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Department of History, National University of Singapore

Decolonisation, Modernisation and Nation-Building: Political Development Theory and the Appeal
of Communism in Southeast Asia, 1945-1975
Author(s): Mark T. Berger
Source: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Oct., 2003), pp. 421-448
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of Department of History, National
University of Singapore
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421

Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 34 (3), pp 421-448 October 2003. Printed


? 2003 The National University of Singapore
DOI: S0022463403000419

Decolonisation,

Modernisation

in the United Kingdom.

and Nation-Building:

Political Development Theory and the Appeal of


Communism inSoutheast Asia, 1945-1975
Mark T. Berger

theory and political development


theory played a key role in the
the
formalisation
study of Southeast Asia, while the dramatic transitions from
of
colonies to nation-states
in the region and the deepening war in Vietnam were also
to
the rise and transformation
pivotal
of modernisation
theory. This article pro
vides a critical historical overview of the rise and elaboration of theories of political
between 1945 and 1975.
development and nation-building

Modernisation

Introduction:

of Western
dominance
and ideologies
of modernisation
ideologies
of
Western
Adas, in his important
dominance',
ques
study of'ideologies
tions the idea that the influential theories of modernisation
that emerged during the late
colonial and early Cold War periods were 'primarily' new concepts created to 'counter
Michael

in the 'underdeveloped
the appeal of Communism'
world'.
In his view, although
the
theories of modernisation
of the Cold War era were 'recast in development
jargon', they
were grounded
in ideas which were 'deeply rooted' in the 'historical experience' ofWest
ern Europe and North America.1 Michael E. Latham's innovative examination
of'ideolo
of
that, contrary to the arguments
gies of modernisation'
parallels Adas and concludes
their advocates,
those theories that emerged
in the 1950s and early 1960s 'were neither
nor completely
new political
decisive
intellectual breakthroughs
initiatives'. He argues
that while
the basic assumptions
of these emergent
were
theories of modernisation
in
the
culture
War
of
Cold
North
modernisation
theorists
America,
clearly grounded
also 'reframed' earlier 'imperial ideals' in order to tell US citizens
'who they were'
and to clarify what the projection
of US 'power could achieve'. As with earlier 'imperial
modernisation
between
'backward' and
says Latham,
ideology',
theory distinguished
'advanced' regions, at the same time as it represented
the United States as the 'summit of
with a 'mission to transform a world eager to learn the lessons
modernity'
only America
could teach'.2
These are sophisticated
and insightful analyses; however, both scholars - particu
the post-1945
larly Adas
place too much emphasis on the relative continuity between
Mark

T. Berger
is Senior Lecturer
in International
Studies
in the School of Modern
at the
Studies
Language
of New
South Wales.
His e-mail address
ismt.berger@unsw.edu.au
as the measure
men: Science,
and ideologies of Western
Adas, Machines
dominance
of
technology,
Press,
(Ithaca: Cornell University
1989), pp. 403, 413.
2 Michael
E. Latham, Modernization
as
social science and
'nation building'
in the
ideology: American
era
of North
Carolina
Press, 2000), pp. 14-15, 58-9, 68.
Kennedy
(Chapel Hill: University

University
1 Michael

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422

MARK

T. BERGER

theories
mission

and economic
of political
the US modernising
that informed
development
in the Cold War era on the one hand, and the various ideas about progress and
in the nineteenth
the civilising mission
that animated
and early twen
imperial expansion
tieth centuries on the other. Their approaches neglect important aspects of the changed

era and the significance of these changes for the theories


of the post-1945
in the 1950s. In particular,
that emerged
there is a need to build on
character of decolonisation
their analyses while giving more weight to the transformative
and the Cold War. A key shift in the period in question was not just the growing signifi
cance of the idea of development
it was consolidated
and
per se, but the way in which
circumstances

of modernisation

as specifically national development


in the context of the establishment
of the
naturalised
in
of the nation-state
and the universalisation
Africa
and
United Nations
Asia,
system
- or
Oceania. This period witnessed
the construction
of nation-states
reconstruction
the framework
of an increasingly
and national
identities within
global nation-state
the
former
colonies.
this
also involved the
that
system
rapidly incorporated
Importantly,
as
nation-states
Great
such
of
simultaneous
Britain, France,
imperial
reconfiguration
and Belgium
(aswell as Japan and the United States) into nation-states
Portugal, Holland
shorn of most

if not all of their formal

colonial

possessions

and,

in some cases, of their

imperial pride.
Decolonisation,
the crucial backdrop

of the nation-state
and the Cold War provided
the universalisation
of modernisation
for the rise and elaboration
theory and closely
that were centred on direct
of political development
and nation-building

related theories
or indirect US involvement

in the formation

and consolidation

of stable anti-communist

became the central and unques


systems. After 1945 the nation-state
political
theorists and the natural object of a burgeoning
tioned unit of study for modernisation
in state-mediated
and nation-building.3
national
number
of exercises
development
of
exercised a pro
At the same time, modernisation
and
theories
nation-building
theory
of area studies
found influence on, and were bound up with, the rise and transformation
The
narratives
Asian Studies
and
Asian
Studies
dominant
within
specifically.4
generally
the need for the various nation-states
of
the 1940s and the 1970s emphasised
between
form of capitalist modernity.
towards a relatively universal
Asia to develop gradually
national

Modernisation

theorists

implicitly acknowledged
work generally
treated

sometimes

conceived

of the new nations

that they were historically


as natural
these countries

in ways that at least


constructed
and contingent,
but their
units that would - or at least ought

era is defined
here as primarily
US- or Soviet-sponsored
in the Cold War
efforts, with
Nation-building
in the Congo
involvement
from 1960-4. The Opera
Nations
relative exceptions
such as United
important
was
au
which
had
action
since the Korean War,
the biggest UN
Unies
tion des Nations
(ONUC)
Congo
in practise.
American
the fact that itwas an overwhelming
initiative
been a UN
operation
despite
formally
to play a more
War
the UN again began
itwas not until the post-Cold
era, when
Furthermore,
significant
on the scale of its operation
in the Congo
in the
that it intervened
role in nation-building
efforts,
War
von Hippel,
world
in
US
intervention
the
Karin
1960s;
Democracy
military
post-Cold
by force:
early
Press, 2000).
University
Cambridge
(Cambridge:
enter
see Robert A.
on area studies,
studies and academic
4
International
For background
McCaughey,
in the enclosure
Press,
1984);
(New York: Columbia
University
learning
of American
prise: A chapter
area studies',
in The Cold War and the
of Cold War
'The unintended
Immanuel Wallerstein,
consequences
3

an intellectual
Schiffrin
(New York: New
years, ed. Andr?
history of the postwar
Area
and international
studies
Bruce Cumings,
195-231;
displacement:
'Boundary
in Universities
and politics
in the social sciences
and empire: Money
after the Cold War',
during
ed. Christopher
the Cold War,
1998), pp. 159-88.
(New York: New Press,
Simpson
university:
1997),

Toward

pp.
and

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Press,
studies
during

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

AND

423

NATION-BUILDING

to - evolve along a single path (or at best a limited number of paths) towards modernity.
the use of political models
and lessons with little or no regard for questions
Meanwhile,
to the
of time and place further undermined
modernisation
theory's
relationship
or
new
of
and
the
consolidation
of
formation,
temporal
spatial specificity
collapse
in this period. While
nation-states
the theory played a key role in the consolidation
and
as national development
routinisation
of the idea of political and economic development
a particularly
after 1945, Southeast Asia occupied
in the study of
important position
modernisation
in
North
American
scientists
the
1950s
and
1960s.5
by
political
The concern with nation-building
at the centre of
and national
development
was
a
to
modernisation
to
number
of
linked
the period from
trends
major
theory
specific
the 1940s to the 1970s. To begin with,
the idea of national development
after 1945
involved the representation
and promotion
of Western
and
North
American
European
measures
of political, social and economic progress as increasingly universal and national
solutions.

Although many of these particular approaches had their origins in the nine
a number
teenth and early twentieth
of them were only consolidated
in
centuries,
Western
and
North
with
of
Latin America, Central Europe
America,
Europe
parts
along
and Japan, in the 1930s or even the 1940s.6 After 1945 these formulations
increasingly
on the national
involved a universal
and national
economy
emphasis,
theoretically,
as well as agrarian reform and agro-industrialisation,
and a privileging
industrialisation,
or state in the management
of the role of the national government
of economic develop
- a
ment.
In awider sense, national development
involved
increasingly
again in theory
on education,
'social democratic'
health care and other public
institutions
emphasis
5
and

Southeast

Asia

south

of China

Singapore,
However,

as that part of Asia


is now widely
understood
the contemporary
nation-states
of Burma,
the Philippines,
Cambodia,
Laos, Vietnam
and, most

(or South-East
Asia)
and encompasses

Indonesia,
Brunei,
the concerted
treatment

that

lies east of India

Thailand,

Malaysia,
East Timor.
recently,
economic
and geo
political,
traced back to the nineteenth

Asia as a distinct
historical,
usage of the term can be
origin. While
it only gained
colonial
and nationalist
leaders
scholars,
officials,
currency
century,
amongst
policy-makers
in the 1930s and early 1940s. For example,
'Southeast
Asia' was used by the end of the 1930s in various
and documents
of Pacific Relations,
founded
in Honolulu
in 1925 to promote
reports
by the Institute
in the Pacific.
Between
1943-6
the theatre
of war under
the overall
of Lord
direction
understanding
was
as the 'South-East
Mountbatten
identified
Asia Command';
the territory
covered
however,
by this
were
the boundaries
of which
in the waning
included
the
command,
expanded
days of the war, never
or all of French
era the French
in the early post-1945
Indochina.
Meanwhile,
Philippines
government
a 'Southeast
on its colonies
to promote
Asia Union'
centred
in the region as part of its effort to
sought
retain
its possessions
and its influence.
was
This was countered
Asian
which
by the 'Southeast
League',
in 1947 by the Lao Prince
Red Prince),
who became
its first General
(the so-called
set-up
Souphanouvong
graphical

unit

is of relatively

recent

of Southeast

In its relatively
Secretary.
tion to colonialism.
The

short existence
to mobilise
the Southeast
Asian League
sought
opposi
regional
formation
of the South-East
Asian Treaty Organization
in
subsequent
(SEATO)
1954 and the Association
Asian Nations
of Southeast
in 1967, and the growing
of the
(ASEAN)
currency
term during
the Vietnam
War
were
and the Cold War more
generally,
complemented
by the proliferation
on the
of area specialists
and courses
and colleges
inside and outside
of Southeast
region at universities
Asia. See Russell H. Fifield,
'The concept
of Southeast
Asia: Origins,
and evaluation',
South
development
East Asian
'Southeast Asia?what's
in a name?',
4, 1 (1975): 42-51; Donald
Emmerson,
Journal
Spectrum,
see
Asian
1-21. Also
C. Gunn,
colonialists
and
15, 1 (1984):
Studies,
Theravadins,
of Southeast
Geoffrey
in Laos (Bangkok: White
commissars
Lotus,
1998).
6

Frederick

and Randall
Packard
the importance
of the late colonial
context,
Cooper
emphasise
arguing
of the idea and practice
of development
that rose to dominance
after the Second
'specific origins'
are to be found
World War
in the 'crisis of colonial
in the 1930s; Frederick
and Randall
empires'
Cooper
in International
and the social sciences: Essays
on the history and
Packard,
'Introduction',
development
ed. Frederick
and Randall
Packard
of California
Press,
politics
Cooper
of knowledge,
(Berkeley: University
10.
1997), pp. 6-7, 33 note
that

the

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424

MARK

T. BERGER

to facilitate
the process

social advance and the incorporation


of the majority
of the population
into
This emphasis was also readily apparent, albeit in
of national development.
versions of national development
different ways, in the state-socialist
that
significantly
- an
influence
of
the
USSR
and
the
of
with
the
China
People's Republic
emerged
growing
influence that the North American
of national development
proponents
sought explicitly
to challenge.7
in the late 1940s, the US was increasingly animated
With
the onset of the Cold War
an
a
to
construct
commitment
state-mediated
open world economy while promoting
by
as part of its wider effort to contain the USSR and its allies. The
of
the US in the nation-state
system as itwas consolidated
position
during the
hegemonic
traces of the colonialism
and imperialism
Cold War
still bore significant
practised by
the European powers and imperial lapan, as well as by the United States (in places such as
in an earlier era.8 As already suggested, however,
the Philippines
and the Caribbean),
in important
Soviet Cold War
continuities
the
and
American
'empires' departed
despite
or
Most
in
from
earlier
colonial
and
ways
political
imperial projects.
significantly,
national

development

or less
up more
'empires' made
and sovereign nation-states
rather than colonies. The
entirely of formally independent
role of the US in Latin America by the early twentieth century and the role of Britain in
as well as Britain and France in the Middle
East after World War
Latin America,
I, had
this new form of'inter-national'
foreshadowed
power. In the Cold War era the relation
terms

administrative

both

countries

presided

over

and their allies was increasingly mediated


the respective
superpowers
by
ship between
and new international
insti
of
alliances,
military
regional organisations
complex systems
involved formal agreements
between
all of which
tutions such as the United Nations,
an
This
from
earlier
nation-states.
important departure
represented
ostensibly
sovereign
forms of imperialism
7
and

