Debating Resources for the World since 1994
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 09:54:09 -0700 (MST)


Subject: SE Asia Topic Paper

I am posting this topic paper to the L now, because Tuna asked me to post
before CEDA nats. The Southeast Asia Topic Paper is very long, so I divided it
into three sections for posting to the Ls. This section is a general overview of
the paper and offers some insight into the political and economic structures
of Southeast Asian nations. I recommend reading at least the introductory
paragraphs. The second section describes the five areas (democracy, human
rights, regional security, trade and cultural hegemony) that we felt could
provide good aff and neg ground for debate. There is a pretty extensive lit
review as well as some sample resolutions. The third and final section
discusses neg ground and the bibliography concludes the paper (Section 4 in
the original draft). This is the original text of the paper we submitted in
November 1996, and hasn't been updated since then. There was also a
problem with footnotes, so the random numbers in the text are the footnotes,
and the actual references are at the end of each section.

Stacey Sowards and Richard Pineda
University of Texas at El Paso

Southeast Asia, while one of the most economically important regions in the
world, has been neglected by American foreign policy and trade agreements.
The nations of Southeast Asia have been some of the fastest growing
economies in the world over the last ten years. In fact, Southeast Asian
economy growth rates have been unprecedented and previously thought
unattainable. The implications of these growing economies mean that
Southeast Asia will play a larger role in the world economy and require
increased cooperation in the region, as well as with nations outside Southeast
Asia. While virtually all of the nations of Southeast Asia have moved toward
capitalist structures and market economies, the status of true democracy and
human rights remains in flux. Additionally, the global expansion of markets
and media has brought substantial foreign capital and goods to the region,
creating a question of regional, national, and ethnic identity. The nations of
Southeast Asia are immensely diverse, but because of the formation of
regional organizations these nations tend to stand together to address
regional issues. The unity of these nations is ultimately important in
maintaining regional security and ensuring the continued growth of the
Southeast Asian economies.
The creation of regional institutions has been instrumental in defining the
identity and interaction of Southeast Asian nations. The most prominent of

these organizations are: ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),
ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum), APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Countries),
ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) and AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Agreement).
ASEAN plays a substantial role in regional dialogue and is probably the most
effective organization in Southeast Asia. ASEAN is comprised of the
following six nations: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore,
and Thailand. ASEAN also maintains dialogue partners, which include
mostly Western nations. ASEAN has become the key institution in Southeast
Asia because it has been able to develop a sense of cohesion among the
disparate nations, as well as move towards economic cooperation. The other
important regional organizations, such as ARF and AFTA, have been
promulgated by ASEAN. AFTA has not been officially adopted yet, but
negotiations for such a free trade agreement are underway. APEC is also a
vital institution in the region, given the economic cooperation between the
nations of Southeast Asia and the neighboring nations of the Pacific Rim.
One of the best reasons to choose Southeast Asia as a topic for debate is the
wealth of information available for research. Included at the end of this paper
is a detailed bibliography of the books and periodicals used to generate the
ideas for each of the topic areas. The bibliography represents a concentrated
effort to stick to widely available and easily accessed published material. A
striking characteristic for the literature review should be the lack of Lexis
Nexis material in the bibliography. We felt the best way to justify topic
research for both small and large schools was to stick to the "middle of the
road" when researching material.
The bibliography is composed of a number of books that provide a beneficial
introduction into the history and political structures of Southeast Asia. Our
desire was to incorporate a variety of opinions, and also to present a healthy
discourse about the region. Books that we have found especially helpful to
reach this goal are: Pacific Asia in the 1990s by Shibusawa, Ahmad and
Bridges; The State and Ethnic Politics in Southeast Asia by Brown;
Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific edited by Koppel; Focus on
Southeast Asia edited by Church; The International Politics of the Asia Pacific,
1945-1995 by Yahuda. A number of these books were available through a
smaller university library, therefore we feel more than certain that research
for this topic can be pursued by any program committed to understanding the
intricacies of Southeast Asia and the relevant regional and international
The periodical listings for the bibliography centers around Current History
and the Asian Survey, but by no means is limited to these periodicals. Indeed,
the benefit of researching Southeast Asia is the wide number of topic oriented
periodical material. The following is only a partial list of journals and
periodicals that might serve useful on the Southeast Asian topic area: The
Asian Wall Street Journal, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Far Eastern
Survey, Indonesia, Jakarta Post, Journal of Asian Studies, Modern Asian
Studies, Monash Papers on Southeast Asia, The New Strait Times, Pacific
Affairs, Southeast Asia Chronicle and Vietnam Insight. Southeast Asia is also

