Among several others (exxept for the Americans in principle) Churchill, the valiant fighter for the free nations of Europe, did not believe that that freedom should extend to the colored races. Privately he had specifically excluded them from the Atlantic Charter of 1941, that great Anglo-American clarion cry for freedom which had so raised expectations across the colonial world. Following the end of WWII in Europe, Churchill mused about the possibility of dividing the Indian empire into ' Pakistan , Hindustan and Princestan', the last an amalgam of India 's princely states. The first and the third of these entities would remain within the British Empire no matter what happened to the 'Hindoo priesthood machine' and its commercial backers. (Rajmohan Gandhi, Patel: a life, Ahmedabad, 1990 p, 433). By the end of WWII the troops of the British Empire reconstituted the great crescent of land that Britain had occupied before 1941, and then fanned out beyond it. In 1945 South East Asia Command was apparently determined to deploy Indian troops not only in Burma, Malaya and Singapore, but also in Thailand and what had been French Indo-China and Dutch Indonesia. By 1946 however as we have seen, Colonial Asia became a connected arc of protest. Everywhere local nationalists borrowed the words and emulated the deeds of neighbors, and the language of the Atlantic Charter and the San Francisco Declaration became a common tongue for all.
Hot and Cold War in Asia: The Japanese had "lost"; the British, Chinese, French, Dutch, and Americans had "won." Yet there were still four million Japanese, many of them armed, on the mainland of Asia, and the Europeans remained shut out of most of their former colonies for the time being. All along the vast arc of countries stretching from Manchuria to Burma that constituted the ruins of the Japanese Empire, new ideas and ambitions were stirring, while old feuds were renewed with greater vigor. P.1 The China Theatre.
Hot and Cold War in Asia: The Cold War brought new violence to the end of empire; as the local struggles in Southeast Asia were now seen as a part of a global chain of conflicts between the two power blocs. Reduced in political might and fearing the spread of communism, the waning colonial powers - Britain, France and the Netherlands - redeployed the weapons of the Second World War in the guise of counter-insurgency campaigns in those Asian territories. P.2 The Malay Theatre.
Hot and Cold War in Asia: The French of Saigon celebrated their victory by going on a rampage in which they expressed all leir pent-up feelings of fear, anger, and resentment at the Vietnamese and humiliation at their incarceration by the Japanese. As one of Mountbatten's staff officers reported, "There were wild shootings and Annamites were openly dragged through the streets to be locked in prisons. Generally speaking there was complete chaos." (Memo for Adm. Mountbatten, subject: FIC Political and Internal Situation, 3 October 1945, W0203/5562, Public Record Office, London.) P.3 The Vietnam Theatre.
Hot and Cold War in Asia: In contrast to their frequent squabbling over Indochina, American and British leaders gave little attention to Korea during the war.The State Department disavowed any responsibility for leaving the Japanese in control, explaining to the press that it was a local decision of the theater commander. In fact, State Department planning documents for Korea had discussed the desirability of continuing to utilize Japanese technicians and functionaries in the postwar era to fill positions where no qualified Koreans were available. However soon Southern Korea could best be described as a powder keg ready to explode. P.4 The Korean Theatre.
Hot and Cold War in Asia: On November 10, 1945 the British attack against Indonesian Nationalists in Surabaya began. The battle that ensued equaled in intensity many of the battles of World War II. More than five hundred bombs were dropped on the city during the first three days of the battle. P.5 Indonesia and China Burning.
Hot and Cold War in Asia: By October 1946 the Burmese would be sorely aware that the British had effectively handed power to India.The goal was to keep Burma within the Commonwealth and out of Soviet clutches.On 23 March 1947, standing beneath a huge illuminated map of the continent, Nehru opened the Asian Relations Conference with the words: 'When the history of our present times comes to be written, this Conference may well stand out as the landmark which divides the past of Asia from the future.' From the Levant to China was represented: there were delegations of Jews and Arabs from Palestine; commissars from Soviet central Asia; courtiers from the Kingdom of Thailand; hardened communist guerrillas from Malaya, and polished Kuomintang diplomats. P.6 1945-1950.
Hot and Cold War in Asia: The most deleterious effects of the Allied military presence developed not through blunders or misjudgments of those charged with carrying out the occupations, but when the highest levels of government acted indecisively, had mistaken notions or no notion at all about what was actually happening on the scene, and neglected or ignoted reports from the field. Mountbatten had at least some idea of the formidable nationalist opposition the British were likely to face in southern Vietnam and Indonesia, but the government in London, preoccupied with retaining the goodwill of the Dutch and French, tended to downplay or ignore his warnings and those of his commanders in the field. P.7 Vietnam War and World Decolonization.
