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

  • Roon 203, Luce Hall, Yale University 34 Hillhouse Avenue New Haven, CT, 06511 United States (map)

The Council on Southeast Asia Studies at Yale University’s Brown Bag Seminar Series presents “Arc of Containment: Britain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia.”

Major studies of American foreign relations treat U.S. 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-U.S. trajectory after 1945, that British neocolonialism and Southeast Asian anticommunism melded with preexisting local antipathy toward China and the Chinese diaspora to usher the region from formal colonialism to U.S. hegemony. By the 1970s, Southeast Asia’s anticommunist nationalists had established, with U.S. support, a geostrategic arc of states that contained Vietnam and China.

About the speaker: Wen-Qing Ngoei is assistant professor of history at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He completed his PhD at Northwestern University and, before joining NTU, did postdoctoral stints at Northwestern and Yale University. Ngoei’s book, Arc of Containment: Britain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia (Cornell, 2019), argues that British decolonization intertwined with Southeast Asian anticommunism to shape U.S. 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).

Tea, coffee, juice & cookies are provided at all Wednesday Brown Bag Seminars. B.Y.O. bag lunches welcome. Click here for more information and to check out the rest of the series.