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Soviet Politico-Military Initiative In The Pacific And
Indian Oceans And Its Ramifications On Southwest Asia
CSC 1987
SUBJECT AREA History
Author Major Low Hian Tiong
SOVIET POLITICO-MILITARY INITIATIVE IN THE PACIFIC AND
INDIAN OCEANS AND ITS RAMIFICATIONS ON SOUTHEAST ASIA
                    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
     Since the fall of Vietnam in 1975, the Soviet Union has
supported Vietnam with the aim of using it as both a
political and military counterweight to China.  On a global
scale, it aims to maintain Vietnam as a forward base to
challenge US supremacy and influence in East and Southeast
Asia.  During the past 10 years, the Russians have made
significant progress in gaining a firm foothold in IndoChina
in terms of the establishment of permanent military bases
notably, Danang, Bien Hoa, Cam Ranh and Kompong Son.  Its
naval presence in the area ie., Pacific and Indian Oceans,
has been significantly strengthened.  Though its presence is
considered benign in its current status, it is a growing
menace and has caused ripples of concern amongst non-communist
countries in Southeast Asia, particularly ASEAN.
     Given that the threat perceptions amongst the ASEAN
countries vary, there has been re-evaluation as a result of
the current expansion of Soviet presence in the area.
Needless to say, a general consensus on the issue will reflect
one important regional objective -- ASEAN solidarity and
committment towards regional stability.
     There is no doubt that the Soviets will continue with
the build-up of their forces in the Asian region.  A viable
framework for US policies in Southeast Asia should emphasize
a balance between military strength and alliance relation-
ship, on the one hand, and efforts to establish and reinforce
economic and political relationships particularly with
potential adversaries.  The establishment of a relationship
between the United States and Vietnam could stabilize the
situation, making it less likely that Moscow will be able
to gain further military, economic and political expansion
in IndoChina.  The most significant result of this
"rappochment" could mean greater military and political
stability in Southeast Asia, a major foreign policy objective
which all governments of ASEAN would look forward to in
the foreseeable future.
                        OUTLINE
THESIS STATEMENT  The aim of this paper is to examine the
current Soviet politico-military initiative in the Pacific
and Indian Oceans and its ramifications on Southeast Asia.
I    Soviet Interests in Southeast Asia
     a.  Strategic importance of the Pacific and Indian
     Oceans to the Soviet Union.
     b.  Importance of IndoChina to the Soviet Union.
II   Soviet Military Build-up in IndoChina viz a viz
     Pacific and Indian Ocean
     a.  Establishment of permanent military bases and
     facilities in IndoChina.  Its current military strength
     in IndoChina.
     b.  Importance of the build-up in support of Soviet
     influence and interests in Southeast Asia.
III  Effects of Soviet presence on Southeast Asia
     a.  Capability of Soviet forces in Southeast Asia to
     respond to any threat or show of force.
     b.  Threat perceptions of Soviet presence by ASEAN.
     c.  Future US policy for Southeast Asia.
SOVIET POLITICO-MILITARY INITIATIVE IN THE PACIFIC AND INDIAN
OCEANS AND ITS RAMIFICATIONS ON SOUTHEAST ASIA
                     INTRODUCTION
     Soviet  interest in Southeast Asia, the Pacific and
Indian Oceans dates back to the latter half of the 19th
century when the Czars expanded their territorial possessions
into the Far East.  By what the present Chinese government
termed "unequal treaties," China abrogated large tracts of
its territories to USSR.  The interest in the Indian and
Pacific Oceans stemmed from the poor land communication
system between European Russia and her possession in the Far
East.  Even up to the 195Os, land communication was re-
stricted to the single Trans-Siberian Railway line.  The
importance of Southeast Asia, the Indian and the Pacific
Oceans to the USSR was amply illustrated by the 1904-05 Russo
Japanese War.  Her Pacific fleet having been blockaded or
destroyed by Japan at Port Arthur, Russian prestige rested
upon averting defeat by reinforcing the First Pacific Squadron.
She was obliged to send part of her Baltic fleet named Second
Pacific Squadron from Europe some 18,000 miles away (Fig 1).
Click here to view image
She made her way through the Indian Ocean, the Straits of
Malacca, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean only to
be destroyed at the hands of the Japanese fleet under Admiral
Togo Heliachiro in the Tsushima Straits.1
     Though Soviet interest in the Pacific and the Indian
Oceans dates back to about a century, her ability to trans-
form this "interest" into a physical presence has been very
recent.  Having established herself as a land superpower by
the 1950s, and in response to her naval weakness which was
aptly reflected during the Cuban missile crisis, Russia
embarked on a policy of maritime expansion in the 1960s and
1970s.
          SOVIET INTEREST IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND
            THE PACIFIC AND THE INDIAN OCEANS
     Soviet perception of the importance of Southeast Asia
and the Straits of Malacca can aptly be summed up.  Firstly,
Soviet Union's interest in umimpeded passage through the
Straits of Malacca and Singapore stemmed from her desire to
     1 Captain Peter G. Tsouras, USAR, "The Voyage of the
Damned," Proceedings, US Naval Institute, Oct 1982, p.75.
engage in competitive naval deployment with the United States.2
This is largely in response to the presence of the US Seventh
Fleet in the Indian Ocean.  With the radical political change
in Iran and Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and Ethopia,
it has shown for the first time that access into the Indian
Ocean will be critical in any future global contingency or
confrontation with the US in the Asian arena.
