Social Scientist. v 3, no. 27 (Oct 1974) p. 4.

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economic community.

The Indochina conflict clearly demonstrated that the public will not tolerate the sacrifice of American lives in protracted counter-guerrilla wars in Asia. With the declining value of the dollar, Vietnam also demonstrated that the United States cannot enjoy inflation-free prosperity at home and at the same time maintain an unlimited military apparatus overseas. Economic and political conditions require, therefore, that future US strategy be based on a more efficient and restricted employment of the nation's limited military resources.

Under the Nixon Doctrine, the United States will no longer provide ground troops for counter-insurgency wars in Asia, but will "look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defence.552 In Southeast Asia, where few governments command popular support, this policy envisions US armed client armies backed by US aircraft and warships. Where such forces prove inadequate, Washington is also ready to introduce the GIA's tribal mercenaries or the ground forces of local mini-powers whose militarized governments are sustained by subsidies. As former Secretary of Defence Melvin Laird explained,

the basic policy of decreasing direct US military involvement cannot be successful unless we provide our friends and allies with the material assistance necessary... In the majority of cases, this means indigenous manpower organized into properly equipped and well-trained armed forces with the help of material, training, technology and specialized skills furnished by the United States.8

Consistent Objective

Although the instruments of US grand strategy in Asia have been modified and refashioned in response to the changing nature of local power relationships, the paramount objective in the region has remained relatively consistent since the end of the Second World War to replace obsolete colonial and imperial economic structures with a "free trade'^ system conducive to penetration and domination by American capital. This goal has required, in turn, the containment of People's China, the defeat of national liberation movements in Southeast Asia, and the restoration of Japanese capitalism under American leadership. Twice in the past quarter century major US armies have fought in Asia in furtherance of these goals, and today over 172,000 American soldiers still stand watch in the area to protect American interests. (See Table I for a breakdown of the US military presence in East Asia.) Indeed, it is clear that despite the trauma of Vietnam, the policymakers have not abandoned their goal of securing control over the area's resources and expanding the field for trade and investment: US investments are growing at a faster rate in Asia than in any other area of the world, and oil companies are rushing to secure concessions for exploitation of the area's offshore petroleum reserves.4

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