Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 9. 1ts May 1973
No Freedom until Imperialism ended
No Freedom until Imperialism ended.
With the ending of the war in Vietnam and Laos, the question of the future of Southeast Asia and the role of Malaya has acquired a degree of urgency.
The discussion within Malaya and among her Southeast Asian neighbours in the so-called 'non-communist orbit' has in recent years centred around the 'Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN). This Association is a part-economic, part-political consultative body with no clearly-defined lines of action. Its nature of mixed allegiances and commitments under the aegis of several super-powers has turned out bizarre results. Some members considered ASEAN as a marriage of convenience, with mutual protection during political tension. Some saw it as a variety of 'Asian Common Market'. However, others saw it as an extended arm of the various military pacts operating in Southeast Asia, complete with the usual cliches about 'combatting communist subversion'.
The ASEAN members include Malaya (Singapore), Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines who tended to think and act in a vicious circle, in which the future of the region was compressed and solidified into one inflexible formula, the formula of anti-communism. In a state of hysteria, certain powers were able to launch their expeditionary campaigns, set up their proteges, establish their foothold and augment their claim as 'protectors' of this and that puppet virtually anywhere in the world. The new Labour Government in New Zealand continues to play its role as a junior partner of US-British imperialism by actively associating with the Five-Power Defence Arrangements.
Unless a complete break is made with the past concepts of foreign patronage and big power interference any talk of neutrality and sovereignty will be a waste of time. Are certain powers prepared to withdraw from their 'position of strength' and their interference in the internal affairs of countries in Southeast Asia? Are the peoples and nations in Southeast Asia to be allowed to choose their own form of government and associate freely with one another without political, racial or any other forms of discrimination? The dream of a regional organisation of peace, freedom, neutrality and security wilt be a farce if these questions are not solved.