The

literature

the Third

on

and colonialism.9
is of course

Liberal America
substantial.
Robert A. Packenham,
See, for example,
aid and social science
Princeton
ideas in foreign
(Princeton:
development
1973); Irene L. Gendzier,
Managing
political
change: Social scientists and the Third World
between nations:
The origins of economic
Press,
1985); Carlos Ramirez-Faria,
inequality

World:

this

Political

Press,
University
(Boulder: Westview
Unwin
and under development
A critique
theories
(London:
1991);
Hyman,
of development
of Western
aid (East Lansing: Michigan
State
and the rhetoric of foreign
Charles
Kimber
Rostow, Kennedy,
Pearce,
ed. David
and the global Cold War,
Press, 2001);
development
University
Staging growth: Modernization,
et al. (Amherst:
For discussions
of the context
for
of Massachusetts
Press,
2003).
University
Engerman
see Philip McMichael,
and social change: A global
and national
Development
development,
nation-building
B. Moore,
Oaks: Pine Forge Press, 2000),
2nd edn (Thousand
pp. 25-76; David
'Development
perspective,
an
as
in Debating
discourse:
Towards
discourse
1945-1995',
development
history,
ideological
hegemony:
B.
Moore
and
Schmitz
ed.
David
Gerald
and popular
Institutional
Macmillan,
J.
(London:
perspectives,
1995), pp. 1-53.
8 Mary Ann Heiss,

'The evolution

of the imperial

idea and US

national

identity',

Diplomatic

History,

26,

4 (2002): 511-40.
II era were grounded
War
of the late-colonial,
the empires
pre-World
in the interests of
of colonial markets
and control
powers,
by the colonial
the economic
and investors.
However,
put in place after
arrangements
metropolitan-based
corporations
a
to increasingly
transcend
and financial
institutions
II paved
War
the way for large corporations
World
on which
or
and other
nation-state
support.
they had relied for regulatory
particular
single metropolitan
as
can be, and has been,
characterised
in the latter part of the twentieth
US hegemony
century
'post
time the nation-state
the case by the 1970s, by which
This was particularly
system had been
imperial'.
were
at least in retrospect,
contours
of the globalisation
and the overall
universalised
project
beginning,
in world
L. Sklar,
in Postimperialism
to become
G. Becker
and Richard
David
'Introduction',
apparent;
9

In economic

to a great degree

terms, meanwhile,
in the regulation

see David
L. Sklar (New York: Praeger,
G. Becker
and Richard
ed. David
1999). Also
politics,
in
the
late
twentieth
et al, Postimperialism:
and
International
century
development
capitalism
1987).
Lynne Rienner,

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

G.

Becker

(Boulder:

AND

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

425

NATION-BUILDING

The geopolitical
and geoeconomic
framework
of the Cold War was thus central
as a universal
to national development
ideal. After 1945 the US and the Soviet Union
presided over a growing system of alliances and disbursed
large quantities of economic
and military
aid to the 'developing' nations of the 'Third World';
the IMF and theWorld
national development.
Bank, as well as the UN, also played a growing role in promoting
as both process and ultimate goal
the idea of development/modernisation
narratives
nationalist
Most
the global
worldwide.
increasingly permeated
importantly,
in theory, of the idea of the equality
involved the universalisation,
spread of nationalism
In this context

of all nations

and of all citizens within

all nations.

The

idea of nationhood

carried with

it a commitment,
suffrage. The UN

at least in the abstract, to democracy,


human
rights and universal
a global community
Charter explicitly envisioned
of formally equal
were
that
nation-states
in that
sentiments
expected to observe the democratic
expressed
on human rights. By the 1980s, however,
the
Charter, as well as a range of conventions
diverse

and often profoundly


flawed versions of national development
that had emerged
- and in some
as
been consolidated
such
South
had already dis
cases,
Vietnam,
- over
or
were
the previous
appeared
thirty
forty years
increasingly
challenged by the
an
on
With
increased
inte
emergent globalisation
project.
global economic
emphasis
and/or

gration
national

and economic

development
trend was accelerated

the previous
failures of
liberalism, globalisation
compounded
new problems. This
and nation-building,
while also introducing
and clarified by the end of the Cold War.10

This article explores the rise and transformation


of theories of modernisation
and
ideas of nation-building
between
1945 and 1975 and their relationship
to US foreign
policy, with an emphasis on Southeast Asia. It begins with a brief look at the origins
on Comparative
of modernisation
Politics
theory, including a focus on the Committee
(established

by the Social Science Research


site for the generation
of political

important
and consolidation
studies

and Asian

of modernisation
Studies

then look at the work

generally
of modernisation

an
in 1954), which
represented
and
the
broader
rise
development
theory,
of area
theory. This is followed by a discussion
and Southeast Asian Studies more specifically.
Itwill
Council

and Asian specialists such as Lucian W.


on
Politics and the Center
Pye, closely
Comparative
for International
Studies (CENIS) at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology
(MIT);
Clifford Geertz, an important figure on the Committee
for the Comparative
Study of
New Nations
at the University
of Chicago; and George McTurnan
Kahin, who was briefly
associated

involved with

with

both

theorists

the Committee

on Comparative
Politics at the outset and played an impor
and growth of Southeast Asian Studies. Their work on
and Indonesia in the 1950s and at the start of the 1960s is given particu

the Committee

tant role in the establishment

Burma
Malaysia,
lar attention. The role ofWalt Whitman

a key

figure at CENIS and an influential


of the Kennedy
and Johnson administrations,
is then examined.
Finally, the
article will examine the changes to modernisation
in
the
1960s
and
theory
early 1970s,
with a particular emphasis on the US-backed
effort in South Vietnam
nation-building
Rostow,

member

10 Mark T. Berger,
talism', Millennium:
ries of development,

'The rise and demise


of national
and the origins
War
of post-Cold
development
capi
Journal of International
30,2
Studies,
(2001): 211-34;
Berger, The battle for Asia: Theo
the nation-state
order (London:
system and the changing
global
RoutledgeCurzon,

2003).

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

426

MARK

(which

T. BERGER

had become
as well

Huntington,
Guy Pauker.

the fulcrum
as influential

in Asia) and on the work of Samuel


policy
at the Rand Corporation
intellectuals
such as

of US
policy

The changes to modernisation


to
theory in this period were intimately connected
the challenges
to, and shifts in orientation
of, US foreign policy in Asia and beyond.
on the perceived
too much
shift in modernisation
However,
emphasis
theory in the
1960s away from a focus on democracy
to a preoccupation
with order, in the context of
the reorientation
of US foreign policy,
is no longer warranted.
As recent observers
have argued, a close examination
of the modernisation
literature makes clear that order
as far as most modernisation
and stability were always more
than
important
democracy
was
theorists were concerned.11 Far more
the
shift
significant
by the 1950s from overtly
a
to
in
ideas
about
mission
the
colonies
much more comprehen
racially-based
civilising
national development
and an emphasis on the
government-mediated
as
of
the
nation-state
the
main
of
and stability in the
importance
object
nation-building
era.
was
an
Cold War
This
that despite differing
emphasis
strategies was increasingly
shared by former colonisers
and colonised
alike, and by all sides in the Cold War.
At the same time, modernisation
theory was subject to revision in the 1960s and
sive ideas about

to its explanatory
and prescriptive
early 1970s in the context of growing challenges
aspi
rations. An important reorientation was the move away from the psychological
emphasis
of early modernisation
that drew on economics
and
theory and towards an approach
as
later become widely know
rational choice theory). This
game theory (what would
change has been characterised
variously as a shift from 'constructive
counterinsurgency'
or from classical
to 'coercive counterinsurgency'
modernisation
theory to military
a
not
it
involve
did
dramatic
of
the
basic
However,
assumptions
theory.
rethinking
modernisation

theorists
objectives

geoeconomic

and US

about Washington's

policy-makers
in Southeast Asia and beyond.

geopolitical

of
and

the Cold War and nation-building


1:1945-60
Decolonisation,
The origins of modernisation
and
the
of political development
emergence
theory
theory
define modernisation
theory in a way that includes development
is reinforced by Nils
others such as Colin Leys (whose position
However,
it ismore accurate to
Gilman's
of
the
of
modernisation
that
theory') argue
study
'genesis
as having provided
economics
of
view development
the earliest systematic formulations
as
while
modernisation
is
best
understood
development
theory generally,
theory
having
scien
response by political
appeared in the late 1950s as a particularly North American
Many
economics.

observers

tists to the incipient failure of many


observers
prefer to use the

Other

to describe

'modernisation

of the prescriptions
term

the work

'political
by North

economists.

development
theory' rather than
American
political scientists in the
political development
theory 'drew

theory'
late 1950s and 1960s. In the view of Paul Cammack,
theory' (which he attributes
heavily upon modernisation

11 See,

of development

primarily

to the sociological

for example,
Nils
Johns Hopkins
(Baltimore:
in its earlier form
his book

Modernization
Gilman,
modernity:
theory and Cold War America
Imposing
to Nils Gilman,
I am indebted
who
allowed me to read
Press, 2003).
University
as his doctoral
world
with
The genesis
dissertation:
the
intentions:
'Paving
good

of modernization

(Ph.D.

theory'

diss.,

University

of California/Berkeley,

2000).

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AND

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

427

NATION-BUILDING

to Talcott Parsons and Edward Shils) 'but at the same


running from Max Weber
a
in
time engaged
critical dialogue with it'.12
While political development
theory played an important role in the rise and/or revi
sion of modernisation
the
latter term can still be seen to encompass
conceptions
theory,
tradition

as such.
of political, social and cultural change that extend beyond political development
economics
should be regarded as an early
the same time, I agree that development
while
form of development
this
However,
theory that is distinct from modernisation.

At

article will use the term 'modernisation

of politi
theory' to refer primarily to discussions
to
it will also be used more broadly, as is widely
describe
cal development,
accepted,
1945
theories
of
that
the growing
of
liberal
modernisation
after
and
array
emerged

reached across the social sciences,


increasingly
as well as history, sociology and area studies.
This formulation
allows the Social Science
on Comparative
Politics
which was established
of
production
political development
theory
modernisation
theory in the 1950s and early

political

encompassing
Research

science

generally

(SSRC) Committee
the key site for the

Council's

in 1954 and became

to be seen as an important force behind


1960s whether
the latter term is defined
of the committee were Lucian W. Pye,

narrowly or broadly.13 The founding members


Kahin
and Gabriel
Guy J. Pauker, Taylor Cole, Roy Macridis,
George McTurnan
a
Almond. Chaired by Almond
from 1954 to 1963, the Committee
provided
key focus for
It
the production
and dissemination
of modernisation
is
worth
theory.
noting that of the
six founding members,
Pye, Pauker and Kahin did most or all of their work on Southeast
to play a key role in both the Committee
Asia. However, while the first two continued
and the government-political
development
theory nexus, Kahin (who was a key figure in
the consolidation
of Southeast Asian Studies, as will be discussed below, and became a
in South Vietnam
in the 1960s) was eased off the
critic of US intervention
prominent
Committee
within a few years of its establishment.
on Comparative
the outset the Committee
as well as
and policy-oriented
publications,
Its goal was to articulate a theory of political
crucial concepts were used inconsistently,
and

From

Politics

sponsored awide range of


of conferences
and semi

academic

a number

nars.

development;
no full-blown

many
to have

the term

its scientific

and despite the widespread


usage of
aspirations
was
the
Committee
what
provided
theory',
primarily an out
rather than a theory per se. It also played an important
role in the
for
the
The
parameters
acceptable
professional
study of politics.

emerged. Despite
'modernisation

look or approach,
establishment
of

over time
however,
theory could be said

12 Paul

and democracy
in the Third World:
The doctrine
Cammack,
Capitalism
of political
development
see Richard
Leicester
A. Higgott,
Political
Press,
(London:
1997), pp. 44-5. Also
University
development
debate
Croom
discussions
of development
and
Helm,
(London:
1983). General
theory: The contemporary
modernisation
include Colin
Indiana
Leys, The rise and fall of development
theory
theory (Bloomington:
University
ation with
Zed

Press,

Blackwell,
13 On
social

Press,
reference

1996), especially
to development

1997),

pp.

61-6,

1996),

pp.

153-78;

the origins
and
sciences: Rockefeller

University

of Michigan

167-72;

early

For discussions
and Gilman,
of modernis
Imposing modernity.
see John Martinussen,
state and market
(London:
Society,
Peter Wallace
Preston,
(Oxford:
Development
theory: An introduction

pp.