well reported in the following: Christian Science Monitor, Cultural Survival
Quarterly, The Economist of London, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs,
Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Foreign Policy, The International Herald
Tribune, International Affairs, International Relations, Journal of Democracy,
New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Quarterly, World Affairs,
World Press Review, and Xinhua News Service. Human rights oriented
material is often published through Amnesty International and the Human
Rights Watch and the specific literature from the Human Rights Watch/Asia.
A major vein of information also exists in the government documents
published by the United States federal government. For example, the
Committee on International Relations, the Subcommittee on Asia and the
Pacific, and the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human
Rights all hold annual hearings on the status of United States policy, offer a
wealth of ideas for affirmatives, and attempt to justify action on the part of
the United States.
The literature cited above presents what we feel is a well balanced approach to
the topic, not only providing insight to the United States' perspective on
policy and delegated action, but also representing the regional perspective in
an unbiased fashion.
In order to address Southeast Asia as a topic area, several key areas need to be
articulated. First, we will provide a short description of the political structure
and key issues in each of the countries of Southeast Asia. These nations, as
defined in most of the Southeast Asian literature include: Brunei, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and
Vietnam. Other countries that might be included in this list that are not
discussed in this paper, because they do not commonly appear in the
Southeast Asian literature, are: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Micronesia, Papua
New Guinea, the Spratley Islands, and Taiwan. In the second section, we will
discuss subtopic areas, serving as the basis for resolutions, as well as more
specific affirmative and negative ground, and will include the following five
categories: democracy, human rights, regional security, trade issues, and
cultural hegemony. While we recognize that there are other important issues
of the region, such as environmental degradation, unsustainable growth, and
population control, we felt that the 1996-1997 debate topic has covered these
issues sufficiently (although not necessarily in Southeast Asia), so that their
inclusion in the topic area would be repetitive. Necessity will dictate the
incorporation of these subjects into a debate on the trade or regional security
resolutions. Thus, those issues will not be addressed as potential subtopic
areas. The third section of this paper will focus on general negative areas for a
Southeast Asia topic. Finally, the fourth section will provide a reference list of
literature relevant to debating the Southeast Asia topic.
We also recognize that the NDT community has recently debated the issues of
development assistance to South Asia. However, the nature of Southeast
Asian nations are substantially different and unique in terms of political and
economic structures, security issues, and human rights violations. Myanmar
is the only country overlap between the two topic areas, and thus we regard

this overlap as insignificant as to the amount of repetitive debate.
Furthermore, Southeast Asia has been neglected by American foreign policy,
but is critical to the spheres of influences of China and Japan. South Asia, on
the other hand, is a region that has not been ignored by the United States in
the past. Consequently, Southeast Asia becomes even more unique and
interesting, as relatively few Americans understand the relevance and
importance of this region, and has not received widespread attention from
the debate community.

Section One: General Overview on Southeast Asian Nations

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei is an Islamic state, comprised of mostly Malays and Chinese. Brunei's
political structure is an absolute monarchy, one of the few left in the world.
The wealth of the economy produced by copious amounts of oil and gas
reserves allows Sir Hassanal Bolkiah, the current sultan of Brunei, to remain
in power, as there is relatively little conflict or protest. The profits from the
oil and gas industries mean that Brunei enjoys the highest per capita income
in Southeast Asia. However, while Brunei is dependent on oil exports,
attempts have been made to diversify the economy to light manufacturing
and agricultural industries. In 1987, Brunei also became the sixth member of
ASEAN, showing its willingness to participate in issues of the region.
Although Brunei has been relatively politically stable under the reign of the
absolute monarchy, the growing middle class may create some political unrest
with their demands for increased political involvement, as Bruneians
currently have no political freedom.

Cambodia (Kampuchea)

Cambodia had been ravaged by civil strife since the 1970s until 1993, when the
United Nations established a coalition to end the civil war between the four
main Cambodian factions. The United Nations Transitional Authority in
Cambodia (UNTAC) has been criticized heavily for its failure to disarm the
four factions, but did receive praise for managing to set up elections to form
the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) under the reign of King
Sihanouk, Prince Ranariddh as the first prime minister, and Hun Sen as the
second prime minister. Technically, UNTACs system is a constitutional
monarchy that presides over a democratic political system. Realistically, the
Cambodian government has moved to neoauthoritarianism, under the guise
of democracy. This transition to neoauthoritarianism has resulted in the
silencing of opposition groups, government corruption, human rights
violations, and the rise of the uncontrollable Khmer Rouge, one of the
original factions. Additionally, decades of civil war have left the Cambodian
economy in a state of disarray and Cambodians in extreme poverty. In 1993,

the GDP per capita was less than US$200. Economic problems are furthered
exacerbated by government corruption and the fact that the political system is
relatively unstable, as no successor to the king has been named. Elections are
scheduled for 1998, but the instability of the country will dictate the
occurrence of those elections. Under the status quo, peace and economic
stability are not guaranteed and the situation in Cambodia is not likely to
improve without some action. However, the international community has
been hesitant to provide aid, military or financial, to the corrupt, unstable


