Authoritarianism In Southeast Asia

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The end of World War 2 left Southeast Asia in an interesting albeit complex period. The once mighty European colonial empires started to crumble, having exhausted their fiscal resources and capacities in fighting the war. With decolonization, some countries like Indonesia declared independence, while other countries were left in a state of anomie, with the already existent internal turmoil such as segregated and suppressed ethnic groups and unstable democracy . The region undeniably saw the rise of movements driven by anti-colonialism sentiments, manifested in three forms, nationalism, socialism, which was dictated by a Marxist-Lenin ideology, and through revolts and rebellions. On the international level, Southeast Asia was simultaneously…show more content…
Therefore, it is imperative to further scrutinize the impacts of both these phenomenon, namely colonialism and the Cold War, to understand which one of these provided stronger fodder for the surge of authoritarianism in Southeast Asia. This essay aims to affirm that while colonialism sometimes laid the foundation for authoritarian regimes, the Cold War acted as the main trigger factor that caused the surge of authoritarianism throughout Southeast…show more content…
They did not like Sukarno’s anti-imperial ideology, and wanted an authoritarian leader who would work in tandem with them during the Cold War. The U.S. C.I.A’s actions reflect these sentiments, in their funding and providing resources to the right-wing faction of the Army and the coup d’état in 1965 that overthrew Sukarno and replace it with Suharto, who went on to purge thousands of communists in Indonesia . From this series of events, with the coup d’état being the pinnacle, it is clear that the Cold War exacerbated the rising tensions in Indonesia, leading to Sukarno’s consolidation of power under Guided Democracy. The case of Indonesia shows how Western interventions, motivated by their agenda to either encourage or eliminate communism, has helped to cement authoritarian regimes, with reference to Suharto’s hybrid authoritarian New Order regime dictated by Pancasila Democracy

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