8-9;

economics,

and Latham,
history

philanthropy
Press,
1993).

of

Modernization
the

and

as

SSRC

see Donald

the United

States

Fisher,
Social

30-46.

pp.

ideology,

Fundamental

Science

Research

development
of the
Council
(Ann Arbor:

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428

MARK

T. BERGER

were
scientists associated with the Committee
political
the production
of a theoretical alternative toMarxism.
former member
theory

that its 'purpose' had been


a non-Marxian
to provide

asserted

of change

and

thus

aware that they were engaged


In the early 1980s, for example,
to 'formulate a non-Communist
alternative

in
a

for the developing

nations'.14

to generate an alternative
to Marxism
theoretical
is nicely
apparatus
to
the
Committee's
the
of
efforts
the
'state'.
The
concept
encapsulated
by
marginalise
foundations
for such an effort were laid after World War I, by which time the concept of
the state was increasingly displaced
and the discipline
of political
science was consoli
The

desire

as both the basis of US politics and the


around pluralism
dated and professionalised
norm by which political theory and practice elsewhere were to be measured.
In the 1950s
Gabriel Almond
and his fellow scholars avoided using the word
the
'state', favouring
system', as in their view the former was afflicted with at least two impor
tant shortcomings.
Itwas felt to be a vague term for which
itwas difficult to agree on an
or
exact definition; moreover,
scholars believed
that any definition would marginalise
term

'political

took the view that


important elements of the political process. They apparently
the dramatic social and political changes which had occurred since the Industrial Revolu
ever
state and society had become
between
tion meant
that identifying
the boundaries

exclude

difficult.15 Ultimately,
these reasons
however,
that
less
than
the
fact
World War
appear
persuasive

more

for avoiding the notion of the state


II and the Cold War had provided

in a
political science with a new set of global imperatives. For example,
on
1944 report
the future of comparative
politics, Karl Loewenstein
argued that political
'a conscious
scientists should dispense with any narrow focus on the state and become

North

American

instrument
the scientific

of social engineering'
integration of'their

for 'imparting' the US 'experience to other nations'


institutions
into a universal pattern of government'.

and
He

the emergence of a 'total science', arguing that 'the frontier posts of compara
must be moved
tive government
boldly' to include both the entire world and a range
ensure 'access to the true Gestalt of foreign
of other academic disciplines, which would
In
Easton
it a national
1953
David
civilisations'.
political
argued that the Cold War made
envisioned

imperative to clarify the political lexicon, purge


laws which would
and produce
encompass
general theoretical
activities and transcend specific cultures.16

and international

14 The
policy:
David

M.

theory.
15 Timothy
cal Science
'The

is quoted
in Howard
Ethnocentrism
in foreign
Wiarda,
American
Institute,
1985), p. 63.
Enterprise
(Washington:
Yale
science: Politics,
The tragedy of political
and democracy
(New Haven:
scholarship,
a full-blown
on the Committee's
to come up with
comments
failure
1984), pp. 263-4,

former
anonymous
Can we understand

University

Ricci,
Press,

declination

Committee

85,
of

member

the Third World?

'The limits

Mitchell,
Review,

the concept of the state


all important political

1 (1991):
the "state"

and their critics', American


Politi
of the state: Beyond
statist approaches
see John G. Gunnell,
as a discipline,
On the rise of political
science
in Political
science
in history:
of American
and the origins
pluralism',

78-9.

ed. James Farr et al (Cambridge:


and political
Press,
traditions,
University
Cambridge
programs
39-40.
1995), pp. 19-23, 29-30,
rev. edn
into the state of political
The political
16 David
science,
Easton,
system: An
inquiry
(Chicago:
are from his 'Report on the
of Chicago
Press,
1981), pp. 1-4. Karl Loewenstein's
quotations
University
American
Political
Science Review,
research panel on comparative
38, 2 (1944): 541-7; quoted
government',
in State/culture:
and the state effect',
in Timothy
Mitchell,
economy,
State-formation
after the
'Society,
78.
Cornell
Steinmetz
cultural
Press,
turn, ed. George
1999),
(Ithaca:
p.
University
Research

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While

429

NATION-BUILDING

to the 'state' and articulate


sought to find alternatives
for the developing
nations',
(as
they were also attempting
to
anti-Communism
shift
away from the populist hysteria
suggest)
era towards a far more
position.
scientifically
political
grounded
theorists

modernisation

alternative

'a non-Marxian
Easton's

AND

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

comments

the McCarthy
version' of Ameri
Modernisation
theory was, as Gilman has suggested, a 'high-concept
class conflict, secularism without
canism that involved 'materialism without
irreverence,
was
modernisation
without
disobedience'.17
clearly anti
Although
theory
democracy
in its political
it rested on a deeper set of assumptions
about
Communist
outlook,
of

In particular,
industri
that in fact overlapped with Marxism.
were central to both liberal and Marxist visions of modernity
the
modernisation
theorists acknowledged
and national
Furthermore,
development.
a
or
while
of
the
'deviant'
version
USSR,
thereof,
'pathological'
hoping
modernity
though
progress
alisation

and modernity
and urbanisation

that the Soviets would

converge with
eventually
States.
the
United
by

the democratic

and capitalist

type of

exemplified
of political
conception
Ultimately, modernisation
theory privileged an evolutionary
a
in
romanticised
vision
of
the
of
the United
and
history
development
grounded
change
were
at
to
least
committed
States of America.
theorists
rhetorically
Early
democracy,

modernity

seeing it as the direct result of economic


For
discerned
example, lames Coleman
lity.
and competitive,
democratic
development'
often

and the key to political stabi


development
a 'positive relationship
between economic
systems. At the same time, this
political

was elitist and technocratic,


of political development
and even
conception
- an
was
as
more
than
important
stability
regarded
democracy
emphasis
in the 1960s.18
become more pronounced

in the 1950s
that would

The rise of Asian Studies

and the emergence


of Southeast
Asian Studies
In the 1950s and 1960s Asian studies generally and the Association
for Asian Studies
role
(AAS) more specifically were strongly influenced by, and played a complementary
War
II
War
of
the
Cold
era.19
World
had
in, the wider US-led modernisation
project
into direct contact with the American
government,
brought a large number of academics
for a wave
the foundation
providing
was
the
conflict
but
facilitated
during
tical scientists
wartime

and historians

of institutional
that began
growth and expansion
over amuch
War.
Poli
longer period by the Cold
established
closer links with the US government
during

and post-war periods


emerged in a number

than virtually any other academics except physicists. The


of
scientists and his
ways, and although not all political
linkages
torians participated,
of these professions were very well represented.
the senior members
took up full-time posts with various government
Many academics
agencies, while others
so
on
a
or
did
part-time
irregular basis, and many others at the very least consciously
to influence their work.
allowed wartime
and later Cold War imperatives

17 Gilman,
'Paving
18 James S. Coleman,
ed. Gabriel Almond

the world',
p. 7.
'The political
systems
and James S. Coleman

of the developing
areas,
areas', in The politics
of the developing
Princeton
Press,
(Princeton:
1960), pp. 537-9. On
University
see the introduction
of Gilman,
and Latham,
'Paving the world',

vs
of stability
democracy,
as
ideology.
19 Ravi Arvind
visions:
the
Palat,
'Fragmented
Excavating
Review: Fernand
Braudel
world',
Center,
19, 3 (1996): 269-318.

the question
Modernization

future

of

area

studies

in a post-American

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MARK

430

T. BERGER

of Strategic Services
of the Central
(OSS), the forerunner
was
one
of
best-known
the
for
(CIA),
Intelligence Agency
postings
political scientists and
one
area
most
and
of
the
for
Asian
Studies in particular.
studies,
historians,
significant
W. Norman
is
Asian Studies in
who
credited
with
and
South
Brown,
founding
guiding
as
was
was
North America
after the war,
John K. Fairbank, who
employed by the OSS,
as an information
officer at the American
worked
embassy in Chongqing
(Chungking)
the Office

Meanwhile,

the war. Fairbank went on to become professor of history at Harvard


is regarded as the effective founder of modern
Chinese
Studies in North America.
wrote
Brown
World
War
and
Fairbank
both
influential
historical
after
II,
surveys
Shortly
series
in the American
US
about
relations
with
India, Pakistan and
Foreign Policy Library
after the US entered
and

of the Ford Foundation,


China. McGeorge
president
Bundy, one-time
area
studies in the 1950s and 1960s through
considerable
support for
and Research Program among other initiatives, characterised
Training
'first great center of area studies in the United
States'.20
At the same time, a number of younger academics were attracted

which

provided
its International
the OSS as the

to Asian Studies
after having
served with the armed forces in the region during the war. This group
- or at least their
after 1945, at a
embarked on their studies generally
higher degrees
amounts
and private foundations
of money
from government
such as
time when
large
available with
the intention
of enhancing
became
the Ford Foundation
increasingly
same
At
of
Asia
the
and
the North American
time, the
regions beyond.
understanding

as a new generation
of academics
range of area studies grew dramatically
disciplinary
and diversifica
entered new or revised fields of study that emerged with the expansion
tion of the social sciences after 1945.21 This was the context in which Asian Studies was
consolidated.
for the study of Asia
American-based
organisation
professional
centred around the Far
in 1948 as the Far Eastern Association
for Asian
Eastern Quarterly, which had first appeared in 1941. It became the Association
had changed its name to the Journal of Asian
Studies in 1958, shortly after the publication
the Asian Studies profession
Studies. Although
emerged as a result of US
increasingly
a number of important specialists in
it tended to complement,
Cold War policies, which
in the early 1950s. The reputation of the
the field were badly treated by the government
an important pre-1945
institutional
which
had
Institute for Pacific Relations,
provided
The main

North

came

into existence

focus

for Asian

Subcommittee
'loss' of China.
Relations

experts, suffered irreparable damage after the Senate


had been instrumental
that the organisation
concluded
The

controversy

Internal

Security
in the so-called

for Pacific
this debate and the Institute
surrounding
in
For
AAS
the
1950s.
of
the
the
emergence
example,
complicated
tensions

in Dimensions
and the searchlights
of power
of the academy',
'The battlefields
of
Bundy,
ed. Edgar A. G. Johnson
Press,
Johns Hopkins
1964), pp. 2-3; on the
(Baltimore:
University
see also McCaughey,
studies and academic
International
in this respect,
of the OSS
enterprise,
significance
The United
States
include W. Norman
of the two scholars' work
Notable
Brown,
pp. 102-3,114.
examples
20 McGeorge

diplomacy,

and India and Pakistan (Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1953) and JohnKing Fairbank, The United
States

and
Harvard
Press,
1948). See also Paul M. Evans, John Fairbank
University
(Cambridge:
Cloak
China~
1988) and Robin W. Winks,
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell,
of modern
understanding
Yale University
in the secret war 1939-1961
Scholars
Press,
1987), pp. 495-8.
(New Haven:

and China

the American

and gown:
of behavioralism
and the triumph
'The Ford Foundation
Peter
J. Seybold,
at home
The foundations
and cultural
in Philanthropy
science',
imperialism:
Indiana University
F. Amove
Press,
1982), pp. 269-303.
(Bloomington:

in American

21

and

abroad,

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ed.

political
Robert

AND

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

431

NATION-BUILDING

years and did not have a particularly good


scrutiny in the McCarthy
the
State
until
the
1960s; in the early 1950s his services as
Department
relationship
a State Department
In 1951 he was refused a passport by
consultant were discontinued.
a
the US government,
trip to Japan, at the
delay on a planned
placing
year-and-a-half
came under

Fairbank

with

same time

that he was

called

to appear before

a series of Congressional

hearings

that

his loyalty.22
In the 1950s a geographically-grounded

scrutinised

academic division of labour emerged within


into - and
which was increasingly
divided
Asian Studies profession,
as
East Asian,
institutionalised
Southeast Asian and South Asian Studies, with the
further
subdivided
into their national
components.23
George
regional groupings being
a
on Comparative
as
noted above had played
Kahin, who
founding role in the Committee
a central figure in
it early on, went on to become
Politics but parted company with
the US-centred

a Bachelor's
of Southeast Asian Studies. After finishing
War II
in
Kahin
entered
the
US
World
1940,
Army. During
degree
University
he was part of contingent
of paratroopers who were trained for insertion behind enemy
East Indies. However,
lines in the Japanese-controlled
Netherlands
by the time US forces
the creation

and consolidation

at Harvard

Douglas MacArthur
began rolling back the Japanese empire in Southeast
Asia, it had been decided that the erstwhile Dutch colony would not be a direct focus of
the campaign. Kahin ended up in Europe instead, but rekindled his interest in Southeast
in 1946 and then went
Asia after the war. He received an MA from Stanford University
under General

on to Johns Hopkins University.