Indonesia is one of the most important countries in Southeast Asia for two
reasons. First, it has the fourth largest population in the world, at 190 million
people, and also has the largest Muslim population, with 90% of its
population following the Islamic faith. This population is incredibly diverse,
and the Indonesian government has difficulty maintaining unity among its
varied population. Second, Indonesia has enjoyed political stability over the
last thirty years under the authority of President Suharto, which has allowed
the country's economy to prosper immensely. Consequently, the Indonesian
government has popular support influential in generating political
legitimacy, as well as a relatively strong economy.
The political structure is democratic in nature with the position of President
elected by the People's Consultative Congress, however President Suharto's
thirty year election reign has brought doubt to the sanctity of the process. His
supporting political party, Golkar, tends to win approximately two thirds of
the congressional seats. However, Suharto is in his 90s, and will probably not
last much longer as the leader of the nation. In the next few years upon the
passing of Suharto, a political struggle is likely to ensue. The events of the
summer of 1996 illustrate these struggles, as Megawati along with some of her
supporters, members of the opposition parties, were arrested. Protests
followed the arrests, which were halted with force by the Indonesian army.
While Indonesia is likely to remain economically stable, the political
situation, especially with the upcoming 1997 elections, remains uncertain.
Additionally, Indonesia faces international charges of nationwide human
rights abuse, especially in Irian Jaya and East Timor. Indonesians also do not
have many political freedoms given that the press is heavily censored and
because the government is extremely corrupt; the principles of democracy
mean little.
The stable economic situation in Indonesia is a striking contrast to
Indonesian politics. In the last few years, Indonesia has had sustained
economic growth, around six percent per annum. Inflation has also been
brought under control, and the economic infrastructure has vastly improved
under Suharto. Agricultural policies have been largely successful, as have the
oil, coal, and textile industries. However, even with the stability and success
of Indonesian industries, many Indonesians remain subdued by abject

poverty. This is partly due to the corruption of the government and the big
industries, which are largely owned by President Suharto's children and other
family members. Overall, Indonesia has a fairly large economy that is
important to regional stability as well as to other nations of the Pacific Rim.

Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos)

Lao's political structure is a one party, socialist system that is governed by the
Lao People's Revolutionary Party. The head of state is currently Khamtay
Siphandone, the Prime Minister. Lao, as a land locked nation in between
Thailand and Vietnam, has been unable to develop its economy to its fullest
potential. Additionally, years of war, both from American intervention in
Vietnam and civil unrest, have left the country in economic devastation, and
is thus one of Southeast Asia's poorest nations. Subsistence farming and the
barter system are the main functions of the economy, although the Lao
infrastructure is improving. The Lao government is leery of foreign
investment, as it does not want to be economically dominated by its
neighbors. Lao is unlikely to move decisively forward economically in the
status quo, as it receives very little international aid, due to the socialist
nature of the state and the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Malaysia's political stability has enabled its economy to grow vastly. However,
in recent years, political dissension has been on the rise. Malaysia's head of
state, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad of the dominant Barisan Party, has
been the Prime Minister since 1981. He has worked to sustain economic
growth and keep political tensions from dividing Malaysia. One of the major
concerns is the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, and political pressure on the
government to support these movements. Despite these issues, the
government maintains the upper hand, and has been able to control
dissension in several ways, including press censorship, removal of the power
to veto legislation by the Malaysian king, and arresting those that dissent.
The Malaysian economy has improved drastically since the 1970s due to the
New Economic Policy (NEP), which has been directed at eradicating poverty
and reducing the identification of economic function with race.
>From 1971-1990, Malaysia's average growth in GNP was 6.8 percent, as a
result of this economic policy. Malaysia has also had substantial foreign
investment, especially in the manufacturing industries, and is a major
exporter of several commodities, including oil and coal. Malaysia,
consequently, is one of the most attractive areas of investment in the
Southeast Asian region because of its economic structure and comparative
political stability.

Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar, in 1987, was given the status of 'Least Developed Nation' by the
United Nations, and is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. This
status is only exacerbated by the Myanmar government, since it has refused to
allow foreign investment.. The formidable black market economy and the
Golden Triangle opium drug trade prop up the legal economy, and ultimately
prevent utter collapse of the country's economy. Myanmar is run by the
military and as a result there is virtually no political freedom for its citizens.
In 1990, democratic elections were held, but when the military party lost badly
to Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, they forcefully
retained power, placing Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for six years.
The Myanmar government has also engaged a policy of expunging non -
Burmese people, creating tensions between Myanmar and its border nations.
Amnesty International has been deeply concerned with human rights
violations in Myanmar, and has recently noted that the repression in the
country has amplified to its worst state since the crackdown following the
1990 elections.


The Philippines is the only member of ASEAN that has not enjoyed the
unprecedented economic growth that the other nations have. In fact, for the
last two decades, its economy has stagnated, mostly because of the corrupt
leadership of Ferdinand Marcos and the inability of the Cory Aquinos to
change the political and economic structures. However, the election of Fidel
Ramos in 1992 has brought about major changes both politically and
economically. In the last four years, economic growth in the Philippines has
reached comparable levels to other ASEAN countries, and is attracting more
foreign investment. The main issues the Filipinos face are mostly civil unrest
from the predominantly Muslim population that comprises the Moro
Nationalist Liberation Front (MNLF). This group seeks an independent
Muslim state and political freedom. An additional matter that raises concern
is the removal of the American military presence in the Philippines, once
critical to United States Cold War containment strategy in the Pacific. While
the Philippines is stable now, security issues and demands for independence
could significantly fragment the country.


