Cultural Politics and Asian Values: The Tepid War (Routledge by Michael D. Barr

By Michael D. Barr

Cultural Politics and Asian Values appears on the political, cultural and spiritual heritage of East and Southeast Asian societies and people of 'the West', so that it will seeing how they're affecting modern nationwide and foreign politics: democratization, the foreign human rights discourse, NGOs and globalisation.The publication surveys the political historical past and pre-history of the 'Asian values' debate, taking it as much as the period of Megawati Sukarnoputri, Chen Shui-bian and Kim Dae-jung. In chapters on Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and liberalism, Barr explores the histories and conceptual essences of the area religions focused on or stricken by the controversy.

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Yet there was more to the counter culture than just sex. In America and Australia, liberated youth were given a second vested interest in challenging authority by the draft [conscription in Australia] for the Vietnam War. Yet the counter culture and the Vietnam Moratorium movement were strong even in places where there was no or little military involvement in Vietnam – places such as Britain, France and Italy. This phenomenon suggests that the association of the counter culture and the moratoriums may have been merely fortuitous, and that a young, idle, liberated and privileged generation of ‘baby boomers’ would have found an outlet for their energies whether or not America was fighting a war in Southeast Asia.

With a few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries. . 29 It is worth noting that Lee’s mistrust of democracy was rooted at least partially in his experience of the failed democracies of Asia. In the 1990s, Lee held up the Myanmar of the 1960s as an example of the limitations of democracy, and – oddly considering Ne Win’s appalling economic record – the virtues of a strong authoritarian state: Ne Win once was given a chance to run Burma and he made sense out of it.

One does not need to resort to the Domino Theory to see that this altered fundamentally the strategic balance in Southeast Asia. The immediate response within the region was a closing of ranks among most of the remaining non-communist countries. Since its foundation in 1967, ASEAN had been a low key grouping that allowed the foreign ministers of Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand to meet in a fairly informal and private setting. There was too much rivalry and mistrust – especially of the giant member, Indonesia, and between Malaysia and the Philippines – for the grouping to engage in serious economic or political cooperation.

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