He did graduate
of
the
Indonesian
nationalist
movement's
period

research

in Indonesia

during the final


in
Dutch
colonialism
struggle against
1948-49. After finishing his Ph.D. in 1951, he took up the post of Assistant
Professor
of Government
Director
of the recently
and Executive
established
Southeast Asia
was
a
Kahin
Program at Cornell University.
driving force in Southeast Asian Studies at
1961 and 1970.
Cornell in the 1950s and 1960s, and was Director of the Program between
in 1954 he established
the Cornell Modern
Indonesia Project, which he ran
Meanwhile,
in 1988. In the early 1960s he rose to prominence
until his retirement
because of his
to
US
in
South
he
for
was,
Vietnam;
instance, the main
outspoken
opposition
policy
inWashington,
Teach-in
DC in April 1964.24
speaker at the first National
Kahin played a key role in the 1950s in consolidating
Southeast Asian Studies in
an
He
the North American
edited
influential
system.
university
study of Asian politics
generally and another on Southeast Asian politics more specifically, both of which were
in this period. His classic study, Nationalism
and revolution
widely used as textbooks
in Indonesia, which was based on his doctoral
in the late 1940s,
research in Indonesia
about decolonisation,
modernisation
reflected the early optimism
and nation-building.
In the case of Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond,
itwas hoped - if not

see also John N. Thomas,


The Institute
Asian
John Fairbank,
pp. 64, 206-13;
of Pacific Relations:
and American
of Washington
P. Newman,
Press,
(Seattle: University
1974) and Robert
politics
Owen Lattimore
and the 'loss' of China
of California
Press,
1992).
(Berkeley: University
23 The Association
is currently
for Asian
Studies
subdivided
into four councils:
and Inner Asia,
China
22

Evans,

scholars

Northeast

Asia,

24 Kahin's
Asia:
Kahin

South

Asia

and

Southeast

Asia.

have been
memoirs
posthumous
testament
(London:
RoutledgeCurzon,

and

Intervention:

McTurnan
Southeast
Kahin,
published:
recently
George
see
For his Vietnam
2003).
scholarship
George McTurnan
States
in Vietnam,
The United
Lewis,
Press,
John W.
(New York: Dial
1967) and Kahin,
How America
became
involved
in Vietnam
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
1986).

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432

MARK

T. BERGER

- in the 1950s
that ethnic loyalties and so-called primordial
senti
confidently
expected
ments would
fade and new loyalties to the modern
nation would become
the central
aspect of every citizen's

identity.25

inSoutheast
The challenge of 'guerrilla communism'
Asia I:Malaysia
a particularly
Kahin's work represented
early interest in Southeast Asia after 1945
scientist. By the time his book was published,
the region was
however,
by a political
arena
a
were increas
in
War.
of
the
Cold
major
becoming
Policy-makers
Washington
new
in
the context of
about
the
of
the
nations
concerned
colonies
and/or
ingly
stability
the consolidation

of the People's Republic


of China and the growing
of
significance
a
narrow
on
in
communism'
the
Kahin
such
focus
the
part
questioned
'guerrilla
region.
of policy-makers
and political
scientists
alike. However,
his concerns
had a limited
he became persona non grata at the US embassy in Jakarta
impact, and in the mid-1950s
(where the staff were forbidden even to read his book on Indonesian nationalism).26
in Southeast Asia attracted the
the challenge of 'guerrilla communism'
Meanwhile,
interest of a growing number of North American
political scientists by the 1960s. Signal
- a
at
shift
the
Pauker
this
the
end
of
of the Committee
1950s, Guy
founding member
ling
on Comparative
was
a
to
Politics
warned
that Southeast Asia
be
going
'problem area in
In the early 1960s Pauker was head of the Asian Section of the Social
the next decade'.
at the Rand Corporation
and an important figure in what Ron Robin
as the 'military-intellectual
complex'.27 The geostrategic
significance of
science to the study of the region are
of political
Southeast Asia and the importance
of grant recipients from the Foreign
reflected in the disciplinary
and regional breakdown
Area Fellowship Program
funded
the
Ford
Foundation.
The FAFP, which was
(FAFP)
by
1952 and 1972. As a group,
between
managed
by the SSRC, awarded 2,050 fellowships
scientists received 439 of these awards, more
than any other discipline, while
political
were
cent
the
for
science
of
disbursed
research on
per
political
fellowships
eight
Science Division

has characterised

Asia.28

Southeast

rising interest in Southeast Asia in the context of the growing concern with
areas generally
in the work of Lucian W. Pye, also a founding
is apparent
developing
on Comparative
influ
of the Committee
member
Politics, who emerged as a particularly
was
in
in
1921
of
mission
who
born
China
ential advocate of modernisation
theory. Pye,
The

officer in the Marine Corps in Asia during World


ary parents, served as an intelligence
war
science at Yale,
II. Following
he did graduate studies in political
War
the end of the
as Head
succeeded his mentor
where he studied with Gabriel Almond.
Pye eventually
in 1963, a post he held until it ceased operation
in 1972. Pye's work
of the Committee

25 George
1952). His

in Indonesia
and revolution
Kahin, Nationalism
(Ithaca: Cornell
were
(Ithaca: Cornell
governments
University
Major
of Asia
and politics
Press,
(Ithaca: Cornell
1959).
University
of Southeast Asia

McTurnan
edited

Governments

volumes

Press,
University
Press,
1958) and

26 Kahin,
Southeast Asia: A testament,
pp. 140-5.
area in the next decade', World Politics,
27 Guy J. Pauker,
'Southeast Asia as problem
11,3 (1959):
in the military-intellectual
and politics
Ron Robin,
The making
enemy: Culture
of the Cold War
Princeton
Press, 2001), p. 189.
(Princeton:
University
28

Prior

tions, but
Indonesia:

to

Postcolonial

complex

over thirty per cent of all applica


for the FAFP represented
proposals
to
six
declined
cent; Simon
per
Philpott,
dramatically
only
Rethinking
they
and identity
(London: Macmillan,
2000), p. 115.
theory, authoritarianism

1974 political
1975-7

between

325-45;

science

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MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

AND

433

NATION-BUILDING

an explicitly psychological
approach to political behaviour with the examina
tion of political change in the emerging nation-states
of Asia and Africa. His first book,
was
in
Its social and political meaning.
in
communism
Guerrilla
1956,
published
Malaya:
It built on Almond's
1954 work The appeals of communism, which was preoccupied
attraction of communism.
with the psychological
Almond
had concluded
that the com
were
munist parties of Western
the
which
of
his
focus
drew
their recruits
Europe,
study,
combined

of the population
who were 'alienated',
'deviational' or 'psychologically
Under these circumstances
the new recruits were attracted to the structure
maladjusted'.
as a means
to resolve personal
the
communist
provided by
parties primarily
identity
from members

crises.29

in British Malaya
linked Almond's
ideas
insurgency
Pye's book on the communist
a
as
to an explicitly developmental
that
identified
late-colonial
'transi
approach
Malaya
tional' society. He argued that the fundamental
basis of the appeal of communism
in
was the insecurity
nation-states
and other underdeveloped
Malaya
experienced
by
people who had lost their 'traditional way of life' and were undergoing
psychological
stress as part of their effort to achieve a 'modern' existence. Pye conducted his fieldwork
inMalaya
in 1952-3; he interviewed
of the Malayan
Communist
sixty former members
of the authorities. He
Party with the cooperation
so
MCP
the
did
the organisation
because
joined
otherwise

that the ethnic Chinese who


a 'stable element
in their
represented
that 'in the structure of the party' the
concluded

societies',
highly unstable
arguing
could find 'a closer relationship
between
effort and reward than anything they
new one'.30
in either the static old society or the unstable, unpredictable
have known
a
on
Benda
outlined
similar
the
of
communism
when he
J.
Harry
perspective
appeal
recruits

that 'communist movements'


in Asia and other parts of the developing world
a
or
substitute
for
institutions'.31
'provide
decayed
vanishing
book
reinforced
the
outlook
that
the counterinsurgency
and
Pye's
underpinned
inMalaya
efforts of the colonial government
in the writ
(as manifested
nation-building
Like Thompson
(who was head of
ings of British officials such as Sir Robert Thompson).
observed

to South Vietnam
the British Advisory Mission
between
1961 and 1965), Pye's analysis
with the thinking that increasingly underpinned
the US modernising
and
in
in
efforts
Vietnam
1950s
South
the
1960s.
late
and
very early
counterinsurgency
to Pye, if peasants
in 'transitional
to
societies' joined guerrilla movements
According
also meshed

acquire amodern
identity, then the way to defeat the guerrillas was to establish governing
were
more
institutions
that
and more modern
than those
effective, more
appealing
a paper at a US AID
In November
1963 he presented
provided
by the communists.
advisory

committee
crises of

profound

in the new nations confronted


arguing that all governments
In
to resolve these crises, he
and
order
'participation'
'legitimacy'.

meeting

29 Gabriel

A. Almond,
The appeals
Princeton
Press,
(Princeton:
1954), pp.
of Communism
University
Its social and political
Communism
inMalaya:
Princeton
(Princeton:
Pye, Guerrilla
meaning
see Gilman,
context
for Pye's scholarship,
ch. 4.
Press,
1956). On the broader
University
'Paving the world',
see Donald
L. M. Blackmer,
Also
An appreciation
'Introduction:
of Lucian W. Pye,' in The political
culture
area and international
studies: Essays in honor of Lucian W. Pye, ed. Richard
and Myron
J. Samuels
of foreign
Weiner
1992).
(Washington:
Brassey's,
30 Lucian Pye, Guerrilla
Communism,
p. 7.
380-1;

Lucian

31 Harry
pp. 12-3;

'Reflections
J. Benda,
'Communism

Benda,

on Asian
in Southeast

The Yale Review,


56 (1966):
Communism',
45 (1956): 417-29.
Asia', The Yale Review,

1-16,

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

especially

434

MARK

advised
citizens

T. BERGER

that the governments


concerned
should seek to gain greater control
a
more
them
for
active
role in national politics.32
by mobilising

over

their

The 'search for identity' inSoutheast


Asia: Burma and Indonesia
to USAID made
As Pye's presentation
clear, he was among those modernisation
theorists expressing growing concern by the early 1960s about whether
the incipient or
in Asia and Africa would
recently established nation-states
successfully make the transi
tion to modernity.
For example,
in 1960 he had lamented that the 'transitional
societies
to rational-legal
Asia have not fully incorporated
the view common
systems
of authority that the appropriate
of
is
the
of public policy in the
politics
goal
production
form of laws'. He noted that in Southeast Asia 'power and prestige' were still regularly
regarded as 'values to be fully enjoyed for their own sake'.33
amajor study (supported by CENIS atMIT) entitled Politics,
In 1962 Pye published
of Southeast

and nation-building:
Burmas
search for identity. His book, which focused on
personality
amodern
the 'problems of building
used Burma as a case study but drew
nation-state',
a
from
in Asia and Africa. A central ques
wide
of
nation-states
range
emergent
examples
tion was why
societies have such great difficulties
'transitional
in creating an effective
state system'. At the outset he remonstrated
that the 'shocking fact has been that
in the last decade
the new countries
of Asia have had more
with
difficulties
the

modern

than with
psychological
as
that
colonies
argued
'become more apparent'

the objective economic


problems basic to nation building'. He
in Africa increasingly moved
it would
towards decolonisation,
that they, like the new nations of Asia, were 'crucially affected by

conflicts'. Making
clear
deep psychological
from
the
he
modernisation
outset,
theory
nation building'.
The formulation
of such
expectation'
primarily' by an 'unreasoned

the concern with order that was central to


lamented the apparent lack of 'doctrines on
a doctrine,
he argued, had been 'inhibited
that democracy was 'inevitable' and by the

'belief that political development


is a natural and even automatic
which
phenomenon
cannot be rationally planned or directed'. Pye emphasised
the 'need to create more effec
to facilitate
and more
rationalised
tive, more
adaptive, more
complex,
organisations'
the
'heart'
of
the
for
However,
him, still
nation-building
'problem',
nation-building.
the
centred on the 'interrelationships
and
culture,
among personality,
polity'.34
with personality
The preoccupation
that characterised
Pye's work is reflected in his
assertion that the 'hope' for 'transitional peoples' rested in their search 'for new collective
as well as individual
identities'. He was adamant that successful national development
of a 'greater sense of order' at both the personal
and
upon the realisation
depended
to make this happen, arguing
national political levels. Pye offered two broad approaches
combine both
that for transitional
societies to 'advance' they would have to successfully

as
see his
176-8. On Robert
Modernization
pp.
Thompson,
ideology,
Defeating
and Vietnam
and Windus,
Chatto
(London:
1966).
insurgency:
Experiences
from Malaya
a number
in 1938 and following
of years
in Burma
the Malayan
Civil Service
during
Thompson
joined
on
to Malaya,
returned
where
he worked
Between
1957-61
he
the Second World
War,
security questions.
of Defense
in the Federation
of Malaya.
served as Deputy
and then Secretary
Secretary
32 Cited

in Latham,

Communist

33

Lucian W.

