Chapter

Beliefs about American Hegemony in Southeast Asia

Natasha Hamilton-Hart

in Hard Interests, Soft Illusions

Published by Cornell University Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780801450549
Published online August 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780801464034
Beliefs about American Hegemony in Southeast Asia

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This book examines the beliefs held by foreign policymakers and practitioners in six Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines) about the international role and power of the United States. Such beliefs are foundational in the sense of making possible specific foreign policy decisions as well as underlying broad foreign policy orientations of alignment, opposition, or nonalignment. With some qualifications and exceptions, foreign policy elites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam see the United States in a relatively positive light, and specifically as a relatively benign hegemonic power. This belief underlies Southeast Asian support for a regional order in which the United States has exercised predominant power and is thus instrumental in sustaining American hegemony in the region. This book analyzes the politics behind perceptions of the United States and the question of whose perceptions matter in policy terms and argues that such perceptions are illusions, even if they are not necessarily inaccurate.

Keywords: foreign policy; Southeast Asia; United States; Indonesia; Malaysia; Philippines; Thailand; Singapore; Vietnam; hegemony

Chapter.  6661 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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