Laos: Keystone of Indochina

In This Review

Laos: Keystone of Indochina

By Arthur J. Dommen
Westview Press, 1985
182 pp.

Formerly a journalist, with wide experience in Southeast Asia, Arthur Dommen is the United States' leading expert on Laos. This book is a well-balanced and broad survey of Laotian history, culture and recent experience under Vietnamese domination. Dommen reports that there are 6,000 Vietnamese civilian advisers attached to the Laotian government ministries and that security is maintained by some 800 Vietnamese secret police. One estimate places the number of Laotian Communist Party members who have been "reeducated" for holding anti-Vietnamese views at 2,500; a huge bust of Ho Chi Minh dominated the proceedings of the Third Congress of the Laotian Communist Party in 1982. Dommen says that Laos faces a "not negligible" security threat, partly from anti-communist elements who never left Laos and partly from exiles who seek to return. Pledges of support for the resistance have come from China and, at times, from Thailand.

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