pp. 142-3.
34 Lucian W.
University

Pye,

'The Politics

of Southeast

Asia'

in Almond

and nation-building:
Pye, Politics,
personality
Press,
7, 38, 42.
1962), pp. xv-xvi,

and Coleman
Burma's

ed., Politics

search for

identity

of developing
(New Haven:

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

areas,
Yale

AND

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

435

NATION-BUILDING

a leader would emerge


of these. The first involved a 'grand ideological solution' whereby
own
the
his
'out
of
of
be
'able to give his people
would
who,
personal experience',
depths
an understanding
of the new sentiments
and values necessary for national development'.
The second lay in 'assisting individuals as individuals', helping them 'to find their sense
of identity through
would be advanced

the mastery

of demanding
'as ever increasing numbers

lives the exacting but also psychologically


mance basic to the modern world'.35 These

skills'. In this way national


of competent
people meet

development
in their daily

of professional
perfor
the evolutionary
reflect
prescriptions
clearly
and universalised
character of modernisation
that modernisation
is
theory, assuming
a transition from tradition to modernity
about making
and that this occurs at the level of
individual change under a leadership with the necessary vision.
the way in which modernisation
theorists expected, or at
Pye's work demonstrated
ensure that
least remained confident,
that the correct nation-building
strategies would
standards

reassuring

traditional loyalties, such as ethnic allegiance would fade and new loyalties to the modern
nation would become
the central element of every citizen's identity. By the beginning
of
were experiencing
the 1960s a growing number of new nation-states
related
instability
to ethnic conflict. For a decade after independence
from Britain in 1948 the Burmese
state, controlled by the politically dominant
Burmans, had been engaged in more or less
ongoing warfare with the former colony's ethnic minorities. Most of the insurgencies had
in open rebellion), but itwas not clear
wound down by 1958 (only the Karens remained
that they had been resolved - and it became obvious
in subsequent
decades that they
as the
had not. These ethnic conflicts represented what Walker
has described
Connor
Burmese
state's
to
'most
visible
and
barrier
post-colonial
significant
integration'.
the trend toward

for Burma in
insurgency and its significance
particular, Pye's book avoids the issue, making only one passing reference to the question
of minorities
in a book of 300 pages. Nor does it figure in his earlier work on Malaya:
the
seen
as
not
'Chineseness'
of the MCP
is
relevant.
His
supporters
particularly
neglect of
ethnic conflict was not particularly unusual for modernisation
theorists in this period.36

However,

despite

ethnic

By contrast, Clifford Geertz (who served in the US Navy during World War II before
the question
of ethnic differences more
career) addressed
embarking on an academic
a
1963
in
book
the
Committee
for
the Comparative
directly
sponsored by
Study of New
at the University
Nations
of Chicago.37 Although
his analysis reflected an awareness of
to the edited volume he tended to treat cultural
in his contribution
differences,
as relatively fixed and even 'primordial'.
and religious sentiments
In his chapter on 'The
ethnic

35 Ibid., pp. 287-9.


36 Walker
The quest for understanding
Ethnonationalism:
Connor,
are discussed
inMartin
ethnic conflicts
1990), pp. 57-9. Burma's

Princeton
Press,
(Princeton:
University
and the politics
Smith, Burma:
Insurgency
see Clive
the Karen
in Burma
A
J. Christie,

2nd edn (London:


Zed Press,
1999), pp. 170-9. On
of ethnicity,
modern
Asia:
Southeast
nationalism
and
Decolonization,
history of
37 Geertz was a member
of the Committee
for the Comparative
serving as Executive
Secretary
on the Committee
theorists

from

1964-6

and Chairman

from

I. B. Tauris,
(London:
1996).
from
1962-70,
Study of New Nations
1968-70. Other
modernisation
prominent
separatism

who was a member


from 1964-72,
who
and 1973-6.
from 1966-9
Zolberg,
Secretary
see Lloyd
For examples
of their scholarship
I. Rudolph
and Susanne
Hoeber
and
'Generals
Rudolph,
in India',
in Garrisons
and governments:
Politics
and the military
in new states, ed. Wilson
C.
politicians
McWilliams
order:
The
Chandler,
(San Francisco:
1967) and Aristide
party-states
Zolberg,
political
Creating
and Aristide

in this period
I. Rudolph,
included
Lloyd
was a member
from 1963-76
and Executive

ofWest Africa (New York: Rand McNally,

1965).

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MARK

436

T. BERGER

Geertz

revolution',

integrative
scientist

a significant

an anthropologist
by training rather than a political
concern
of
about the chances for success of
degree
in the new nations of Asia and
revolution'
underway

expressed
he called the 'integrative
as a process by which
Africa. This was represented
'primordial'
loyalties to region, race,
were
into a wider national
subsumed
kinship group, custom,
religion and language

what

consciousness.38

and
chapter dealt with a range of examples,
including Burma, Malaya
he
that
the
these
three
erstwhile
differences
colonies,
among
Despite
argued
of
the political normalisation
they and other new nations shared a 'common problem
or
to
Geertz
the
'new
'na?ve
states'
discontent'.
apprentice painters
primordial
compared
Geertz's

Indonesia.

'their own proper style'. He then described


eclectic, opportunistic,
subject to fads,
poorly organised,
that the government
In the case of Burma, Geertz warned
or poets'

finding

the 'new states' as 'imitative,


ill-defined'
and 'uncertain'.
did not have the loyalty of

is not contained,
during much of the 1950s and 'if its ethnic enthusiasm
at the time of
not have [this loyalty] a decade hence either'. Meanwhile,
writing
in the Outer Islands of Indonesia and the trend towards authoritarianism
the rebellions
that country as 'an
in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Geertz perceived
under Sukarno
non-Burmans
itmay

classic case of integrative failure'. He lamented that 'every step toward modernity'
coer
the tendency towards 'an unstable amalgam of military
had simply strengthened
revivalism'.39 The increasing perception
cion and ideological
by the early 1960s that the
in Southeast Asia such as Burma and Indonesia were drifting from the
nation-states
almost

Feith

in the detailed empirical work of Herbert


path was also apparent
Lev on the latter country. At the same time, their analysis reflected
and universalising
orientation
of modernisation
theory and its ahistorical
an
terms
of its inability to recapitulate
the Indonesian
trajectory in
evaluating

democratic

modern

and Daniel

the elitist

approach,
idealised version of the North
While
North American

path to modernity.40
such as Geertz were concerned with
social scientists
the
was
new
the
US
the
of
of
nation
Indonesia,
government
playing a
integrative prospects
as
to
its
efforts
destabilise
of
of
the
late
in
the
rebellions
role
1950s,
part
supporting
key
the Sukarno regime. The 'loss' of China in 1949 had a powerful
impact on the thinking
Eisenhower

of President

the victory
they believed
Truman
administration's

American

In particular,
and his Secretary of State lohn Foster Dulles.
in large measure
from the
revolution
flowed
of the Chinese
the
territorial
with
integrity of
preoccupation
maintaining

of the
and political
with
the obvious military
superiority
that Sukarno's non-aligned
combined with the assumption
outlook,
that
Communist
and alliance with the Indonesian
Party (PKI) were evidence

when

China

communists.
policy
he was

confronted

This

leading Indonesia
Eisenhower
administration's

38 Clifford

'The

in Old

new

Geertz,
societies and

Macmillan,
39 Ibid.,
40 Herbert

pp.

1963), pp.
153-7.

integrative
states: The

128-31,

of the
the centrepiece
in the late
in Indonesia

the communist
bloc, formed
a series of rebellions
to
approach

into

revolution:

Primordial

quest for modernity

sentiments
in Asia

and

and Africa,

civil politics
ed. Clifford

in the new
Geertz

states',

(London:

139.

Feith, The decline


of constitutional
to Guided
S. Lev, The transition
1962); Daniel
Modern
Indonesia
1966).
Project,

democracy
Democracy:

in Indonesia
Indonesian

(Ithaca:
politics

Cornell
1957-1959

University
(Ithaca:

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Press,
Cornell

AND

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

437

NATION-BUILDING

Government
1950s: the Pemerintahan
Revolusioner
(Revolutionary
Republik Indonesia
in
Sumatra
Semesta
Alam
and Piagam Perjuangan
of the Republic
of Indonesia-PRRI)
in Sulawesi, primarily under the leadership of
(Universal Struggle Charter-Permesta)
army officers.
disgruntled
The emergence
of the PRRI and Permesta revolts was driven to a significant degree
were a
In particular,
the movements
by the struggle between Left and Right in Indonesia.
response to the resurgence of the PKI, which was growing in influence by the late 1950s
and increasingly arguing that the national revolution needed to be completed by break
on comprador
elements. View
ing the nation's ties with imperialism and its dependence
as
an
even
to
the
rebellions
destabilise
and
opportunity
ing
possibly
topple Sukarno's
covert support
considerable
provided
increasingly left-leaning government, Washington
to the ultimately unsuccessful
In 1957-8 it initiated a covert CIA-led opera
rebellions.
tion involving the US Navy and elements of the US Air Force which was larger in scale
and scope than the much better known
(though no more successful) Bay of Pigs opera
in Indonesia,
Cuba in the early 1960s. However,
these conflicts
an
were
ethnic
still
about reconfiguring
component,
certainly having
primarily
it up (as was the case in Burma, for
the Indonesian
nation-state
rather than breaking
this period, and in contrast to later years, a strong commitment
to
example). Throughout
national unity survived across the political spectrum in Indonesia.41
tion against Castro's

while

the Cold War and nation-building


II: 1960-75
Decolonisation,
inSoutheast
The challenge of guerrilla communism
Asia II:Creating
the 'bone
structure of a modern nation'
The work on nation-building
theorists
by Pye, Geertz and other modernisation
reflected the growing concern
in the 1960s about the future of the new nations. This
in American
intersected with an increased emphasis
foreign policy circles
symbolised
by the election of John F. Kennedy, who
sought to revitalise and reorient US anti
- on
a
more
communist
the
for
need
ambitious nation-building
globalism
strategy. This
in Asia (as well as Latin America,
involved taking the initiative
the Middle
East and
to
counter
via
the communist
threat
the infusion of increased levels of military
Africa)
and economic
aid, advice and support. As already suggested, the country that best encap
sulated US nation-building
In a keynote
efforts in the early 1960s was South Vietnam.
a
on
atWest Point
18 April 1963, attended by Lucian Pye among
address to conference
Rostow declared that the key to winning
the guerrilla war in South
others, Walt Whitman
Vietnam was to Create at forced-draft
the bone structure of amodern
nation'.42 Rostow's
career signified the important connection
between
theories of nation-building,
moder
nisation and national development
In
and US geopolitical
1950s
after
1945.
the
strategy
he was closely associated with CENIS, an important nexus for development
economics
theory that was established

and modernisation

41

only

CIA

The

The

policy:

one

is discussed
in Audrey
operation
secret Eisenhower
and Dulles
debacle

significant

revolt

by a group

atMIT

R. Kahin
in Indonesia

and George McT.


(New York: New

the new

state of Indonesia

that rejected

ment in 1950 to establish the Republic of the South Moluccas,


colonial

army;
decolonization

and Mark
T.
Aspinall
the limits of the nation-state

Edward
and

in 1951. MIT

had already emerged

as foreign
Subversion
1995), p. 75. There was
move
a short-lived
outright:
Kahin,

Press,

led primarily by troops from the old Dutch

'The breakup
of Indonesia?
Nationalisms
after
Berger,
in post-Cold
War
Southeast
Asia', Third World Quarterly:

Journal of Emerging Areas, 22, 6 (2001): 1006.


42 Quoted

in Gilman,

'Paving

the world',

p.

11.

