SECURITY: South-East Asia; Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit
The South East Asian region consists of countries with a combination of Indian and Chinese descent. The region that presently consists of 11 countries was formerly a multifaceted political system led by empires and kingdoms between which there were strains and rivalry. With lack of effective boundaries between the countries, the only distinction was in the economic activities, with kingdoms being classified as either maritime or agrarian (Heidhues, 2000). Betrayal and rivalry among leaders made the region incapable of economic development making it dependent on China to a large extent.
During the colonial period, each of the kingdoms within the region had different experiences based on the nature of colonization used by the colonialists. In some cases, kingdoms experienced positive impacts such as infrastructural development, education and political freedom characterized the colonies of liberal nations such as the United States and the Great Britain. The kingdoms therefore had respect for the law and collaborated with the colonialists due to the perceived benefits associated with colonization.
On the other hand, colonialists such as Dutch, the French and the Spanish practiced repressive rule which led to high levels of corruption, disloyalty and suffering. Access to education by the locals was limited while only the favored would receive education. This led to strained relationships between the colonized and their colonizers. While the liberal colonialists were willing to give up their colonies by the beginning of the Second World War, the repressive colonialists had to be forcefully eliminated through the formation of nationalist movements aimed at achieving liberty for the people. Religious groups such as Islamists and social factions such as communists were willing to adopt a nationalist approach to gain liberty. This was further enhanced through the perception of the impacts of Western education.
Heidhues, (2000). South East Asia: A Concise History. New York, N.Y: Thames & Hudson
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