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Southeast Asia after 1945. April 3, 2014. Review. Who was Park Chung Hee? Were Park’s 18 years in power good or bad for South Korea? How did South Korea become a democracy? Why has North Korea failed to democratize? Who was Kim Il Sung? What happened in Gwangju (Kwangju) in 1980? .

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Who was Park Chung Hee?

Were Park’s 18 years in power good or bad for South Korea?

How did South Korea become a democracy?

Why has North Korea failed to democratize?

Who was Kim Il Sung?

What happened in Gwangju (Kwangju) in 1980?

colonialism unravels p 172
Colonialism Unravels (p.172)

Joining Thailand as independent countries....

1946 The Philippines

1948 Burma

1949 Indonesia (required a war)

1954 Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos (required a war)

1957 Malaysia

1965 Singapore (separates from Malaysia)

1999 East Timor [Timor Leste] (required a war)

fault lines in southeast asia
Fault-lines in Southeast Asia

military vrs. civilian rule: Myanmar has been under military rule most of the time. Thailand and Indonesia have also experienced long periods of military rule

ethno-religious tension:

Chinese and non-Chinese: Indonesia, Malaysia. and Vietnam sites of greatest tension (p. 171)

Muslim-Christian: the Philippines (p. 180), East Timor (p. 176)

Muslim-Buddhist: Thailand (p.182), Myanmar

Lowlander––highlander: Myanmar, Vietnam

political development
Political Development

On a scale of more democratic to less democratic:

the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, East Timor

Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia

Myanmar: just starting to democratize

Vietnam, Laos: Communist Party-authoritarian.

Brunei: monarchy (sultanate)

What is procedural democracy? Elections without any real chance of a peaceful transfer of power.

economic development
Economic Development

Developed: Singapore, Brunei

Developing: Malaysia, Thailand, Timor Leste, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam

A long way to go: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar

Do Singapore and the Philippines contradict the assumption that there is a connection between strong landlords and lack of democracy?

comparative economies
Comparative Economies

Estimated per capita GDP (by purchasing power) in 2013

Singapore $62,400 Brunei $54,800

Timor–Leste $21,400 Malaysia $17,500

Thailand $9,900

Indonesia $5,200 Philippines $4,700

Vietnam $4,000 Laos $3,100 Cambodia $2,600

Burma (Myanmar) $1,700

barrington moore and southeast asia
Barrington Moore andSoutheast Asia

Barrington Moore doesn’t discuss Southeast Asia. If we try to apply his theory there, we find:

The Barrington Moore thesis may help explain Vietnam, but not the rest of Southeast Asia. Ethnic diversity and colonial rule complicate the picture in SE Asia.

In Vietnam landlords fled to the south in the 1940s and 1950. Without a strong merchant class in the north, Communism became firmly established. In the South a right-wing authoritarianism took root.

Growth of a merchant class may help explain later democratization in Indonesia and Thailand, but not in Myanmar.

Why hasn’t Singapore democratized?

the philippines pp 163 4 177 80
The Philippines (pp.163-4, 177-80)

Crony Capitalism in an oligarchic society.

Marcos imposed strong-handed rule on the Philippines from 1972 to 1986. Was overthrown by “People Power.”

US colonial rule did not promote industrialization, and also enhanced landlord power, but taught respect for procedural democracy.

There have now been several peaceful transfers of power.

the philippines under marcos
The Philippines under Marcos
myanmar burma pp 184 86
Myanmar (Burma) (pp. 184-86)

Aung San, the man who led Burma to independence, was killed shortly before Burma became independent.

In 1962 the Burmese military seized control and established “Burmese socialism.” They killed hundreds whenever pro-democracy protests erupted.

Democracy movement led by Aung San’s daughter, Suu Kyi. She won annulled 1990 election. Was allowed to enter parliament in 2012.

Poverty has slowed political progress. The military is slowly stepping aside, so Myanmar may be truly democratic before too long.

Buddhists have begun killing Muslims in the west.

thailand pp 165 6 180 84
Thailand (pp. 165-6, 180-84)

Constitutional monarchy established by military coup in 1932

1946 King found shot dead in his bed. Current king ascends the throne

Splits within the military created space for civilian governments.

Last coup was in 2006. There was an election, in 2007, which civilians won. Thailand now appears to be a functioning democracy. However, the urban middle class is fighting against democracy, believing it leads to corruption.


indonesia pp 162 3 173 77
Indonesia (pp. 162-3, 173-77)

1949-1965 Sukarno—ruled with support of Communist Party. Declared “guided democracy.”