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MARK

438

T. BERGER

as the biggest defence contractor of any American


university by the end ofWorld War II,
a position
it occupied
the Cold War and after
(followed closely by Stanford) throughout
atMIT,
ward. Following CENIS's establishment
it initially focused its research activities,
to Rostow, on the 'study of communist
societies and the study of problems of
according
social
and
economic,
development
political'.43
Rostow, who served in the research and analysis branch of the OSS during the war,
became an advisor to Kennedy
(then a Senator) at the end of the 1950s. He went on to
be chair of the Policy Planning Staff in the State Department
admin
during the Kennedy
as
as
an
to
well
advisor
President
Vietnam
the
istration,
War; he was
lohnson during
in
National
Advisor
1966.
Max
who was on
Meanwhile,
Millikan,
Security
appointed
serve
as
to
1940s
and early 1950s in order
leave from MIT in the late
Assistant Director of
Economic
CENIS,

Research at the CIA, returned


a position he held until his death

to academia
in 1952 to become
in 1969.44
such as Millikan
and Rostow

the director

of

advocated
and
By the late 1950s CENIS luminaries
in
shift
US
from
the
the
Soviet
Union
with
away
symbolised
foreign policy
containing
direct military
force (at a time when
the Soviet Union
had begun developing
atomic
in
and
the
Africa
and
via
towards
initiative
Latin
America
infu
Asia,
taking
weaponry)
set of national
and military
aid as part of an increasingly
sions of economic
ambitious
and counter-insurgency
development
A
non-communist
manifesto
growth:

The stages of economic


Rostow's
programmes.
more
than any other single
(1960) encapsulated,
to
modernist
and
the
anti-communist
text,
approach
high
nation-building
emanating
was 'a kind of
in the early 1960s. Rostow
from Washington
argued that communism
can befall a transitional
disease which
those
society if it fails to organise
effectively
He
itwhich are prepared to get on the with the job of modernisation'.
elements within
'
on
north' to Tace and deal with the challenge implicit in the
called
[us] of the democratic
... at the full stretch of our moral commitment,
our energy,
[theory]
stages-of-growth
and

our

resources'.45

to facilitate
and state intervention
Rostow
advocated
government
planning
movement
nation through his five stages to reach ctake-off. However,
of a developing
contrast to some of the more
of development
structuralist
economics,
proponents

the
in
his

character of the historical


and contemporary
approach tended to ignore the hierarchical
international
Of
like
all
his
course,
economists,
development
political economy.
virtually
was
as
He
and
nation-states
units
ahistorical
technocratic.
took
natural
of
approach
numerous
a wider
while
the
historical
that
international
order,
overlooking
changes
of the Marshallian
in
The political
Rostow,
economy
'Development:
long period',
Seers (Oxford: Oxford
Press
and Dudley
for
the
ed. Gerald M. Meier
in development,
University
science: The military
and American
World
Leslie, The Cold War
Bank,
1984), p. 241. See also Stuart W.
atMIT
York:
Columbia
and
industrial-academic
Press,
1993), pp. 11-2.
(New
University
Stanford
complex
43 Walt

Whitman

Pioneers

was conducted
at the
was provided
at MIT
begin
catalyst for CENIS
by Project Troy, which
War
in
and
the
Cold
annexation
the
social
Allan
of
1950s;
Needell,
sciences',
'Project Troy
ning
ed. Christopher
and politics
in the social sciences during
Universities
and empire: Money
the Cold War,
(New York: The New Press,
1998), pp. 23-4.
Simpson
on Millikan,
see
Western
44 Pearce,
economists
societies:
and Eastern
Rostow,
Rosen,
Kennedy;
George

An

immediate
of

the

Agents
of change
45 Walt Whitman
Cambridge
Freedman,
pp. 27-31.

in South Asia,
Rostow,

University
Kennedy's

1950-1970
The

stages

Press,
1960), pp.
wars: Berlin, Cuba,

Johns Hopkins
(Baltimore:
University
of economic
growth: A non-Communist
context
162-7. The broader
of the book
Laos

and Vietnam

(New York:

Oxford

Press,

1985),

manifesto
is discussed
University

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

pp.

27-9.

(New York:
in Lawrence
Press,

2000),

DECOLONISATION,

MODERNISATION

AND

439

NATION-BUILDING

of emergent
in the eighteenth
the industrialisation
nation-states
and
distinguished
centuries from developing
nations of the twentieth.
nineteenth
By the time The stages of economic growth was published, Rostow and Millikan were
on
In January 1960, the US Senate Committee
serving as advisors to Senator Kennedy.
a
a
was
Relations
which
received
it
commis
had
(of
member)
report
Foreign
Kennedy
sioned

from CENIS entitled


social and political change in the underdevel
'Economic,
countries
and
its
for
United
States policy'. The authors expounded
the
oped
implications
on the importance
CENIS perspective
of the developing
nations for US foreign policy.
were that American
The report's main recommendations
aid should
foreign economic
on a 'long-term'
be disbursed
and 'unlinked' basis following
clear economic
criteria.
to continue
in agriculture,
needed
and land reform
assistance,
particularly
It emphasised
needed to be promoted.
that the US needed to coordinate
the distribution
of aid with other donor governments
in the developed world and that a corps of develop
ment professionals
should be established. Aid for particular
capital-intensive
projects,
it was argued, should be increased and spread over a number of projects to facilitate a
nations. A revised and expanded version of the report was
'big push' in the developing
was
in
it
edited
and Donald Blackmer, and included chapters
1961;
published
by Millikan
and
Rostow
others.46
by
Pye, among
Technical

The challenge of 'guerrilla communism'


inSoutheast
Asia III:South Vietnam
more
Nowhere
the
administration
did
focus
energy on the challenge of
Kennedy
than in South Vietnam,
where
the US-backed
guerrilla communism
nation-building
initiative entered a new phase with the end of the Eisenhower
presidency. This new phase
also flowed in significant measure
from changes to the situation in South Vietnam
itself
in 1954, which
the Geneva Conference
by the end of the 1950s. Following
temporarily
Viet Minh
the communist-led
to the
had withdrawn
Vietnam,
partitioned
militarily
to live in the South.
and supporters continued
North, but a large number of itsmembers
In 1959, in part as a result of growing pressure
from Southern members,
the Party
in
to
Hanoi
took
the
decision
in
armed
In
South
Vietnam.
support
leadership
struggle
1960 the National
a
December
Liberation Front of South Vietnam
front
(NLF),
popular
on the Viet Minh, was established
to spearhead the guerrilla war;
organisation modelled
the fighting between
the NLF and the South Vietnamese
regime increased steadily over
the following year.47
In response,
the Strategic Hamlet
of Washing
the 'centerpiece'
Program became
on the experience
ton's policy towards South Vietnam
in 1962-3. Drawing
of previous
French colonial initiatives, earlier efforts by the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem
as
(1955-63),
well as British counter-insurgency
in
in
the 1950s, the Kennedy
programmes
Malaya
Administration
and facilitated the removal of peasants from widely disper
encouraged
sed villages, placing them in concentrated
settlements which could be controlled more
in Saigon. Washington's
commitment
directly by the government
in
the
fact
that
the
State
almost
scheduled
apparent
Department
46

The

Blackmer
CENIS

emerging
(Boston:

nations:

Their

Little,

Brown

and United
States policy,
growth
and Company,
1961); Gilman,

ed. Max
'Paving

to this programme was


to be spent
$90 million

F. Millikan
the world',

and Donald
Ch.

L. M.

4, discusses

the

paper.

47 Carlyle Thayer, War


liberation
and revolution
in Vietnam,
1954-60
by other means: National
a war: Vietnam,
Allen & Unwin,
the
United
States and modern
Kolko, Anatomy
1989); Gabriel
of
2nd edn (New York: New Press,
1994), pp. 80-108.
experience,

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

(Sydney:
historical

440

T. BERGER

MARK

on Strategic Hamlet programmes


for fiscal year 1963. Using this strategy, the US Military
or at least seriously weaken
Assistance Command
and
USAID
(MACV)
sought to blockthe NLF's ability to get intelligence,
food and other supplies, as well as recruits from the
Southern population.
They also sought to inculcate new ideas about national citizenship
that were centred on loyalty to the government
of South Vietnam.
In 1962 it initially appeared as if the Strategic Hamlets were undermining
the influ
ence of the NLF; however,
to counter
the guerrillas acted rapidly and effectively
this
trend. The NLF promised
the peasants
many of whom were, not surprisingly, hostile to
the forced labour demands
and other coercive aspects of the US-backed
resettlement,
that following
the revolution
programme
they would be allowed to return to their old
in the hamlets.
In a wider
attacks on and recruitment
villages. It also intensified military
the Strategic Hamlet
failed because US officials and advisors
sense, however,
Program
were unable or unwilling
to examine the ideas on which
it rested. The assumption
that
and values could be eradicated, or at least revised, to fit anti-communist
as the war deepened. After
and
modernising
nation-building
goals remained entrenched
in a military
the overthrow
and assassination
of Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu
was
term
in
the
hamlet'
from
November
excised
1963,
coup
'strategic
counterinsurgency
did little but
discourse, but subsequent efforts to resettle and control the rural population
rural practices

rework

the basic modernisation

framework

that underpinned

the failed programme

of

1962-3.48

successors were
regime, the Strategic Hamlet
Program's
over
US
full-scale
warfare.
The
had
that
Diem's
by
hoped
increasingly
in
the
of
South
throw would
the
deterioration
the
Vietnam;
however,
improve
stability
US
the
the
for
the
escalation
of
involvement
situation
coup paved
way
military
following
and direct military
intervention
by 1965. This led in turn to immense human, material
After

the end of the Diem


overshadowed

but failed to solve the fundamental


destruction,
political problems
of South Vietnam.
The pervasive
of the Saigon regime and the fragile nation-state
reliance on the US generated growing possibilities
for
and political
economic, military
that completely
shredded the South Vietnamese
and private corruption
governmental
credentials. The war became a business opportunity
for many
nationalist
government's
a significant number
elite in Saigon. While
members
of the wealthy
and well-connected
of people in the South were hostile to the communists,
they also lost interest in fighting
and environmental

in
corrupt and despotic US-backed
regime in Saigon. Furthermore,
a modern
in the southern half of Vietnam,
nation-state
US policy
identified with the culturally and his
makers overlooked
the fact that many Southerners
was
Vietnam
than the post-1954
that
delineated
nation
of
larger
polity presided
torically
over by Diem and his successors.49
for the increasingly
the effort to build

I:Reorientation
and revision
theory and nation-building
Military modernisation
to the search for theories of modernisation
A continued
and strategies
commitment
in the work of a number of
relevance was apparent
with universal
of nation-building
modernisation
the war

theorists

in Vietnam

in the 1960s and

provided

the backdrop

as ideology,
Latham, Modernization
see Richard
A. Hunt,
thetic assessment

Pacification:

Press,
(Boulder: Westview
49 Latham, Modernization

p.

48

1995).
as ideology,

pp.

153-4,

161; Kolko,

1970s. Observers

have

for the consolidation


203-4.

180-2,
197-8,
The American

Anatomy

For

frequently argued that


of what is sometimes
a broader

and more

struggle for Vietnam's


of

a war,

pp.

111-25,

hearts

208-30,

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sympa
and minds

654-7.

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

AND

441

NATION-BUILDING

it
the politics-of-order
approach, or military modernisation
theory. In particular,
is often held that as a result of an increasing number of challenges to US nation-building
and organisations
that could provide order became
efforts, the creation of institutions
the key issue for modernisation
theorists during the 1960s. In the context of the promi
nent role of the military
in politics in Asia and beyond this led to growing interest in the
a
as
force'.50
'military
modernising
in
1959 article that sought to direct attention to South
his
well-known
Guy Pauker,
east Asia, warned against the 'liberal tradition' of the United States which made
'it repug
nant to contemplate
elements'.51 By 1962 his views had
regimes controlled
by military
become more explicit in their emphasis on a military
solution,
rejecting psychological
theories of nation-building
and the preoccupation
with winning
'hearts and minds'
that
was ostensibly
at the time. At a conference on
the key to 'constructive counterinsurgency'
called

'The US Army's Limited War Mission


and Social Science Research' held at American
in
in
Pauker told those in attendance
about new
mid-1962,
University
Washington
research at the Rand Corporation
the prevailing emphasis on social and
that challenged
economic
reformism
and psychological
in Cold War
approaches
counterinsurgency
in Southeast Asia and beyond.52
campaigns
While
Pauker's views were out of step with the presentations
of the other partici
in
in
the
the
shift
from
to
'constructive
conference,
pants
emphasis
counterinsurgency'
'coercive counterinsurgency'
that was being advocated by the social science division at
the Rand Corporation
in
eventually became the 'intellectual prop' for direct intervention
South Vietnam

after 1965. As the 1960s unfolded,


the US
by the Johnson administration
or
with
of
the
at
intellectuals
based
affiliated with the Rand
government,
support
policy
theorists, was increasingly
Corporation
along with other modernisation
formulating
and/or acting on what some observers have called 'military modernisation
theory'.53 As
the decade progressed,
of the modernising
role of the military
in Asia and
proponents
elsewhere
the
of
officers
and
emphasised
importance
increasingly
cultivating military
an
to
as
the
central
role
the
in
could
pointed
organisation
military
play
nation-building
and the provision
of order.54

50 Henry
to contemporary
'The background
and modernization',
in The mili
Bienen,
study of militaries
ed. Henry
Bienen
1971 ), p. 7. For one such analysis,
see
tary and modernization,
(Chicago: Aldine Atherton,
Donal
Cruise O'Brien,
and the erosion
of a democratic
ideal: American
'Modernization,
order,
political
in Development
science
Lehmann
Frank Cass,
1960-1970',
(London:
theory: Four critical essays, ed. David
1979), p. 50.
51 Pauker,
'Southeast Asia as problem
area', p. 343.
52 Robin, Making
enemy, pp. 189-90.
of the Cold War

53 Gabriel Kolko, Confronting the Third World: United States foreign policy 1945-1980 (New York:

Pantheon,
Cold War

1988),
enemy,

54

pp.

