A review of the strategic value of Laos since the 19th century European struggle in Southeast Asia for balance of power. After the decline of French power in 1945, the Communist bloc and the JWestern alliance became the two contending powers in the area. The present focus of world interest in Laos is largely the result of the Lao failure, particularly after 1954-1955, to redevelop the Lao internal structure. The danger of a continuity of Communist efforts to occupy the shell of Laos, bia a military fait accompli, is becoming increasingly apparent. The Western system of alliances is in jeopardy, and the total system of balances and checks is being affected.
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