During her struggle for independence, Indonesia failed to get full diplomatic support at the United Nations and elsewhere from the United States due to misguided perceptions about American obligations to the Netherlands as an ally. Understanding Indonesia and her ASEAN partners has vastly improved since the creation of that organization at the Bangkok, 1967, meeting. American Secretaries of State have regularly attended ASEAN post-ministerial meetings. More recently, the President of the United States has joined other government chiefs at APEC meetings. But a certain amount of confusion still seems to exist and is understandable. The United States faces a real dilemma with regard to her security policy in the Asia Pacific region. As ASEAN's composition becomes internally more complex, the United States may find it more difficult to deal with the organization as a whole and revert to more traditional forms of bilateral international relations, which could become counterproductive.
Originally published in: One Southeast Asia in a New Regional and International Setting, 1997, pp. 183-190.
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