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The Arc of Containment: Britain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia

March 11 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

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Major studies of American foreign relations treat US failures in Vietnam as the end of both a short-lived American empire and western imperialism in Southeast Asia. Ngoei argues that Vietnam was an exception to the region’s overall pro-US trajectory after 1945, that British neo-colonialism and Southeast Asian anticommunism melded with pre-existing local antipathy toward China and the Chinese diaspora to usher the region from formal colonialism to US hegemony. By the 1970s, Southeast Asia’s anti-communist nationalists had established, with US support, a geostrategic arc of states that contained Vietnam and China.

Wen-Qing Ngoei is assistant professor of history at Nanyang Technological University. He completed his PhD at Northwestern University and did postdoctoral stints at Northwestern and Yale University. Ngoei’s book, Arc of Containment: Britain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia (Cornell UP, May 2019), argues that British decolonization intertwined with Southeast Asian anticommunism to shape US policy in the wider region. He has published in Diplomatic History (2017) and his prize-winning essay on the domino theory appears in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations (2014).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

This event is also co-sponsored with the Wilson Center’s Asia Program.

March 11    
Ngoei Wen-Qing on The Arc of Containment: Britain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia

Washington History Seminar

All seminars take place at 4:00 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Boardroom
Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop

Details

Date:
March 11
Time:
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category: