New Centers of Power in the Pacific Basin 1985-1995

by Guy J. Pauker


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Indonesia and Vietnam are future candidates for regional power status in the Western Pacific. Although both receive economic aid, neither is willing to grant strategic advantages to their supporters. No global power seems interested in establishing dominance, seeking only denial of control to any single power. In the Pacific Basin international anarchy is more likely to be the prevailing situation in the next decade. The United States should carefully examine its options with regard to the two potential regional powers. Indonesia is a textbook example of national development compatible with foreign policy goals pursued by the United States. If it becomes capable of self-sustained growth it will prove that extreme poverty can be surmounted by following a non-Communist road. Thus it would be a serious mistake to base future relations primarily on human rights considerations. U.S. policies that treat Vietnam, whose repression of dissidents is ruthless and intransigent, more favorably than Indonesia,cannot be in the interest of the United States.

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