Southeast Asia Reexamines its Options.

by Guy J. Pauker

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The countries of Southeast Asia are reassessing their position with regard to the major powers and the world at large. They all face crises due to rapid population growth, global inflation, technologically boosted social mobilization and changing cultural values. Changes in policies of the major powers have made their relations with the outside world uncertain and complicated. Also, cooperative activities between neighbors are obstructed by suspicion. There is political and ideological hostility between Communist governments of the Indochinese peninsula and non-Communist governments of ASEAN. The international positions of all these countries are complex vectors of power politics, ideology, economic interests, national pride, defense concerns and idiosyncrasies of their leaders. Developing new options will not be easy. Their strategic location precludes isolation, and they remain vulnerable to great power competition. They will also be affected by growing tensions generated by their nationalism, economic backwardness and social inequity. 19 pp.

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