Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, Cornell University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Cornell University
The Nixon Doctrine, Island Southeast Asia, and the Fall and Rise of the Cold War, 1969-1976

My dissertation examines the international construction of authoritarian rule in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore in the early-to-mid 1970s through an overarching conceptual arc that I term "the fall and rise of the Cold War." I argue that despite the fact that communist fortunes in Asia flagged during the late 1960s and early 1970s, policymaking elites in island Southeast Asia obtained via the anticommunist policy of the Nixon Doctrine substantial American largesse that proved vital in the construction and consolidation of their authoritarian political structures. The resulting narrowing of legitimate channels of political opposition then produced in the mid-1970s a resurgence of leftist, revolutionary sentiment tied to discourses of neocolonialism and American domination. I will test and elucidate this arc through the analysis of government documents, newspaper and other media records, and communist and leftist publications from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States. In so doing, I will contribute to a reframing of the Cold War from an East-West conflict to a North-South one whose fundamental property was the transformation and destruction of societies in what we still pejoratively refer to as the "Third World." I will also restore agency to postcolonial Southeast Asian elites, who are still too often regarded as pliant instruments of either American or Soviet power.