Singapore, even though only a city-state and one of the smallest countries in
Southeast Asia, has the most successful economy with perhaps the exception
of Brunei. Thus, Singapore is an integral part of the Southeast Asian
economic miracle. While Singapore encourages foreign investment and
multinational corporations, the government is extremely paternalistic and
authoritarian. The State controls large segments of the economy and many
aspects of people's lives, including censorship of local media and the
prohibition of foreign media that contribute to moral pollution. Goh Chok

Tong has been the prime minister of Singapore since 1990. He has worked to
perpetuate economic growth while emphasizing individual ability and
achievement, as well as creating a Singaporean identity. As Singapore is
comprised of mostly Chinese with a few Indian and Malay minority groups,
creating a Singaporean identity that is not simply a Chinese identity has been
difficult, but successful. Singapore is a nation that needs to be recognized as a
driving force behind the Asian economy, especially after the return of Hong
Kong to China in July of 1997. It has also been predicted that Singapore will
become one of the three or four most prosperous, driven nations in the world
by the turn of the century.


A 'managed democracy' best describes Thailand's political structure. The
parliament is usually elected by the people, and the prime minister, who is
currently Chuan Leekpai is appointed by the parliament. Thailand also has a
king and a military with substantial influence, especially in the parliament. In
the last few years, power at the top has changed hands several times, due to a
1992 massacre of student protesters. However, Thai politics are for the most
part, very stable. Thailand also has one of the strongest economies of
Southeast Asia, and has recently achieved near NIC (Newly Industrialized
Country) status, reaching growth levels of over 10 percent per year in the
1980s. Foreign investment favors Thailand because of its political and
economic stability, and the agricultural, oil and gas, and manufacturing
industries are also expanding. Despite this auspicious economic growth,
Thailand has its share of problems. Among those include: environmental
degradation, a huge number of heroin addicts, over 2 million people that are
HIV positive, an overburdened infrastructure in Bangkok, extreme disparities
of wealth, an educated and affluent middle class that are increasingly
discontented, overpopulation, and a trend that is moving Thai society away
from traditional cultural values, including Buddhism.


Since 1976, Vietnam has been under the control of the Vietnamese
communist party. The political structure has transformed into a socialist
system, under the direction of one party and a more free economy. Vietnam
is one of the poorer countries of Southeast Asia, but has opened the doors to
foreign investment and an open market structure. Its current economic
structure is based on the agricultural industry and what little foreign
investment has been made. The United States finally lifted its economic
embargo in 1994 and established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in July of
1995, meaning that Americans are free to invest in Vietnam now. Relations
with China have been incredibly strained in the past due to the mistreatment
of the Chinese in Vietnam and the 1979 invasion by the Chinese in the
northern part of Vietnam, but relations have been improving in the 1990s,

with the collapse of the Soviet Union (China no longer perceives Vietnam as
a Russian ally) and efforts from both camps to improve trade and political
relations. Vietnam's strained relations with Cambodia leaves the distinct
possibility for border conflict and military escalation, especially given the
superiority of Vietnam's military.

Section Two: Discussion of Resolutions

Democracy in Southeast Asia

Because of the rising economic importance of the nations of Southeast Asia
and in light of recent human rights violations, there has been a proliferation
of literature on democracy in this region. Dr. Robert Pinkey, at the University
of Northumbria, describes the timeliness of the discussion of democracy in
Southeast Asia in his book, Democracy in the Third World.1 He notes that
the majority of the world's governments have become democratic in nature,
with the exceptions of Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Laos, among
others. Furthermore, of the nations that do practice some form of democratic
election, such as the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and
Singapore, three of these five nations are only semidemocratic, and the other
two are unstable democracies at best.2 This means that all of the Southeast
Asian nations could become more democratic in nature, making Southeast
Asia one of the few regions in the world that has not participated in the trend
toward democracy. Recent political events, such as the expulsion of Megawati
Sukarnoputri from her political party in Indonesia, the release of Aung San
Suu Kyi from house arrest in Burma, and the awarding of the Nobel Peace
Prize to Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta in East Timor, also
illustrate how germane the discussion of democracy is for the region and the
The literature on democracy is substantial. Much of the literature published
by the United States federal government, especially government documents,
is supportive of the pursuit of democracy. For example, Margaret Carpenter,
the assistant administrator of USAID, explains the importance of democracy
in Southeast Asia: the "...failure to consolidate democratic gains in the region
could jeopardize economic and social gains."3 Tim Wirth also notes that,
"The promotion of democracy and development of market economies are top
priorities. A key component of our effort is to assist countries undergoing
democratic transitions, with a focus on developing the rule of law; rule of law
helps to provide the environment necessary for democratic change for the
protection of human rights and for economic growth."4 These documents
illustrate the importance of democracy for stability and show how economic
growth and human rights may be improved by more democratic political
structures. Diamond, Linz, and Lipset also have several books that concern
democracy in Asia, and specifically in Southeast Asia. These books describe

