The Foreign Service Journal, May 2018

54 MAY 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL such as the Philippines failed to provide or sufficiently promote contraceptives to limit family size, and so tens of millions of young men found themselves without land or jobs. Ethnic rival- ries could be kept from erupting by authoritarian regimes. Burma has long used fear of restive separatist minorities to rally support for the most violent military repression. Karen, Kachin, Shan and other hill tribe fighters who made it through malarial jungles to the Thai border told us of rape, murder, The failure of the 2010-2011 Arab Spring gave yet another boost to hardliners in Southeast Asia. burning villages, forcible recruitment as porters and other terror by Burma’s army. When peace talks seemed to bear fruit, the fighting would reignite, possibly to gain support from the ethnic Burman people who are the core of the county. “Southeast Asia is and always has been well on its way to being a democratic abyss,” Dan Slater of the University of Michi- gan wrote recently in the East Asia Forum. The Trans-Pacific Partnership was to have linked together the U.S. economy with allies including Southeast Asia. But President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord, and it now languishes as China expands. A year after Trump’s inauguration, no one has been confirmed as assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs. The ASEAN countries want trade with China but also want U.S. engagement in the region’s markets and diplomacy “as a hedge in case China gets rough,’’ says Hiebert. It seems that the post-VietnamWar period, now receding in the rear-view mirror, was a booming time of openness, which may not survive the belated fall of the new dominoes. n