U.S. Hegemony and Southeast Asia

Author: Mark Beeson


The United States has exerted a major influence on Southeast Asia, especially since World War II. As both a promoter of neoliberal reform and as the key strategic actor in the wider East Asian region, the impact of U.S. power has been immense. But both the Asian economic crisis and its aftermath, and the more recent “war on terror,” have highlighted the contradictory impact of evolving U.S. foreign policy and intervention in the region. At both an elite and a mass level there is evidence of resentment about, and hostility toward, U.S. policy and its perceived negative effects. This article outlines how U.S. foreign policy has impacted the region in the economic, political, and security spheres, and argues that not only has it frequently not achieved its goals, but it may in fact be undermining both America's long-term hegemonic position in the region and any prospects for political liberalization.

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September 2004
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