The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II

The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II

Robert J. McMahon / Feb 28, 2020

The Limits of Empire The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II In the years following World War II as the United States began to focus on the global containment of communism few regions of the world were considered as much of a potential battleground as Southea

  • Title: The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II
  • Author: Robert J. McMahon
  • ISBN: 9780231108812
  • Page: 458
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the years following World War II, as the United States began to focus on the global containment of communism, few regions of the world were considered as much of a potential battleground as Southeast Asia Robert McMahon contends that policymakers exaggerated the significance of the region within the global power balance, dangerously overextending the United States andIn the years following World War II, as the United States began to focus on the global containment of communism, few regions of the world were considered as much of a potential battleground as Southeast Asia Robert McMahon contends that policymakers exaggerated the significance of the region within the global power balance, dangerously overextending the United States and resulting in the tragedy of the Vietnam War.The first book to situate the Vietnam War in its broad, regional context, The Limits of Empire offers the most complete picture to date of how U.S strategies of containment and empire building spiraled out of control in Southeast Asia Additionally, McMahon s analysis goes further than any previous study of U.S security policy in Southeast Asia by following it through to the present, investigating how the demoralizing experience of Vietnam radically undermined U.S enthusiasm for the region in a strategic sense By conceptualizing the U.S strategic mission as empire building rather than merely containment, this book offers an insightful new way to understand America s failure in Vietnam and also why this grim miscalculation did not lead to the balance of power catastrophe that some U.S officials had forecasted The Limits of Empire touches upon such broad theoretical concerns as the appeal of nationalist, anti Western currents to Third World peoples the inadequacy of empires as a means of asserting control over non Western peoples and the chasm between America s postwar ambitions and the sobering realization of the limits of its power.

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      Published :2019-07-24T14:23:55+00:00

    About "Robert J. McMahon"

      • Robert J. McMahon

        A specialist in the history of U.S foreign relations, Robert J McMahon is professor of history at Ohio State University He previously taught at the University of Florida and has held visiting positions at the University of Virginia and University College Dublin.


    857 Comments

    1. I appreciated this survey of US involvement in SE Asia from the end of WWII to the 90s. Particularly valuable is McMahon's attempt to view major events through the perspective of the various nations of IndoChina. Some may be put off by his title. It seems legitimate to me, particularly when qualified in his conclusion. The two most startling statements I would take issue with were as follows. First, "a communist victory across Indochina that brought none of the dreaded consequences once imagined [...]


    2. In later memoirs, Kissinger reflected on the difficulties of disengaging from Vietnam and noted, “I was convinced that the deepest cause of our national unease was the realization - as yet dimly perceived - that we were becoming like other nations in the need to recognize that our power, while vast, had limits.” This quote stands both upon the cusp of the major shift in US relations with Southeast Asia over the past half-century and at the center of McMahon’s short yet masterful survey of [...]


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