the importance of democracy, but carry the discussion one step further and
explain how it might be possible to achieve democratic systems of
government in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua
New Guinea.5
While much of the literature supports the development of fledging
democracies in Southeast Asia, there is also literature that would give
negatives substantial ground. Muthiah Alagappa's book entitled Political
Legitimacy in Southeast Asia6 provides an excellent analysis of the political
structures of Southeast Asian governments and also critiques democracy as a
form of government in this region. Other authors argue that participatory
democracy actually destabilizes political structures by increasing tensions and
ethnic conflicts. These publications are cited in the reference list. The
literature concerning democracy in Southeast Asia provides both good
affirmative and negative ground. Additionally, the region is of timely
concern. Consequently, we feel that the pursuit of democracy in Southeast
Asia makes an excellent subtopic area, and has led us to compose the
following resolutions. These resolutions were comprised after an extensive
research effort, and are thus grounded in the literature.

  1. Resolved: that the United States should substantially augment its role in the development and maintenance of legitimate democracies in Southeast Aisa.
  1. Resolved: that the United States should substantially augment its role in the development and maintenance of legitimate democratic systems of government in Southeast Asia.
  1. Resolved: that the United States should develop and maintain legitimate democratic political structures in Southeast Asia through trade and/or aid policies.

These resolutions all include the United States as an actor. However, there
are two other actors that should be discussed. The United Nations as an actor
is mentioned extensively in the literature and its effectiveness is just as
debatable as the US' effectiveness. The literature that discusses the UN and
the US would provide equal ground for both affirmatives and negatives. A
second possible actor is ASEAN. Through the ASEAN Regional Forum,
ASEAN may be able to encourage more democratic forms of government.
However, ASEAN as an actor would skew ground towards the negative, as
there is very little solvency evidence to support ASEAN's effectiveness in
this area. In fact, there is more literature that indicates that ASEAN would
not or could not take steps to improve the democratic nature of governments
in Southeast Asia. We now will offer definitions of some of the key terms in
the above resolutions.
Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (1994) defines augment as
"to make larger; enlarge in size or extent; increase. This definition would

imply that the actor would have to increase its involvement and interest in
Southeast Asia. Webster's defines develop as "to bring out the capabilities or
possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state; to cause to grow or
expand; to elaborate or expand in detail." Maintain is defined as "to keep in
existence or continuance; preserve; retain. Development and maintenance
have similar connotations. These words were chosen for two reasons: first,
these terms were used in the literature. Secondly, because the many of the
nations of Southeast Asia are not democratic and the development of
democratic political structures needs to occur. "Maintenance" and "maintain"
were included to imply that affirmatives should not simply set up democratic
governments and then be finished with the project, but perpetuate these
democracies. Additionally, "maintain/maintenance" would allow
affirmatives to support already existing democracies that are unstable, such as
in Cambodia. The term "legitimate" was included because the literature on
democracy frequently indicates that a non-legitimate government would
ultimately fail. Alagappa refers to "legitimate" in relation to power:
"Legitimation of power is an interactive and therefore dynamic process
among the government, the elite groups, and the politically significant public:
those in power seek to legitimate their control and exercise of that power; the
subjects seek to define their subordination in acceptable terms."7
The term democracy has many different connotations. Diamond et al. define
democracy as the political system in which the following criteria are met:
"meaningful and extensive competition among individuals and organized
groups (especially political parties) for all effective positions of government
power, at regular intervals and excluding the use of force; a highly inclusive
level of political participation in the selection of leaders and policies, at least
through regular and fair elections, such that no major (adult) social group is
excluded; and level of civil and political liberties --freedom of expression,
freedom of the press, freedom to form and join organizations--sufficient to
ensure the integrity of political competition and participation."8

Other authors define democracy to include a free market system or the
pursuit of individual rights. Pinkney describes some of the differences in
definitions. He notes that definitions include preservation of social and
economic rights, the intertwinement of social, political and economic forces,
and the elimination of exploitation of the masses.9 Because of the wide array
of definitions of democracy, the second and third resolutions limit
affirmatives to the democratic political structures and democratic systems of
government. These two resolutions attempt to even the ground between the
affirmative and negative, while the first resolution is probably skewed
towards the affirmative. Finally, in the third resolution, affirmatives are
further limited by trade and/or aid policies. This would restrict affirmatives
from military intervention, which was debated in CEDA during the Spring
1994 semester, avoiding overlapping topics. Furthermore, the literature we
have reviewed seems to support the use of aid policies and rarely discusses
military intervention by the United States, but this does not exclude negative

