This book traces US policy towards Indonesia in the vital years 1961-1965, a period which defined the cold war power balance in Southeast Asia.Set against a bleak background where Indonesia was spiralling out of Western influence and into a war withMoreThis book traces US policy towards Indonesia in the vital years 1961-1965, a period which defined the cold war power balance in Southeast Asia.Set against a bleak background where Indonesia was spiralling out of Western influence and into a war with the Netherlands, John F.
Kennedy and his staff sought to keep Indonesia friendly by all means available to them. The loss of Indonesia to communist Chinese or Soviet influence, would be the greates loss since the fall of China, the US administration worried.The book starts in the aftermath of the 1957-58 war, when the CIA,instructed by Eisenhower and JF Dulles performed the till-then largest covert military action in US history, in support of a regional rebellion against the neutralist Indonesian government.
The rebellion failed, and US relations with Indonesia were severely damaged.However, in 1965 a communist coup attempt led to a military counter-coup led by Suharto. After a massacre of roughly half a million claimed communists, general Suharto took power. Indonesia re-aligned itself with the US and recreated its links with the west, but remained authoritarian. Regional power shifted in US favor, and the vital maritime passageways were secured for both military and commercial purposes. Likewise, Indonesian natural and military resources were safely out of communist hands.This book tells the story of what happened in the meantime, by which means the US sought to turn policy in Indonesia westwards , and how they in the end ended up with winning the other war in Southeast Asia.
The book describes how the US used means like counterinsurgency training, military support and propaganda as well as aid and fostering personal friendships.The book discusses for the first time the documents describing a US-UK deal over mutual support for eachothers wars, the US in Vietnam, and the UK in Malaya with Indonesia.Based on previously classified sources and other scholarly works, the book finally discusses what role the US might have had in the dramatic events of 1965, which led to the shift in alignment.
A sober and academic account, this book is a thorough introduction to this crucial turning point in pacific cold war history.