1965 Attempted left-wing coup led to an anti-Communist bloodbath. At least 500,000 killed, many of the Chinese Indonesians. (p. 163)

1965-1998 Suharto’s right-wing dictatorship stimulates economic growth. (switch from import-substitution to export-oriented economic politics)

1998-present. Stumbling steps toward democracy. Timor Leste breaks away.

malaysia pp 167 69 186 89
Malaysia (pp. 167-69, 186-89)

Communist (primarily Chinese) rebellion slowed progress toward independence

Major issue has been the attempts by Malays to ensure their numerical superiority is reflected in political and economic superiority.

Ruling party is a coalition of Malay, Chinese, and Indian parties. Malays dominate. The ruling party has never lost a national election but their share of the vote has been dropping recently. However, Malaysia has yet to experience a peaceful transfer of power. The ruling party won a close election in 2013.

singapore pp 190 91
Singapore (pp. 190-91)

Communal tensions with Malays led to Singapore separating from Malaysia in 1965.

Under leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore became a trading and financial centre, making it very wealthy

There are elections, but the ruling party always wins, and the opposition never wins more than a few seats. Opposition politicians are sometimes charged in civil suits with “insulting” the leaders of the government. There is no real freedom of speech or freedom of the press in Singapore.

religion ethnicity and national identity
religion, ethnicity, and national identity

Indonesia: everyone is required to believe in one God. Most are Muslims (Buddhists and Hindus are treated as believing in one God.)

Malaysia: Malays are supposed to be Muslims

Thailand: to be a real Thai, you should be Buddhist. Burmese also define themselves as Buddhists. That causes problems for religious minorities.

Chinese maintain a separate cultural identity in some Southeast Asian countries by frequenting Chinese temples.

indochina after 1945
Indochina after 1945
vietnam pp 153 59 191 93
Vietnam (pp. 153-59, 191-93)

Vietnam, which had been divided into three separate colonies under the French, resisted the return of the French in 1945. War with the French ended in 1954 with the division of Vietnam into a Communist north and an anti-Communist (but not democratic) south.

With Ho Chi Minh, a Communist nationalist, as the leader in the North, a guerrilla war to unite north and south begins in the late 1950s. The US intervenes to defend the government of the south. The Americans admit defeat in 1973. Vietnam is united under a Communist government in 1975.

Vietnam began imitating China’s economic reforms in 1986. It now, like China, combines a mixed economy (some capitalism, some state control) with authoritarian rule, and its economy has begun to grow. .

ho chi minh
Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh in Wikipedia

Not an acceptable source to use in your term paper. But the pictures are interesting.

Instead, you can use the New York Times obituary:

cambodia s tragedy 160 62 194 96
Cambodia’s tragedy (160-62, 194-96)

Freed from French control in the 1950s, Cambodia tried to remain neutral in the battle between north and south Vietnam.

The US supported General Lon Nol’s overthrow of the neutral government of Sihanouk in 1970. That, plus US military attacks on Cambodia, allowed the Khmer Rouge to seize the nationalist banner. They took over Cambodia in 1975 and embarked on a “purification” of the population that cost over 1.5 million dead.

Vietnam invaded in 1979 and forced the Khmer Rouge from power. Cambodia’s prime minister is a former Khmer Rouge who first gained power with Vietnamese help and has stayed in power ever since, even though there have been elections.

the killing fields
The killing fields
don t forget laos pp 160 193 94
Don’t forget Laos (pp.160, 193-94)

A small country caught up in the battle for Indochina. The war in Vietnam spilled over into Laotian territory.

When Vietnam and Cambodia went Communist, so did Laos (the Communist forces were led by a Communist prince!)

Laos is now ruled by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, with no other political parties permitted. There is a mixed economy and an authoritarian political system.

brunei p 191
Brunei (p. 191)
  • An often overlooked country that is relatively rich (because of oil).
  • Less than 425,000 people live in Brunei.
  • Still an absolute monarchy (sultanate)
  • 11-20% of the population of Brunei are of Chinese background.
major violence in se asia
Major Violence in SE Asia
  • 1945-75 War in Vietnam
  • 1965 Massacre in Indonesia
  • 1975-78 Killing fields in Cambodia
  • plus on-going political violence in Thailand, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, and Burma/Myanmar