counterplan ground. The framers of the final resolutions could also choose to
pick one or the other, so that affirmatives would be limited to solely trade
policies or aid policies.
The definition of the resolutions now leads us to discussion of possible
affirmatives. As none of the Southeast Asian nations are totally legitimate
and secure democracies, affirmatives could choose any action towards any of
these countries. More effective, persuasive affirmatives would probably focus
on Mynamar (Burma), Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines,
as most of the literature refers to these nations. Besides the Diamond et al.
and Pinkney books, other books that focus on democracy in these nations are
Politics in Indonesia: Democracy, Islam and the Ideology of Tolerance by
Douglas E. Ramage, Communitarian Ideology and Democracy in Singapore by
Beng-Huat Chua, A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia in the 1990s by Adam
Schwarz, and Democracy in Indonesia edited by David Bourchier and John
Legge. Full sources are included in the reference list. This literature discusses
the possibility of democracy in Southeast Asia, providing both affirmative
and negative ground and offers some mechanisms for achieving democracy,
but provides no real steps by the United States. Steps the United States could
take offered in other literature10 include: stopping arms sales to Indonesia,
assisting in democratic elections in Cambodia, increasing trade relations and
promoting free market ideology in Vietnam, providing military assistance to
the Philippines, increasing trade sanctions against Myanmar, decreasing
governmental corruption, increase overseas police training, and ending
logging, drug, and gems trade between Thailand and Khmer Rouge controlled
areas. This is by no means a complete list of potential plan possibilities.

Human Rights in Southeast Asia

The 1993 Vienna Declaration at the UN World Conference on Human Rights
declares that "all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent,
and interrelated", and "the promotion and protection of all human rights is a
legitimate concern of the international community. Additionally, Amnesty
International contends that this declaration on human rights is not the West
telling Asia what to do. The demand for human rights comes from the people
of Asia themselves. Governments should listen to what the people in the
region are asking for."11 However, despite the United Nations' and the
United States call for universal human rights, Asian nations, and especially
Southeast Asian nations have poor human rights records, many
governments claiming that harmony and peace are more important than
individual human rights. Representative Lantos, the co-chairperson and
founder of the Congressional Human Rights caucus and member of the
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, rejects this
approach as a cover for authoritarian regimes to maintain power and
contends that human rights are universal.12 While there is debate
concerning the allowance and justification of human rights abuses, especially
when weighed against state sovereignty,13 humans invariably suffer,

whether human rights are universal or not. Consequently, an examination of
human rights abuse and what can be done to eradicate such violations is
This examination of human rights is especially relevant in Southeast Asia.
Human rights violations, as defined by the United States and the United
Nations occur in every single country in Southeast Asia. Additionally, with
the prevalence of authoritarian regimes, open outspokenness by human
rights activists is not appreciated by Southeast Asian governments. The
literature on human rights is abundant. The literature we have examined is
mostly from current periodicals and journals, as well as some of the literature
discussed above on democracy which is also germane to human rights issues.
Initially, Josef Silverstein, professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers
University describes the possibility of change in Myanmar.14 Myanmar has
continued to violate human rights, especially towards Aung San Suu Kyi, the
1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner. While the international community has been
morally affronted with these blatant human rights abuses, little has been
done to rectify the situation. Indonesia is another nation that has received
international attention for its appalling human rights record. In October 1996,
the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and Jose
Ramos-Horta, who have worked to gain Timorese independence from
Indonesia. Additionally, Megawati Sukarnoputri was ousted from her
leadership position of the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI)
during the summer of 1996. These very recent events are just a few that
illustrate Indonesia's poor human rights record.15 Another issue that should
be addressed is women's rights in Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, it is reported
that women are occasionally forced into abortions, as women are in China.16
Additionally, women are still subjugated throughout Southeast Asia,
although they have made some advancements in Singapore and Malaysia.
Susan Blackburn, professor at Monash University contends that Indonesian
women, while currently oppressed by the Indonesian patriarchy, may be able
to achieve more with democratic systems of government.17
The issue of human rights is both relevant and topical to discussion of
Southeast Asia; therefore, we offer the following resolutions.

  1. Resolved: that the United States should substantially strengthen its human rights policy towards Southeast Asia.
  1. Resolved: that the United Nations should substantially increase non - military participation to protect human rights in Southeast Asia.
  1. Resolved: that the United States should substantially increase humanitarian intervention to abate human rights violations in Southeast Asia.

Here again, as with the democracy topic, other actors can be used. However,
the literature pertaining to human rights justifies the use of alternate actors.

