don't you do a second intervention and you can win the cool war. the cool war is economic investment, trade, something completely separate from any kind of imperialist adventure. just trade with us. just invest in us. you will surely when the cool war. i get a lot of this exciting, stimulating words from southeast asia. it is because of the way they are trying to push their agenda. >> back here, against the wall. steve, a retired dimple matt. i would like to go back to the first question. -- diplomat. i would like to go back to the first question. the reason -- the real reason for the british success in
it was based on was a political strategy of reconciling the two communities. it appears that the united states overlooked that fundamental reality and the lessons it took from that experience were a series of techniques. and it failed to pay any the fundamental premise that had to be put in place if anything was going to succeed in vietnam. whats my interpretation of your thesis is correct? seeecond question is do you any contemporary application of this history? as we -- as the united states
contends with the growing chinese power? wen: yes. i think your interpretation is correct. what was ironic for me was finding that very often the studies of the british model paid close attention to the what a cult solutions. the fact that the british were able to ally themselves with the appropriate anti-communist nationalists. there was attention paid when the reports are being generated. do problem is what do we with these reports so that we can produce a general doctrine? what i argue and i think that is were a lot of debates will be, i argue that all of these many reports, it would turn into something that was modular.
something that could be infinitely replicable. instead of talking about the intoculars, it was diluted political accord. there must be some way to align ourselves with the anti-communist nationalists in that situation. the rest of it is techniques, techniques, techniques. there is a problem of diluting and they move from the multiple particularized reports into a general doctrine. i think that is part of the problem. with respect to your second question, i am a historian. i worry about policy today because i will probably be wrong. if we lookd say is that have the surveys been done recently, you find that a a lot of southeast asians
still deeply distressed china. southeast asians are trying to communicate to their government, saying they get into a trap. the economic networks are going to be problematic. they might even be malicious. the thing i talked about earlier, about how southeast ways, see many chinese extension is him as think thatalist, i persists into today. somethingust tells me about how china maybe does not have the political capital that people have overlooked. if you look at a problem of south china being militarized by
many artificial islands, that show of force is a symptom of understanding the inadequacy of chinese litter goal capital in the region. the -- political capital in region. they don't have that with southeast asian politics. even though i would say southeast asian politicians are trapped in their own cycle of insecurity, worrying about whether they need to choose the united states or china. they are freaking out. is it applicable? i think there are a lot of things that persist. whether or not that can be turned into a doctrine, i don't know. >> over here. and then we will come back to the side. just to follow-up up on that
question, robert thompson, did he give advice that was ignored? wen-qing: yes. person who was in charge was the brother. met him once or never met him at all. the plan was to adapt a french model that was being used in algeria. it comes from a french model because it was by a guy named roger. it comes from there and not from new villages. spent more ofn his time doing self promotion. more self promotion, more
[indiscernible] can't achieve their goals to become modern nations. thank you. will dress the second one first about buying time. you are right. always in order to support the be at newmont -- the american intervention into vietnam say they are buying time for countries to consolidate, for them to become stable and so that they will not be victims to any kind of commonest -- communism. what i say in my book, if they needed any time at all, it was not much, because the whole 19ument is happening from i have7, into 1969, and said the irony is that the
majority of the regions peoples and resources reside within the u.s. orbit. what does the argument, what role does it play? what i say in my book it plays the role for fending off criticisms for just a short while, it may be about one and a half years, during that time that intimacy of american and southeast asian economies happen quickly. i would not say they were in danger, i think the buying time argument was an attempt to fend off criticism because the wasity is very much of it -- to answer your first question. if i understood you, you are saying that in the final vietnamese war as well, chinese refugees were being expelled?
