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Politics in Southeast Asia

Politics in Southeast Asia

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Politics in Southeast Asia

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  1. Politics in Southeast Asia Eero Palmujoki University of Tampere AsiaNet 2005

  2. The Contents of the Lecture • Southeast Asia as a political concept • National developments in Southeast Asia • The development of interstate system in Southeast Asia • Southeast Asia in a global system

  3. The Concept of Southeast Asia • The concept is more political than geographic • During the short history of the concept it has had different kinds of contents • From the broad point of view it refers to the area between Chinese and Indian cultural spheres • During the colonialism this area was divided into three: Furthern India, Indochina and Dutch East India

  4. The Concept of SEA (cont.) • However, Southeast Asia as a political concept was established during the II World War • The Pacific War: the British and the US divided their command concerning the areas occupied by the Japanese • British: Southeast Asian Command (Furthern India, Dutch East India, and Indochina except North Vietnam), The Philippines were part of the US Southwest Pacific Command • This military command arrangements moulded political developments in the region

  5. The Concept of SEA (cont.) • During the Cold War (1954 – 1990) Southeast Asia was divided • Between 1975 – 1990: Socialist Indochina and capitalist ASEAN (Southeast Asian) countries. • ASEAN Bali treaties of 1976: all the Southeast Asian countries (10) under the same organisation • Post-Cold War period Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam • East-Timor, Papua New Guinea?

  6. National Developments in Southeast Asia: a Coarse Division • Southeast Asia as a meeting point of Indian, Chinese and Polynesian cultures • Arabic cultural (Islam) influences • Colonialism • Portuguese (East-Timor) • Spanish (the Philippines) • British (Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore) • French (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) • Dutch (Indonesia)

  7. National Developments in SEA (cont.) • Before colonialism, only Vietnam can be considered as a national state • Thailand was never colonialised

  8. Postcolonial National Development • In general, the transition of power from colonial administration to national forces was much more peaceful under the British rule than French and Dutch • French persistence to keep its old colonial power in Indochina created first Indochina War (1948 – 54) which ended to the French defeat and to the division of Vietnam – socialist North and to West oriented and the US supported South.

  9. Postcolonial National Development (cont.) • After Geneva agreement 1954 French power was replaced by the US support to the South Vietnam government • the National Liberation Front’s (NLF) activities, supported by North Vietnam, led to the Second Indochina War 1964 – 1975 and to the direct US involvement to the War • Despite the North’s victory in 1975, the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam was ecomically ruined and one of the World’s poorest countries

  10. Postcolonial National Development (cont.) • Indonesia’s national liberation struggle 1945 – 49 • The impact of Japanese occupation • The Sukarno era 1949 – 68 • The Suharto era 1968 – 97 • ”the New Order” • development oriented military rule – compare also to Thailand • ended to Asian economic crises 1997 – 1998

  11. Postcolonial National Development (cont.) • Myanmar (Burma) ethnically very diverse • This heterogenity was even more increased by the British colonial authorities • Independence 1948: Aung San, secularised socialism/ U Nu, Buddhist socialism • Military dictatorship (Ne Win) 1962 -

  12. Postcolonial National Development (cont.) • Malaysia independent from the British rule in 1957 • The Federation of Malaysia: Sabah and Saravak 1963 • Mahathir bin Mohamad: ”Look to the East”. • Singapore detached from Malaysia and independent in 1965 • adopted authorian model under the People’s Action Party (PAP) • Lee Kuan Yew

  13. Postcolonial National Development (cont.) • The Philippines: the US protectorate between 1898 – 1946 • Economic and political relationship with the US important • Political elite consists of rich families • Owing to formal American political institutions the elite is polarised to two political parties • Ferdinand Marcos 1966 – 1986 • Emergency law 1972 – • 1986 Corazon Aquino (Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo)

  14. Postcolonial National Development (cont.) • Thailand never colonialised • The military and bureacracy limited the power of the buddhist king in the 1930s • Military: conservative party • Bureacracy: liberal party • This division has been dominating up to mid-1990s • Economy: development orientation, export oriented industry

  15. Interstate Development in Southeast Asia • 1975 – 1990 Cold War • ASEAN and Indochina • the Kampuchean question • 1990 – Restructuring Regional Relations • ASEAN’s expansion • Asian economic crisis 1997 – 98

  16. ASEAN • Cold War context • ASEAN established in 1967 (The Vietnam War) • ZOPFAN Declaration 1971 • Regional context • Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines; Brunei 1984 • Regional peace • Independence from former colonial masters • Regional resilience, national resilience; export oriented economy

  17. Nature of ASEAN Regionalism • Strong emphasis on national sovereignty • Organisation has no autonomous authority: weak internally • Succeeded at collecting the member countries in the same economic and political front in certain important regional and global issues • Kampuchean question • GATT/WTO • APEC/ASEM

  18. Nature of ASEAN Regionalism (cont.) • The question of economic cooperation • ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) 1992 • Integration or enlargement: New members in the 1990s

  19. Vietnam and Indochina • After the fall of Saigon (1975) Vietnamese thinking of international relations was dominated by orthodox Marxist-Leninist thinking • The socialist world system / imperialist countries • ASEAN organisation was part of the imperialist camp • Vietnam did not recognize ASEAN, rather it tried to neglect it in its dealings with regional countries • ASEAN and Vietnam in Non-Alligned Movement

  20. Vietnam, Cambodia and ASEAN • Vietnam presented Indochina as an united block, although it had a severe conflict with Pol Pot’s Kampuchea • Occupation of Kampuchea in December 1978 • Kampuchean Question at the UN 1979 – 1990 • Changes in the Soviet Union 1985 • Vietnamese doi moi • New regional approach • Paris Peace Agreement 1991

  21. ASEAN Expansion • ASEAN Singapore Summit 1992: Integration or expansion • AFTA • Authority of ASEAN Secretary • Enlargement: the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (1976) 1992, • Vietnam’s membership 1995 • Laos and Myanmar 1997 • Cambodia 1999

  22. Asian Economic Crisis 1997 • 20 years economic boom in Southeast Asia • Economic growth between 5 – 9 percent • Overvaluation of currency, shares, estates and other property • Crisis started simultaneosly from Thailand and South Korea • Hit all Southeast Asian countries particularly Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia • Political changes in Thailand and Indonesia • Internal and ethnic conflicts in Indonesia

  23. Asian Economic Crisis (cont.) • Involvement of international financial institutions in Southeast Asia (IMF, World Bank) • Political conditions • Japan’s political influence decreased, the US power increased in the region

  24. Southeast Asia in a Global System • ASEAN countries adopted export-oriented economies already in the 1970s • Dependence on global trade and trade liberalisation • GATT- Uruguay Round • Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) • EAEC – East Asian Economic Caucus • ASEAN + 3 • ASEM, Asia – Europe Meeting 1996 – • ASEAN in the WTO

  25. Politics in Southeast Asia – Summary • The concept of Southeast Asia is political • Common nominators: • cultural? – Malay, Chinese, Indian and Polynese • historical? – colonial past • political? – authoritarian politics • economic? – Asian model • interstate relations? – ASEAN • Region is more united in external than in internal issues