Thus while the old colonial powers were struggling to hang on in Asia, they thought in Africa that they had time to play with. Bureaucratic blueprints for the transfer of power in the indefinite future and after a series of stages (like a dunce's progress from the first form to the sixth) flowed from the pens of colonial planners. The real imperative was the urgent need to make the colonies produce: cocoa, vegetable oil, cotton, sisal, tobacco, copper, gold, uranium, cobalt, asbestos and aluminum. Dollar shortage and Cold War tension turned Africa from the derelict of the inter-war years into Europe's Aladdin's cave. The 'night watchman' state, which let sleeping dogs lie, had to be made into the 'developmental' state, which interfered everywhere. White settler communities in East and Central Africa, typically regarded by pre-war colonial officials as a redundant nuisance, had now to be petted and their expansion encouraged. In colonial West Africa, where there were no white settlers, colonial administrators looked for support to the educated elite of the coastal towns. Coldly regarded before the war, they were now to help energize the drive for growth. With curious optimism, more romantic than rational, the makers of policy in London and Paris assumed that the promise of ultimate self-government would soothe the irritation of a much more intrusive colonial presence and lay the foundations of 'Eurafrican' partnership when colonial rule was eventually relinquished.
Postscript: Sixteen years after the Cold War ended in East Asia , second-tier powers are beginning to shape the region. Its first try was the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), formed in 1993. But aside from serving up some great karaoke (seriously, you have not lived until you have seen Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in a leisure suit singing his own version of "Mambo No. 5," or former Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan in drag), the ARF was really just a talk shop. In the minds of some ASEAN states, the problem was U.S. participation. After all, if you want to talk about the big kid, you cannot do it while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is playing the piano in the same room. The solution was the East Asia Forum (EAF), which explicitly excluded the United States .
But that is faltering as well, for two reasons. First, U.S. allies Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand were all invited, allowing the United States to influence developments by proxy. Second, the United States is not the only entity that seeks to harness ASEAN's efforts for its own designs.The country that has been most successful at this is China , which has now engaged ASEAN on everything from security talks to free trade negotiations. But even this partial success is threatening to be undermined by yet another actor looking to jump into the Pacific playground: Russia. The Russian government on Thursday called on ASEAN to increase cooperation with one of Russia 's pet projects: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
While Russia 's grip on its Far East is weak, Moscow is well aware that a country that does not act aggressively in the region risks losing what access it has. Moscow 's interests also are not primarily in Asia; they are in Europe. So anything the Kremlin can do to tie up potential adversaries halfway around the world fits neatly into Russia 's strategy. In part, Russia hopes to strengthen its hand with a limited naval buildup in the Pacific, but just as critical are Moscow 's diplomatic efforts. Russia understands that when an organization is either dysfunctional or beyond one's grasp, it is best to pack it with as many anti-American players as possible and at least turn it into a loudspeaker for Kremlin propaganda.
With these thoughts in mind, Russia is hoping to lash the SCO, a onetime security group that now is shopping for a new raison d'etre, to as many countries that look askew at the United States as possible. Iran , of course, is high on the docket, with India and now the ARF and EAF bringing up the rear. It does not much matter to Moscow whether this makes these organizations more efficient (it will not), so long as the SCO can function as a platform for Russian political goals. To that end, the cash-rich Russian state is buying up Cambodia 's debt and planning a presidential visit to Indonesia in September. (Both are ASEAN members.)
For the Chinese, who prefer a more functional and subtle arrangement, as well as the ASEAN states who formed these organizations so they could call the shots, Russia's manipulation of the situation is downright rude. But telling the Russians to stick it in their ear -- to say the least -- would violate not only the mild anti-American sentiment that has propelled their efforts thus far, but also the sense of inclusion to which most of the Asian groups aspire. The result is becoming a mishmash of a half dozen organizations, ostensibly formed for similar purposes, with strikingly similar member lists. If the groups keep growing, soon there will be only two that have any meaning.
First is ASEAN itself, whichhas managed to implement some real economic integration that should not be scoffed at. The only other organization that shows much promise is the awkwardly named Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a trade-oriented group that has begun to dabble in security issues. Originally mooted by the Japanese and Australians, APEC now has become Washington 's preferred vehicle for bending the region to its will. Unlike ASEAN -- which works by consensus -- or the World Trade Organization (WTO) -- in which every member has a veto -- APEC is voluntary. Any collection of countries can implement any economic deal without having to first appease objecting members, resulting in a race to liberalization instead of marathon negotiations with troublemakers. Considering the weaknesses of the WTO, the increasing politicization of the other groups and Asia 's perennial interest in trade, APEC could soon be the only forum left worth attending.