sorry to clarify. >> [indiscernible] building project, -- they went to build off -- for all -- sotion, so that all anti-chinese sentiment, i it is kind of late for the non-chinese population, around the southeast asian countries. [indiscernible] i completely agree with you. that is why i said it was pre-existing that was part of my project, right? that if we continue the privilege -- just completely
monopolize the attention, then we will get stuck in vietnam in terms of our intellectualism. vietnam,ll go beyond outside of what the u.s. is concerned with, but so many of those processes have consequences and they prospects. towards i totally agree with you, this pre-existing antipathy operates on its own. the u.s. was able to take advantage of it, and it has to do with the fact that they are central to a lot of this action, and for indonesia, i think of these documents to suggest that when so hada was starting to roll the machine, he was getting assistance from the united states who knew very wealthy anti-chinese presence was being weaponize. i wouldn't call it exploiting it, but to say that -- you are
right. here, and then we will cross over here. >> i am john martin, a fellow here. your energy is infectious. that was a terrific presentation. it is they a reliable biography , or have youmpson written it? don't think so. i think what we get are the traces of self-promotion, so we get more myth. it is a sham at the same time, so i think it is -- i didn't seek it out. and i think i,
know the mess that was left behind in india because my grandfather wrote up the legalese for their independence because these were that she was the chief justice in bombay -- in bombay, and he had to put condi in prison, but his last project was to write up the legalese with independence of that half of asia, if you would like. to hear yournating picture of the other half -- not just the armies in the coastline , but obviously we do end up , ah two huge populations fifth of the world in india and 1/5 in china, so wondering, i know you said you were a there somebut are
things we shouldn't be doing next, some things we could be doing next, because i have mainly spent my life researching what people want in southeast asia, and my impression is that there is more that the -- sometimes inherited, but just want to get on with good stuff of the community level. i sometimes feel we don't understand just what the people want. that, oruld comment on maybe i just completely misunderstand. >> i don't know what the people want. i would be a politician if i knew. if there was something to do more of for the united states,
it would be i think to stop confusing southeast asians as to where the u.s. stands, and i don't think it takes much effort to clarify where the u.s. stands. i think the problem is what is the trade were about with china? is the u.s. still interested in being committed to its southeast asian allies? it is going on with challenging the chinese navy, does that mean you really want to stay or does it mean this is sort of like an ego competition? i think that clarity -- the reason why a bring it up, soviets's -- or the southeast asians, they are saying we don't know whether the u.s. is truly committed, and i think this echoes the thing that southeastern's deaths --
southeast asians were saying -- they don'tide and have the guts, they don't have the determination. ethos is similar there. clearly it seems that the non-elites are also looking for that as well. the survey suggest that, and that it in many ways parallels with the elites were looking for. if there's anything that could help, it would be clarity as opposed to confusing. -- confusing -- confusion. >> mike anderson, state department, could you comment as on how your fellow malaysians and young people are
learning about history? are the schools doing much teaching of history, or is it all kind of science and math and technology and english? there are two points in this room -- i won't put any of them on the spot. his method in science a big focus, yes. but his history part of the curriculum for middle school and high school? very much so. i have then asked by the ministry of education to consult for the revision of their history textbooks because it is about the cold war and southeast asia, and that will take they areto the time 13, 14, 15, and 16, though that chunk of their lives, they can actually run away from that history, and so what i'm hoping
is that my book also coming out will also be one of the sources that the curriculum draws on. that is what i understand from singapore. i can't tell you with great confidence what is happening in know somes, but i do of our students have gone to teach in vietnam, and when it comes to history, it's pretty quick. it's high-gloss. they go through stuff quickly, and the importance really is math and science. but that is just impressionistic. i can't tell you for sure what exactly the industries are doing. sorry. >> that sounds like american universities today. i'm from marymount university. inc. you. that was a wonderful presentation. maybe you already said this, but are you saying there was a political solution for vietnam
like there was in malaysia that we didn't need to go into vietnam? >> oh. [applause] >> that is so problematic. was there political solution? i think there were so many steps along the way. i don't know if i can comment with confidence, not being a vietnam war historian, but from everything i understand, there were so many steps along the way where what seemed like the obvious thing to do was not done . right? like this is a majority buddhist nation. why choose die minority catholic politician to be the representative? that seem to be a misstep that was useless. of course there were many other forces, and i'm sure that historians will tell me it is far more complicated, but if you've got missteps of that
nature, i don't know if there was ever a good moment to rescue it. i think it is more a question of what steps along the way that were mistakes could have been steered away from. i don't know if you could save it, but >> it sounded like from what your argument was, this political solution you talked about in malaysia and that the british used, why wasn't that -- i kept thinking why did we go into vietnam if this was so successful with the other countries? >> i think the british lucked out by having really popular community leaders. so when it comes to that, they were fortunate. -- when -- he had already done a lot of activism for them a lion government, but
in 1947, he was very inspired by what was happening in india, and so he led a massive strike that shut down the colony in 1947. and he did this in cooperation with malayan communist rate a lot of officials was ready to black all him for good. forget about him. he is either too dumb to know he was working with communists or he is working with them and he doesn't think it is a problem. mcdonald tomalcolm say can you give this guy a chance because he is popular in ways we can't understand. if him a chance. he sort of forces a candidacy into the picture so that other british officials who were trying to dismiss him incorporate him into the story. even mcdonald says i don't think he is wise, but he is popular. maybe this is something that we can do. what i want to say about that
model is the success was not in any way communistic. it is not if all the right decisions were made. minute bungle from one to the next. it is a problem of sort of like is soing at, this successful, surely there is something there is some gem that you can take out and put somewhere else. what can we sort of distill from this, and put it in a bottle, and send it out elsewhere? to me it is a risky train of we didn't lose sight of the accidental nature of some of this. to give you another example, he displaced the original founder organization, -- by actually being very
pro-malayan. the original founder said can we please open up the membership of the united malays organization to non-malays, and they said you got to be kidding, off with his head. ,o this was the end of that guy so it became just confined to only malayan's. medict of pregnant reasons, he looked at the association and decided, you know what we are going to win these elections, and that pragmatic reason produce the alliance. contingencies, accidents, success,they produced anything we spend more time going, what was the recipe, when in fact it was what a bunch of mix ups that we survived. i think that is something to think about.
thank you per that was great. -- thank you. that was great. i have a question about the story,looking at do you think that the rise of singapore over the 20th century, -- its success, is as triple attributable to the cold war as it is to all of the other domestic factors, and how to sift through them. >> i think one of the things i don't want to do is get into a tramp of going we are just more important, and is there a factor that you can isolate. i think the answer is to go it was a combination of all factors. i don't want to disappoint you. i want to say that i don't think for the success
of singapore to be as gigantic as it was without the cold war. however, singapore had a running start. for example, the british alltary bases in singapore, the way to 1971, those bases in the number of people they were employing amounted to 20% of the country plus income. , but alsoning start local at the same time, these people are drawing a lot of stuff in, and it combines clearly with the vietnam war as part of this. mentioned, you can put this all together, 35% comes from the neocolonial and american empire.
there is a lot of the export production in the economy that singapore is part of, able to do some -- stuff because it has low cost labor, which in the textiles industry, the u.s. was getting irritated about. they were trying to get singapore to raise its prices because textiles were just coming in cheaply. there is no doubt that is happening, that kind of growth is happening, but it happens alongside this military complex. thank you very much. i am a retired diplomat. the posts you put up of the william holden film contains the cappucine. could you say something about him?
