THE ARC OF CRISIS by Claude A. Buss


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The chief virtue of this book is that it takes a hard look at why America is unpopular in Asia. Although the author does not discount the bad effects of local American behaviour -- whether of businessmen, missionaries, tourists, soldiers, or diplomats -- he thinks the major reasons are to be found in American foreign policy. For too long we were unwilling to risk offending France or the Netherlands by taking a forthright stand for Asian nationalism -- a nationalism which is not our enemy, but our strongest ally against Communist infiltration. Moreover, in our own relations with the Philippines both before and after their independence in 1946, our economic imperialism stirred resentment even in this singularly friendly country. The author is glad we are coming to realize that neutralism in Asia is a healthy and natural development, and he criticizes our long-standing habit of supporting rightest cliques and sychophantic pro-Americans in our sphere of influence, as in Korea, Thailand, and South Vietnam. Asians, he argues, know much more about American aid than the ordinary American; one of the things he knows is that much American aid goes from one American pocket book to another in that the aid consists chiefly of American-made goods. The Asian resents our expectation of his gratitude, for he rightly feels that we are acting not from altruism but from self-interest. The book is full of useful information of Asian political realities not normally encountered in American newspapers.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1961
Publisher: Doubleday