132-4;

pp. 189-90,
see William

the shift

in counterinsurgency

perspective

is discussed

in Robin,

Making

of the

196.

For example,
Armed forces
in the new states (London: Oxford
Press,
Gutteridge,
University
The role of the military
in underdeveloped
ed. John J. Johnson
Princeton
countries,
(Princeton:
The military
in the political
new nations: An essay
Press,
Janowitz,
1962); Morris
University
development
of
in comparative
of Chicago
institu
Press,
1964); William
analysis
(Chicago: University
Gutteridge,
Military
tions and power
in the new states (New York: Praeger,
'Indonesia:
The age of
J. Pauker,
1965); and Guy
1962);

see an article
133-47. Also
to Indonesia,
Survey, 8, 2 (1968):
by the former US ambassador
that the 'greatest encouragement
for the future' of Indonesia
'remains
the character
and
of the leaders of the New Order';
'Indonesia:
Year of the pragmatists',
Asian
John M. Allison,
intelligence
was less optimistic
137. A year later Allison
but still very supportive
in his 'Indonesia:
Survey, 9, 2 (1969):
The end of the beginning?',
2 (1970):
Asian
143-51.
10,
Survey,

reason?', Asian
who
enthused

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MARK

442

T. BERGER

is generally
Samuel Huntington
the shift from classical modernisation

seen as one of the most

of
exponents
prominent
with
its
its
orientation
and
theory,
psychological
to the politics-of-order
and military modernisation

apparent emphasis on democracy,


political science, Huntington
theory. A major figure in North American
began his career
as an undergraduate
an MA at the University
at Yale in the 1940s. He completed
of
Chicago and then did his Ph.D. at Harvard,
In the 1950s and 1960s he acted in various
and to the Democratic

government
Trilateral Commission.
academics,
to develop

Japanese

where

he remained

consultant

as amember

and advisory
In the 1970s he developed

of the staff.

capacities to the US
close links with the

Party.
in 1973 by prominent North American,
European and
and corporate heads, the Commission
had as its major
politicians
a cohesive
and semi-permanent
alliance embracing
the world's
(Founded

objective
democracies
major capitalist-industrial
their interests.) He was on the Trilateral
and authored the section on the United

in order to better promote


stability and protect
Task Force on the Governability
of Democracies
in
Force
States
the well-known
Task
report, The

crisis of democracy. Huntington


served on the National
the
Security Council
during
1978
to
in
become
the
Center
for
Director
of
the
administration,
August
resigning
International Affairs at Harvard University.55
wrote about the military
In the 1950s and early 1960s Huntington
in politics. His

Carter

as a theorist of political development


and modernisation
that
(a reputation
reputation
with Political
had first been established with The soldier and the state) was consolidated
in 1968.56 The book was exceedingly
order in changing societies, which first appeared
influential.
dramatic
or many

as Paul Cammack
and Irene L. Gendzier have argued, itwas not as
However,
a departure from earlier trends in modernisation
theory as either Huntington
are to
main
ideas and propositions
other observers have suggested. Many of its

be found
work

while

continued

55

Samuel

Trilateral
brief

in earlier books. What Huntington


did, however,
or might
on
what
predicting
might
focusing
order
and
social
stability.57
political

to synthesise
not be necessary

this earlier
to ensure

on the
to the
Report
governability
of democracies
and a
Press,
1975). For biographical
background
D. Kaplan,
the world
in the eye', Atlantic
'Looking
can be found
in Colin
and the
Leys, 'Samuel Huntington

et al, The crisis of democracy:


(New York: New York University
see Robert
main works,
of Huntington's

Huntington
Commission

discussion

was

288, 5 (2001): 68-82.


Monthly,
end of classical modernization

Other

discussion

to the sociology
in Introduction
ed. Hamza
societies',
theory',
of 'developing
Randall
and Robin
and Teodor
Shanin
Alavi
Theobald,
1983), pp. 332-49;
(London: Macmillan,
Vicky
to Third World
A critical introduction
Political
(London: Macmillan,
politics
change and underdevelopment:
and US hegemony
Studies
in
Under Northern
T. Berger,
1985), pp. 67-98; Mark
eyes: Latin American
and
1898-1990
Indiana
the Americas
Press,
129-30;
Gill,
1995),
pp.
University
Stephen
(Bloomington:
American
56

Samuel

hegemony

and

the Trilateral

Commission

(Cambridge:
Cambridge
in changing
societies
(New Haven:
and the state: The theory and politics
of civil-military
ed. Samuel
1957); Changing
patterns
politics,
of military

Huntington,
The soldier

Political

order

Huntington,
Press,
University
Press,
1962).
57 Cammack,
Capitalism

Press,
1990).
University
Yale University
Press,
1968);
Harvard
relations
(Cambridge:
Huntington

(New

York:

Free

and democracy,
Gendzier,
pp. 2, 36-7,52-4;
Managing
political
change, pp. 42-7.
in his 'Political
1968 book was foreshadowed
and political
of Huntington's
development
in North
A survey of university
and college
instructors
386-430.
17, 3 (1965):
Politics,
60 per cent of the academics
Political
that almost
in the early 1970s reported
America
surveyed
regarded
on
as the 'most
and modernisation
book
societies
order in changing
development
important'
political
The

argument
decay', World

and Margaret
Kenski,
Gorgan
Teaching
theory; Henry C. Kenski
A survey (Tucson: University
of Arizona
American
universities:

and modernization
development
political
Press,
1974), pp. 9-10.

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at

DECOLONISATION,

MODERNISATION

AND

443

NATION-BUILDING

held up political order as the ultimate goal of any society. In an implicit


Huntington
economics
he argued that contrary
of
and Cold War policy-makers
critique
development
to earlier expectations,
since World
the instability in Asia and the rest of the Third World
IIwas primarily the result of'rapid
of new
social change and the rapid mobilisation
with
into
slow
In his
the
of
institutions'.
groups
development
politics coupled
political
this point, because Washington
had
view, US foreign policy since 1945 had missed
focused on the 'economic gap' and ignored the 'political gap' because of the assumption
in North America
that political
from 'social reform' stimulated
stability flowed
by
economic development.
He argued that itwas actually the process of modernisation
that

War

was the 'road to political


in political
instability. For Huntington
organisation
as
as
well
the
of
'foundation
While
the
'vacuum of power and
power'
political stability'.
was
seen
to
exist in 'so many modernising
countries may be filled
authority' which
or
charismatic
he
contended
that it could
force',
temporarily by
leadership
by military
'be
filled
only
permanently'
by 'political organisation'.58
resulted

Much
modernisation

of Huntington's
emphasis can already be discerned
theorists such as Pye and Almond.
For example,

in the writing of earlier


as we have seen, a con

cern about

the neglect of the political


side of development
along with an emphasis on
were present in Pye's book on Burma,
institutions
and creating organisations
building
in relation to his discussion
which Huntington
cited approvingly
of the need for building
same
At
to the contrary, the
the
evidence
time,
political organisations.
despite growing
that economic
assumption
in US government
circles

to prevail
development
produced political stability continued
into the mid-1960s.
In fact, Huntington
directly challenged
Robert
S. McNamara's
of this view in 1966.59 As
articulation
Secretary of Defense
criticisms of McNamara's
views on the causal link between poverty and
Huntington's
between Huntington's
in Political
conclusions
instability suggest, there was a connection
order in changing societies and his work for the government
in the second half of the
1960s. From 1966-9 he was chairman of the Council on Vietnamese
Studies of USAID's
South East Asian Advisory Group.
In 1967 he spent time in South Vietnam,
after which
success there in terms of the NLF's
he wrote an article that explained
the communist
in rural areas where authority was lacking'. In his view - and
'ability to impose authority
this was amajor theme of his book as well - the appeal of communism
in South Vietnam
stemmed not from material
but
from
that
is, the lack of
poverty,
'political deprivation',
an 'effective structure of authority'.
In Huntington's
and in contrast to earlier
estimation,
writers on the subject, the rural areas could not be retaken from the communists;
in the
1965 and 1968 approximately
3million Vietnamese
three years between
had already fled
to the urban areas, especially Saigon. In South Vietnam
and elsewhere
the key to com
wars
was
to
of
to
national
liberation,
bating
according
Huntington,
adopt a policy of
'forced-draft urbanisation'
and 'modernisation',
which would quickly shift the nation
state in question
the stage where a rural-based
revolution
had any chance of
beyond
building

up enough

58 Huntington,
Political
59 Ibid., pp. 30-1
(Pye),
60 Samuel
P. Huntington,

support

order
40-1

to capture national

in changing

societies,

political

pp. vii, 4-5,

power.60

461.

(McNamara).
'The bases of

'Social science and Vietnam',


Huntington,
a
discussion
of Huntington's
work
good

644. See
accommodation',
46, 3 (1968):
Foreign Affairs,
Asian Survey, 7,8 (1967): 503-6.
Leys, 'Samuel Huntington',
and the Vietnam
War.

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also
has

444

MARK

T. BERGER

of Huntington
The draconian prescriptions
and other modernisation
theorists who
order as the primary objective held out the possibility
that successful nation
in South Vietnam
and elsewhere
remained within Washington's
power.
building
viewed

in early 1968 any idea that US power could turn South


the Tet Offensive
a viable
nation-state
and achieve military
capitalist
victory
against
For the architects of the US war in Vietnam,
the North disappeared.
the Tet Offensive
as 'a long-postponed
confrontation
with
represented what Gabriel Kolko has described
to
turn
the
of
the
Vietnam
American
effort
into
South
backdrop
failing
reality'.61 Against
a Southeast Asian version of South Korea or Taiwan
were
in
terms
War
Cold
(which
with

However,
Vietnam

into

an
book represented
similar but had very different histories), Huntington's
an
revision
It
and
of
modernisation
also
theory.
represented
important
on
or
to
the deeper
which
the US-led
assumptions
probe
unwillingness
inability
modernisation
the close
project rested. Political order in changing societies highlighted
science and the 'policy concerns of the day'. The assump
connection
between political
superficially

reorientation

of the officials who carried the US into full-scale war inVietnam were
to
that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s.62
the theories of modernisation
closely
to be constrained
modernisation
continued
revisions,
Despite
theory
by the way in
as a process in terms of a very limited number of paths
which change was conceptualised
This outlook was grounded
towards capitalist modernity.
implicitly, and often explicitly,
tions and concerns
connected

in romanticised

of the history of North America


and Western
Europe (especially
nation
The
naturalisation
of
also meshed with and rein
the
Britain).
a great deal of work on
that had come to underpin
forced the wider organic metaphors
over the
of
and
modernisation.
conceptions
development
evolutionary
Organic
glossed
use
uneven
of eco
of
the
and destructive
Meanwhile,
aspects
capitalist development.
to
nomic and political models with little regard
questions of time and place facilitated the
technocratic
between the 1940s and the 1970s of a shifting but consistently
consolidation
the US

visions

and Great

to modernisation
that universalised
and national
development
approach
cases
on
of nation-state
of
based
selective
lessons
readings
particular
nation-building
on Com
As we will see, however,
crisis and/or consolidation.
the Committee
formation,
an
not
the
of
Politics
would
survive
its
flowed
internal
from
1970s;
part
parative
undoing
a
to
to
of
its
universal
modernisation.
pretensions
provide
theory
challenge
and

elitist

II:Diversification
and decline
Military modernisation
theory and nation-building
1970s
modernisation
the
the
elaboration
of
military
theory and the politics
By
a
was
in
of
diversification
much
wider
and decline
of
of-order
process
part
approach
new
as
radical
moderate
theoretical
various
and
modernisation
challengers
theory
author
included the emergence
of the concept of bureaucratic
emerged. This process
A.
this
the
work
of
Guillermo
with
itarianism. Associated
O'Donnell,
theory had
initially
some
by the 1970s. O'Donnell
prominence
argued that in late-industrialising
gained
a
61 Kolko, Anatomy
of war,
62 D. Michael
Shafer, Deadly

p. 334.

The failure
Princeton
(Princeton:
policy
of US counterinsurgency
paradigms:
on the connection
science
and policy-making;
between
Press,
1988), p. 12, comments
political
University
see also Gilman,
War
the subject of a massive
The Vietnam
has been
Introduction.
the world',
'Paving
of the assumptions
that underpinned
evaluation
considerable
amount
of historical
scholarship,
including
see Robert
A
'US-Vietnamese
relations:
literature
US policy
in that era. On this immense
J.McMahon,
historiographical
twenty-first

relations
The study of American-East
Asian
in Pacific passage:
survey'
I. Cohen
Press,
(New York: Columbia
1996),
University
century, ed. Warren

on
pp.

