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Power and Primacy

A History of Western Intervention in the Asia-Pacific

A.B. Abrams

Today the Asia-Pacific region stands on the verge of major change, with centuries of western dominated regional order being seriously challenged and quite possibly nearing its end. The emergence of a potential new order dominated by regional rather than extra-regional powers - an «Asia for the Asiatics» in the words of Japan’s pan-Asian scholars - means it is now more than ever essential to understand the history of the current western-dominated system, the full implications should it continue and the nature of the West’s intentions towards the region.

This book undertakes the task of elucidating the complex and little-known history of western intervention in the Asia-Pacific, providing information critical to understanding contemporary developments

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Chapter 4: Sukarnoism and the Rise and Fall of an Independent Indonesia: Wars both Overt and Covert to Return an Asian Power to Western Clienthood

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Chapter 4

Sukarnoism and the Rise and Fall of an Independent Indonesia: Wars both Overt and Covert to Return an Asian Power to Western Clienthood

It is necessary to expose the false propaganda of the imperialists and thoroughly dispel the illusion that the imperialists will give up their colonies and dependent countries with good will.

— Kim Il Sung

To me, both the [American] Declaration of Independence and the Communist Manifesto contain underlying truths, but the West doesn’t permit a middle road.1

— Sukarno

Fighting for Independence: A European Possession No Longer

The Pacific War and the victories of the Imperial Japanese military over European colonial empires brought about profound and irreversible changes throughout Southeast Asia. Japan’s expulsion of European colonial forces throughout the region ended centuries of Western dominance, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore having endured over 350 years of Dutch and British rule. The resource rich colonies of the region had proved to be valuable economic assets for both European empires, with Indonesia at one stage accounting for half of the Netherlands’ national income. The Indonesian people had suffered immensely under Dutch rule, with farmers forcibly enlisted en masse to grow cash crops at fixed prices to enrich the Empire while themselves barely subsisting. Harsh Dutch retribution against←107 | 108→ rebellion ensured that their rule lasted for centuries, with the Empire ethnically cleansing entire island civilizations – acts of genocide – to suppress dissent and ensure continued profits....

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