quite is a lady, and tragically she committed suicide several years after this, but the role that she plays is a into a -- i am not going literary analysis, so you are free to check it out, but she is actually the representative of multicultural malaya. she is kind of indefinable in terms of her ethnic background, and she is the lover of william holden. there is this awkward, here is a local who is of indeterminate in,, some kind of delay chinese and other, who is in a love relationship with holden, there is a struggle, a low-key love triangle between this british girl who is the daughter of the high commissioner and ca
ppucine for his affections. it is very minor. --what nationality >> she was french, but one of the striking scenes is her character, with many other ethnic chinese, get on bicycles policies of the high commissioner, and this whole army of bicycles come to the british high commissioner home and they -- you hear them ringing their bills. this is a big deal because that is how the japanese came down the peninsula, they were coming on bicycles. like -- they were artful moments in the film. i feel some affection for it because i had to watch it several times. it is not that good a film
overall, but there are moments like that where i was like, get these bicycles. there is no doubt this is about something, something, something. don't get the impression that we are all going to rush out and rent this tonight. could you talk more about the i said how it was demonized, was turning to hear echoes of some of the sentiments you said today. talk about the role of the countries and their relation to beijing and the role in terms of the integration. >> that is really important. what a lot of southeast asian
historians do is they notice very broadly for a lot of the families that have been there for multiple generations a nization. asia much intermarrying that it produces what we call people who have adopted so many malay customs but appeared to be chinese and malay at the same time. they are like anglicized chinese. one of things that i did not mention was that he didn't speak a word of mandarin at all. his family has been dead since the 7 -- they are since the 1700s. inthe whole group of chinese the diaspora, and maybe that's problematic, they had been and they asianized
thrived. so that is why a person would've not wanted a malaya was governed by the majority commonest party. -- there is no future for him, and to enough, once he began campaigning for the malayan chinese association, the mcb through grenades at him during one of his speeches, and that just steeled his will to continue. clearly,one group, that generally shall only have been there for very long time, and he would call them pranaca ns. immigrants, recent china took advantage of some of this. in indonesia, and this contributed to some worries, china wanted to prove that beijing, not taipei is where real china is.
they competed for the affections of chinese in the region. in indonesia, there were a lot of exchanges, attempts to do propaganda, flood the chinese language schools a lot of probating propaganda. this worked. i think it struck fear into the hearts of the indonesian regime. this works because many of the reason immigrants to indonesia decided to not take up citizenship, and many of them went to china to become civil diplomats,d obviously freaking them out. these are two different groups that are mentioned, one group that has been there a long time and had a deep interest in some persistence of the colonial very recentnother group more susceptible and willing to be part of the new order of being pro-china, serving their interest. so i think this is a
simplification. diaspora becomes problematic because -- it is a very different, and one thing i want to say it is not as if observers had no sense of the nuance. the report say precisely that. the are not going to be ones that jump on the bandwagon, don't expect to have a trojan horse for china. that is a crazy way of thinking about things, which is why u.s. over asas, let's went many of the ethnic chinese as we can by making them love taiwan. ofthe u.s. funneled a lot money into trying to build up cultural exchanges with taiwan to make it seem it could be sort of like a hub around which the
spokes of the chinese diaspora could be connected. it is night as if it was the center for the diaspora. there was a sense of nuance in that influenced the way they did policy. i have to draw, this to a close. i will invite you back next week for a rather different talk when devon fergus speaks on his new book, land of the sea, hidden costs and the decline of the american middle class. you may join us for a light reception immediately after the seminar, and thank you to mr. ngoei and for today's seminar. [applause] announcer: you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3.
marine co.the recruited navajo indians who then use their native language to come indicate operational plans. this weekend on oral histories code talker keith little talks about his service. here is a preview. >> the code talkers, nobody ever american native americans, in particular the , was not even considered a citizen at the time teaching, ae of our religion, our freedom, that to do anything we wanted to do, we decided that what had to be done to protect our land and our people and it had to be
accomplished. it had to be done one way or , theer, and so it took us navajo code talkers, compelled , and theyir language devised it and they schemed it in such a way that it played a role ofa very unique confusing the enemy by using their own native code that they developed themselves in combat to come over, to overcome what was an obstacle that always was prevalent, that is breaking each 's codes so they know what the enemy is doing. devisee was so uniquely -- was never did
deciphered. entireer: watch the interview with the former code talker keith little today at 2:00 p.m. eastern on oral histories. your watching american history tv. >> next on the presidency, james baker remembers his longtime friend, george h.w. bush. he talks about their friendship and a notable evidence of the first bush administration including the end of the cold war and the gulf war. he looks back to the campaign that ended with george bush as ronald reagan's vice president choice. mr. baker served as president bush's secretary of state and white house chief of staff. former president george w. bush introduces the program which was hosted by his presidential center in dallas. this is almost 40 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the chief of the george