The United Nations is a feasible actor on human rights issues, with good
solvency evidence available. Human rights policy is a term found in the
government document articles, and therefore, resolution using the term
human rights policy should be restricted to the United States as an actor.
Our definitions of human rights issues begins with John Shattuck, Assistant
Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, who defines the
underlying goals of human rights policy in the following way:
There are "two fundamental principles underlying our human rights policies
in Asia. First, in promotion human rights, we are promoting standards
reflected in international obligations subscribed to by many governments
including Asian governments, as well as others and certainly not standards
that are formulated in the West, or that are at odds with Asian cultures, as
has been asserted by some authoritarian regimes. Second, promoting human
rights and democracy is in the interest of the United States. Our shared
economic and security interests in Asia are best served in the long run by a
political and social order that respects the rule of law, where freedom of
speech is a safety valve, and where government is accountable to its citizens. .
. Bilateral diplomacy is the foundation of our human rights policy."18

Human rights are defined by the 1993 Vienna Declaration, as mentioned
above, and also by the United Nations Charter. The freedoms in the charter
include: "religion, opinion, speech, assembly, freedom to form associations,
freedom from wrongful interference and wrongful detention, the right to fair
trial, to education, to own property, to work, to food and housing, social
security, to participate in the government of the state and 'the right to
protection against arbitrary discrimination in the provisions and application
of the law because of race, religion, sex, or any other reason.'"19 The final
definition, humanitarian intervention, is clarified as "the use of armed force
by a state (or states) to protect citizens of the target state from large-scale
human rights violations there"20 and/or the threat or use of armed force by a
state, a belligerent country, or an international organization, with the object
of protecting human rights.21
The final terms in need of clarification are non-military participation. These
terms were chosen for the second resolution because much of the literature
refers to the practice of engaging offending nations in a dialogue, perhaps in
ARF, such as the ARF efforts with Myanmar in the early fall of 1996. Dialogue
would involve participation by several parties, and would not use military
intervention. However, the terms non-military participation do not occur in
the literature reviewed and were chosen for lack of better terms.
These resolutions are limited in some respects, but there is also not
necessarily a mandate for what type of involvement affirmatives would have
to be engaged in to be topical. These resolutions could be further limited by
the topic committee if so desired, by specifying that affirmatives use trade,
assistance, and/or development policies. These specifications would
ultimately give negatives more ground.

With these resolutions in mind, possible affirmative cases are presented
below. Due to the lack of clear, concise definitions of human rights and
violations in both US and UN policy, an affirmative could simply clearly
define and set standards for protecting those rights. Another general
affirmative might set a policy to delink Most Favored Nation Status from
human rights abuse or vice versa. The current policy is ambiguous, and
sometimes MFN and human rights are delinked, while other times they are
not. Participation through dialogue forums, as mentioned above, also offers
another potential solution. Affirmatives towards specific countries would
also be warranted. These might include protecting the human rights of: Aung
San Suu Kyi and her supporters in Myanmar, the East Timorese in Indonesia,
the Orang Asli in Malaysia, the boat people and the Mong Tribe in Vietnam,
Megawati Sukarnoputri in Indonesia, the hill tribes of northern Thailand, the
Muslim minority in the southern Philippines, and the Irian Jayans in
Indonesia. The United States could also grant Most Favored Nation status to
Cambodia, in order to aid its development status. The US could also deny
MFN status from countries that violate human rights. Affirmatives could
choose to foster the education or growth of children. Finally, a last important
affirmative could support women's rights through various mechanisms. As
the literature on democracy indicates, achieving democratic systems of
government could promote the human rights of people, thus these two topic
areas could be intertwined into one resolution if desired.

Security Strategy in Southeast Asia

The machinery of the United States strategic structure is still in limbo
following the end of the Cold War. The demise of the Soviet military specter,
particularly in the Southeast Asian region of the world has given way to a
number of new security dilemmas. The rise of hegemonic China as a military
power, along with tensions over sovereignty and recognition have forced the
United States to reconsider the strategic importance of Southeast Asia.
Professor Fredrick Brown, of the School of Advanced International Studies at
Johns Hopkins writes, "A guiding principle for American policy in the
twentieth century has been to prevent any single power from dominating
Asia's landmass or the water of the Pacific." Unfortunately, as Professor
Brown further notes in his article for Current History, the legacy of failure in
Vietnam has haunted America's drive for a consistent Southeast Asian
foreign policy.22 This legacy in concert with the evaporating stability of
regional security alliances, loss of a common enemy in the former Soviet
Union, and domestic economic constraints make the time ripe for a
recalculation of United States security policy for and in Southeast Asia.
The overriding concern for United States' security planners is to maintain the
ability to fight two major regional conflicts anywhere in the world at a given
time. Since United States interests are so widely spread throughout the world,
it will be critical for debaters to focus on the direction and application of East
Asian security policy in relation to these overall strategy goals. The