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the eve of the


313-36.

AND

MODERNISATION

DECOLONISATION,

445

NATION-BUILDING

and greater,
intersected with the end of democracy
economic development
Marxism
and
than less, inequality. His approach drew on Weberian
sociology,
on
More
he
built
critically
approach and
corporatist concepts.
specifically,
Huntington's

nation-states
rather

on the early historical


Central to O'Donnell's

of modernisation
theory articulated by Barrington
was
the argument that a bureaucratic-authoritarian
analysis

critique

Moore.
state

were reached. At this


industrialisation
emerged when the limits of import-substitution
between
the
class
and the national
the
alliance
which
had
been
point
forged
working
an
to
form
alliance
the military
and
broke
down
and
the
latter
moved
with
bourgeoisie
in
A
the technocracy,
bureaucratic-authoritarianism.
central characteristic
of a
resulting
was that itwas an attempt
regime, as defined by O'Donnell,
to
to
the
their
interests and guide the
linked
transnational
protect
capital,
by
bourgeoisie,
a
commensurate
in
direction
with
their
needs.63
economy
elements of the theory of
By the second half of the 1970s, the more deterministic
were
bureaucratic-authoritarianism
(even by O'Donnell
being increasingly
challenged
bureaucratic-authoritarian

at the same time as it was being used as a relatively open conceptual


himself),
framework that provided a guide for research more than a verifiable theory. The concept
a particularly
of bureaucratic-authoritarianism
critical revision of moderni
represented
in the way
it incorporated
sation theory that went much
further than Huntington
from
Marxist
and
Marxist-derived
theories.
its
insights
Although
primary impact was on
Latin American

Studies, bureaucratic-authoritarianism
of
modernisation
and political development.
study
in
the
science towards
shift
to,
political
'bringing
for the analysis of political
important
implications

and Southeast

63 Guillermo

had

a broad

influence

on

the

a role in, or was connected


the state back in', a shift that had

It played

and economic

in Northeast

change

Asia.64

A. O'Donnell,

Modernization

and

of California

Institute

bureaucratic-authoritarianism:
of International

Studies

in South American

'Modern
1973); O'Donnell,
and
in
the
Armies
and
in Latin
case',
comparisons
Argentine
Theory,
politics
F. Lowenthal
ed. Abraham
and Meier,
America,
(New York: Holmes
O'Donnell,
1976), pp. 96-133;
and the question
of the state',
in Authoritarianism
and corporatism
in Latin America,
ed.
'Corporatism
on
of Pittsburgh
'Reflections
James M. Malloy
Press,
1977), pp. 47-88; O'Donnell,
(Pittsburgh:
University
in the bureaucratic-authoritarian
the patterns
of change
Research
state', Latin American
Review,
13, 1
politics
ization

(Berkeley: University
and military
coups:

(1978):
in The

3-38; O'Donnell,
new authoritarianism

1979),

pp.

285-318;
(Berkeley:

perspective
his Social

in the bureaucratic-authoritarian

'Tensions
in Latin

ed. David
Collier
America,
Bureaucratic-authoritarianism:

and O'Donnell,
of California
University

and democracy:
origins of dictatorship
Press,
1966).
64 Dwight
Y. King,
New
'Indonesia's
Order

Studies,

state and
(New York:

Argentina
Moore
Press,
1988). Barrington
in the making
Lord and peasant

the question
of democracy',
Columbia
Press,
University
1966-1973
in comparative
are found
in
Jr.'s arguments
(Boston:
of the modern world

Beacon

bureaucratic-authoritarian
Thirteen

contributions

Indonesia
state

thesis:

Project,
The

regime:
to the debate,

1982),
case of

What

as a bureaucratic

difference

ed. Benedict

does

Anderson

a
or a
neopatrimonial
polity,
regime,
it make?',
in Interpreting
Indonesian
politics:
and Audrey
Kahin
(Ithaca: Cornell Modern

'A critique
Fermin D. Adriano,
of the bureaucratic
authoritarian
pp. 104-16;
the Philippines',
Arief
14, 4 (1984):
Asia,
459-84;
Journal
of Contemporary
in Indonesia',
industrialisation
in Dependency
issues in Korean
ed.
development,

'The state and


Budiman,
Kim Kyong-Dong
(Seoul: National

University

Press,

1987);

Stephan

Haggard,

Pathways

from

the periphery:

The politics of growth in theNewly Industrializing Countries (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990),
For critiques
of the theory,
pp. 254-70.
thesis and priorities
for future research',
Press,
(New York: Columbia
University
'Bureaucratic-authoritarianism

revisited',

see David
in The

'The bureaucratic-authoritarian
Collier,
new authoritarianism
in Latin America,

model:
ed. David

and Karen L. Remmer


and Gilbert W.
1979), pp. 363-97;
Latin American
Research
17, 2 (1982): 3-40.
Review,

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Syn
Collier
Merkx,

MARK

446

The

T. BERGER

shift towards

the state back

in' followed
from the diversification
of
on
the
decline
of
the
Committee
theory generally
Comparative
in Charles Tilly's
influential
specifically. These changes were apparent
on state formation
was
inWestern
which
the
Committee.65
Europe,
sponsored by
'bringing

modernisation
Politics more

and

project
This project flowed from the Committee's
hope that Western
European
examples could
be used to 'test and refine' the theories of modernisation
and political development
they
was also concerned
in relation to the developing world. The Committee
had generated
as part of
in significance
that the study of European
politics was steadily declining
The proposed
project on Europe was at least
via its inclusion in the study
studies
European political
in the non-European
world.

the sub-discipline
of comparative
an
attempt to rejuvenate
partially
of political

politics.

development
for Lucian Pye, who was by this point Chair of
Tilly's study was a disappointment
to provide
sustenance
the Committee,
because
of its failure
for the
particularly
was
and
that
the
hallmark
of
ahistorical
approach
political development
universalising
theory. The book crystallised the tension between political science and history in relation
- a tension
to the study of state formation
and nation-building
centred on the universal
in
the particular. At the same time, its emphasis on the role of conflict and violence
state formation and in the emergence of nation-states
in Europe represented a critique of
of social change central to modernisation
the evolutionary
and organic
conception
and
political development
theory more
theory generally
specifically. By the time Tilly's
the
field
of
under
way,
political development
theory was breaking down. In
project got
was
on
Politics
wound
the
Committee
fact,
up in 1972, while The formation
Comparative
was
states
in
Western
his
three years later. Ultimately
national
Europe
only published
of
versus

social science in the 1970s in


the growing interest in North American
study symbolised
was
to political change. This shift
formalised with the forma
state-centred
approaches
on States and Social Structures, which
tion in 1983 of the SSRC's Committee
sponsored
an edited volume entitled Bringing the state back in.66
the fall of Saigon, by which
time
in North America. How
such as political
science,
important position of political scientists as

The publication
of Tilly's book coincided
Southeast Asian Studies in general had declined
ever, itwas specific disciplines within Southeast
that were

the most

dramatically

affected.

The

with

in significance
Asian Studies,

states in Western
ed. Charles
Princeton
65 The formation
(Princeton:
Europe,
Tilly
University
of national
Press,
1975).
in Bringing
of analysis
in current
the
the state back in: Strategies
66 Theda
research',
Skocpol,
'Bringing
et al (New York: Cambridge
3-43.
state back in, ed. Peter B. Evans
For
other
Press,
1985),
pp.
University
see Steven
in the Middle
in War,
and social change
East',
discussions,
'War, institutions,
Heydemann,
and

institutions,
Press,

2000),

social
5-7,

pp.

East, ed. Steven Heydemann


change in theMiddle
(Berkeley:
28-9. Of course,
revisions
of modernisation
other
important

the tradition-modernity
and challenged
grounded
the persistence
cultural
transformation,
emphasising
of political
cultures.
This approach
the historical
specificity

historically
unilinear

and

from

the transition

about

that

all

I. Rudolph
(Chicago:
politics
Looking

'modern'
and

Susanne

University
of developing
to the future,

to modernity,
but involved
are a mix
of the 'traditional'

tradition

societies
Hoeber

Rudolph,
Press,
1967);

The

modernity
Barbara Geddes,

of Chicago
in Comparative
areas',
politics,
policy,
vol. two), ed. William
(Evanston:
Crotty

dichotomy
of traditional

and

of California

University

were
also more
theory
earlier assumptions
about

institutions

and outlooks

and

was not
that modernisation
argued
simply
the modernising
and adapting
of tradition,
and
of

the

'modern'.

tradition:

and
'Paradigms
and international
Northwestern

for example,
Lloyd
in India
development
in comparative
castles

See,

Political
sand

relations

University

(Political
Press,

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1991),

science:
p. 49.

DECOLONISATION,

MODERNISATION

AND

447

NATION-BUILDING

1962 and
Between
recipients of the SSRC's FAFP grants has already been mentioned.
1964 political
for work on Southeast Asia were by far the most
science applications
numerous
to be received by the FAFP, and as US involvement
in Vietnam
deepened,
at least 50 per cent of all applications.
science proposals
Between
political
represented
as in the previous
1968 and 1970 political
science applications
remained as numerous
from anthropologists
overtook
however,
subsequently,
three-year period;
proposals
to the FAFP for support for
those from political scientists. Political science applications
to a historically
work on Southeast Asia then descended
low level in 1974-6.67
The relative retreat of North
end of the Vietnam

War

American
to the way

political scientists from Southeast


in which US failure in Vietnam

Asia by the
led to the

points
redirection of the modernising
of political scientists. In effect, for practitio
expectations
ners of modernisation
theory itwas not the theory itself that was seen to have failed, but
South Vietnam
specifically, and even Southeast Asia more generally. Instead of exploring
the reasons for that failure, political
scientists
turned their attention
either
elsewhere,
or
the
late
the
Countries
1970s,
geographically
By
thematically.
Newly
Industrialising
(NICs) of East Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore were attracting
success of Thailand
interest. By the 1980s the economic
and Malaysia
(and
growing
latterly Indonesia and coastal China) was being studied and celebrated by key moder
nisation
theorists such as Lucian Pye, often via revised theories of modernisation.
With
seen as having finally
the end of the Cold War, Vietnam
has also been increasingly
discovered

the path to capitalist modernity.68

Conclusion
trend
theory emerged as the most significant conceptual
area
in political science and
studies. This article has examined
the history ofthat
theory
from the 1940s to the 1970s with a focus on Southeast Asia, emphasising
the way inwhich
the Cold War, nation-building
and the growing power of the US were
decolonisation,
central to the consolidation
of the modern
idea of political and economic
development.
While modernisation
and political development
theory played an important role in the
In the 1950s modernisation

formalisation
of the study of Southeast Asia in this period, the dramatic transitions from
colonies to nation-states
in that region and the deepening war in what had been French
were
turn
in
Indochina
of modernisation
pivotal to the rise and transformation
theory.
same
a
At the
central contradiction
of modernisation
time,
theory, and of the wider
modernisation
took the
US-sponsored
project, was the way in which
they uncritically
as the key unit of analysis.
nation-state
The Cold War

but was also contingent


conditioned,
upon, the world
profoundly
of
decolonisation
and
the
universalisation
of
the
nation-state
process
system.
ensured that theories of modernisation
and political development
and approaches

historical
This

to nation-building
had important connections
with
characterised
by important new ideas and practices

67

Philpott,
Rethinking
68 Gerard Greenfield,
rise of East Asia: Critical

Routledge,
(Cambridge:

Indonesia,

pp. 115-17.
visions
of Asia's

the colonial period, but were


on the universalisation

centred

next tiger: Vietnam


'Fragmented
visions of the Pacific Century,
ed. Mark T. Berger
Lucian Pye's Asian power and politics:
The
1997), pp. 124-47.
Harvard
ten years after the
Press,
1985) appeared
University

and

also
of

the Pacific Century',


in The
and Douglas
A. Borer
(London:
cultural dimensions
of authority
fall of Saigon.

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448

MARK

T. BERGER

in the Cold War era was increasingly


the nation-state
system. US and Soviet globalism
a
in world of ostensibly
and the theories of modern
sovereign nation-states,
pursued
that emerged and were revised were more distinct from
isation and political development
and imperial ideas about progress than is often argued. The shift from
and national devel
theories of progress to Cold War theories of nation-building
was
more
reorientation
of modernisation
the
than
far
important
subsequent
opment
on
an
to
At
the same time,
1960s
order.
in
from
the
democracy
political
emphasis
theory
in
1960s
the
reflected
of
theories
the waning
of psychological
development
political
to
to
in the
revision
continue
be subject
would
the fact that theories of modernisation
earlier

colonial

colonial

context

of the wider

dynamics

of the Cold War

and the nation-state

system.

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