The aim of this book, written by a former British Foreign Office Soviet specialist, is to chart the course of Soviet policy toward Southeast Asia since the beginning of the communist regime, and to try to discern whether there has been any pattern or consistency in it. The conclusion is that Soviet policy has been reactive and opportunistic, its main purpose being the enhancement of Soviet influence at the expense of China and the United States. So far, outside Indochina, the Soviet Union has had only modest success. The economic strength and military presence of the United States, the proximity of China and its ethnic links with the countries of the region, and the consolidation of Japanese economic power in the area have been major constraints on Soviet activity in Southeast Asia.
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