Department of Defense expands and defines the term of art, "United States
strategy," in its United States Security Strategy for the East Asia Pacific Region
as follows:
1) strengthening U.S. bilateral alliances while increasing multilateral security
dialogues, 2) maintain forward deployment and basing rights, 3) achieve
security policies that have the support of the American people and Congress,
4) promote military to military contacts and increase security assistance, 5)
decrease the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and 6) share
responsibility for increasing regional and global security. These goals are
consistent with the Clinton Administration's ideology of "engagement and
enlargement," and perpetuate the containment of China. While some
consistency is evident, the best justification for evolving security policy in
Southeast Asia comes from Gerald Segal, Senior Fellow at the International
Institute for Strategic Studies, who writes, "American policy towards China
and East Asia has been and still is incoherent. The long term indicators are
not anything much better. Of course the United States cannot be expected to
'hold the ring' in East Asia unless the states of the region want and help it do
Michael Yahuda in his book, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific:
1945-1995, notes the ongoing evolutionary nature of Southeast Asia, starting
with the conclusion of World War II through the present; "...the majority of
what might be called these new states were not secure initially in their social
and political orders and indeed some are still insecure or have acquired new
sources of instability".24 A topic to address Southeast Asian security would
therefore not only require debaters to research necessary policy changes in
Washington, but also to examine the internal and regional implications of
such action.
Initially, we considered the possibility of drawing a resolution to promote
action from a regional actor, such as ASEAN or the newly formed ARF, to
increase security assistance without another major actor being involved.
After much discussion and review of the literature, two things became
apparent: first, it is difficult to find qualified research that ASEAN is capable
of engaging the whole region in security policies without involvement of the
United States; second, given the nature and date of topic release it seemed
difficult to justify understanding the complex interworkings of another
organization as the main topic actor. ASEAN, ARF and other potential
regional organizations are still possible recipients for security assistance, and
certainly provide ample negative ground for counterplans and disadvantages.
The nature of political and economic stability in Southeast Asia and the
implication of these issues on security assistance justify a topic that is couched
in multi-polar rhetoric. Indeed, any attempt to limit the topic to a bipolar
perspective between the United States and one of the countries in Southeast
Asia not only decreases the educational value of researching the region, but
also skews affirmative and negative ground.
Given these restraints we offer the following sample resolutions for the
community's appraisal:

  1. Resolved: the United States government should substantially increase its multilateral strategic treaties with one or more of the nations of Southeast Asia.
  1. Resolved: the United States government should provide confidence building measures to Southeast Asia.
  1. Resolved: the United States government should substantially alter its defense cooperation strategy to and for Southeast Asia.

When evaluating the strength of a Southeast Asian security strategy topic
consider the depth and breadth of possible affirmatives. The first type of
affirmative could alter United States policy to compensate for the power
vacuum in the region after the Cold War. Such an affirmative would re -
establish United States power projection in the region with strategic
deployments or a new forward operating base. The crux of such an
affirmative would be to avert power struggles between China and the
regional actors, Japan and China, Japan and the regional actors, or violent
interaction between the regional actors themselves. As noted in the United
States Security Strategy, "If the United States does not provide the central,
visible, stabilizing force in the Asia and Pacific region, it is quite possible that
another nation might - but not necessarily in a way that meets America's
fundamental interests and those of our friends and allies."25
The second type of affirmative would encompass a strategy shift to evolve
policy past the obstacles of bipolarity. While potentially more open an
approach to the resolution, the shift to multi-polarity would have to engage
specific mechanisms on the part of the United States to evolve this strategy.
An affirmative using this approach would entice the region with security
assistance or perhaps mutual security treaties. The current regional approach
towards multilateral politics is limited to ASEAN discussions, but rarely do
the conceptual ideas from ASEAN emerge as standard strategic policy.
The next type of affirmative would involve the increase of military to
military contacts between the United States and the topic nations.
Traditionally these contacts cover the spectrum from cross training between
forces to joint military exercises. In recent years, as is the case in the Middle
East, the United States has used these military to military conflicts to provide
equipment or the training necessary to duplicate equipment by indigenous
forces. The government considers these issues part of the strategy, "Military
engagement in the [Southeast Asian] region is also a function of other forms
of defense cooperation: personnel exchanges, intelligence sharing, senior -
level visits, conferences, bilateral policy dialogues, International Military
Education Training, pre-positioning, joint exercises, and military to military
A strategy-military topic brings the inevitable discussion of affirmatives that
provide countries with offensive military equipment and weapons. The NDT
community feared such affirmatives would evolve into, "weapon system of

the week," cases which would require tireless work by negative teams to
prepare. However as was the case with the Middle East security assistance
topic, very few experts advocate en masse delivery of weapons to the
countries in the region. The same is true of the countries we have defined as
Southeast Asia, especially given that we have limited military exchange with
those countries currently. Potential affirmatives would be limited by the lack
of evidence that advocates these deals, the effect these deals would have on
the stability of region and the impact that weapons trading would have on
international balances of power.
Confidence building measures are part of the new era in policymaking from
the Department of Defense's perspective, to this end an affirmative could
potentially to extend these CBMs to particular countries or the region as a
whole. The crux of a CBMs affirmative would either offer tangible safeguards
like telephone hotlines and satellite imagery or could provide a safe
environment to conduct emergency meetings. Finally, a confidence building
affirmative could provide relevant assistance to generate interest in meeting
and having open discourse between nations and their respective political and
military leaders.
A final comment from the United States Security Strategy guide justifies the
necessity of offering a new approach for dealing with Southeast Asia: "A
continuing United States security presence is viewed by almost every country
in the region as a stabilizing force. Allies of the United States can base their
defense planning on a reliable American security guarantee. But even beyond
the nations whom the United States has a treaty alliance, the stability brought
about by United States military presence provides a sound foundation for
economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region benefiting Asians and Americans

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