chapter  V
17 Pages

Retreat and Reappraisal in South-East Asia

The approach to foreign policy of the Conservative administration which assumed office in June 1970 has been distinguished by a pronounced concern with Britain's international standing. This has been expressed in a determination to retain a permanent military presence in South-East Asia, thus reversing the policy of the previous administration. This essay, which reviews the course of British military policy in its residual imperium in South-East Asia, sets out in particular to identify the sources and nature of constraints which may affect the latest phase of such policy. Because of earlier reversals justified on economic grounds, there has been a tendency to assume that such constraints stem only from British economic circumstances. Without denying the relevance of economic limitations, this essay points to other factors - especially the circumstances of involvement - which may well be equally constricting.