     Secondly, Soviet interest in the containment of China's
regional influence.  Their fear of China is the result of a
complex series of ethnic, cultural and ideological factors.
Hence, the use of Vietnam both as a political as well as
military counterweight to China is among the primary options
for Soviet policy in Asia.3  The naval facilities in Vietnam
are of paramount importance as they offer the Soviet Union
the opportunity to achieve strategic encirclement of China as
well as to outflank China's navy -- lacking both in technology
and capability.4  The presence of Vietnamese troops in
     2 Michael Leifer, "Security of Sea lanes in Southeast
Asia,"  Survival, Jan - Feb 1983, p.21.
     3 Commander David M. Fitzgerald, USNR, "The Soviets in
Southeast Asia," Proceedings, US Naval Institutes, Feb 1986,
p.52.
     4 Fitzgerald, p.53.
Kampuchea as well as Soviet naval presence at Cam Ranh Bay is
only one aspect of Moscow's approach.  Politically, their
fear of an anti-Soviet, Sino-American coalition in Southeast
Asia has led them to pursue normalization talks with Beijing
since 1982, which has so far met with luke-warm success.
     Thirdly, Soviet interest in the Indian Ocean is an ex-
tension of her interest in the Pacific Ocean.  In the long
term, they seem to be interested in the acquisition of warm
water port facilities in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a humiliation for the USSR and
clearly brought home to Soviet leaders the need for a true
"blue-water" navy with global power projection capabilities.
Since embarking on her naval expansion programme in the
196Os, the USSR has adopted a 'forward deployment' policy of
her naval forces to overcome the distances and vulnerabilities
of her naval bases in the Far East which limit her ability to
respond to conflicts and safeguard her global interests in
the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  The problem of distance is
shown by the fact that it takes Soviet ships anywhere between
10 days to 2 weeks to respond to any crisis in the Indian
Ocean from its main base at Vladivostok.  The vulnerability
of the Far Eastern fleet is that it could be bottled up and
denied access into the Pacific Ocean via the five main routes
through the Tsugaru, Shimonoseki, Tsushima, Soya and Tatar
Straits if they are blockaded or mined.
     Now for the first time, the Soviet Union has a properly
balanced and organized task force in the Indian Ocean with
true 'warfighting' capabilities.5  Its naval presence in the
Indian Ocean has increased dramatically to some 30 ships
through 1982.  The presence of the Soviet Indian Ocean
Squadron (SOVINDRON) has demonstrated a capability to employ
its naval power in support of regional objectives.  Though
support facilities are maintained in Ethopia and Aden, con-
siderable effort is being made to broaden naval access
throughout the area in strategic islands and littoral
countries including Mozambique, Seychelles and India.6
     A concurrent development has been the unprecedented
regular deployment of a Soviet naval presence in the South
China Sea since Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea.  With the
sighting of the 'Kiev' class carrier MINSK in the Gulf of
Thailand in October 1980, the Soviet Pacific Fleet has
     5 Leifer, p.20.
     6 Department of Defence, "Soviet Naval Deployment,"
Soviet Military  Power, 1985, p.106.
demonstrated the ability to maintain a permanent presence in
the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  The ability is further en-
hanced by the acquisition of extensive naval and air
facilities in Vietnam and Kampuchea.  With these development,
it is apparent that the potential threat to Southeast Asia is
of grave concern to the principal states in the region.  This
change in US-Soviet balance in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
could seriously affect vital western sea lanes in these waters
     On current strength, the Soviet Pacific Fleet can boast
of some 700 to 800 naval vessels with gross tonnage of 11/2
million.  The principal vessels of the fleet are 2 'Kiev'
class carriers, 15 cruisers, 66 destroyers and frigates, 150
amphibious ships and 134 submarines.7  In addition, the Soviets
maintain about 15 'Delta' and 'Typhoon' class missile firing
submarines (Fig 2).  With 30% of its SSBN fleet stationed in
the Pacific Fleet, it reflects Soviet strategic assessment of
the importance of its Pacific Fleet.8  With a 7,000 men naval
infantry division supported by some 500 aircraft spearheaded
by two regiments of 'Backfire' bombers, the Soviet Pacific
     7 Ulrich-Joachim-Schulz-Torge, "The Soviet Navy in 1985,"
Military Technology, Nov 1985, p.123 - 126.
     8 Edward J. Walsh, "The Challenge of the East," National
Defense, Dec 1984, p.62.
Click here to view image
Fleet is the largest of its 4 major fleets.9
     Within a period of 2 decades, the Soviet Union has not
only achieved world power status but has become a major sea-
power as well.  As perceived by Admiral Sergei Gorshkov in his
book 'Sea Power of the State' where he categorically stated,
     It is reasonable to consider that the totality of the
     means of harnessing the World Ocean and the means of
     defending the interest of the state when rationally
     determines the capacity of a particular country to use
     the military-economic possibilities of the ocean for
     its own purposes----(This power comprises) its
     components ----- military, merchant, fishing, scientific
     research fleet, etc.,10
             SOVIET PRESENCE IN INDOCHINA
     Prior to 1979, Soviet naval units appeared irregularly
in the South China Sea.  This was primarily due to Hanoi's
reluctance to commit itself to total dependence on the Soviet
Union.  However, deterioriating Sino-Vietnamese relations and
mounting Vietnamese-Kampuchean border tensions created closer
     9 Department of Defence, "Soviet Global Amibitions,"
Soviet Military Power, 1985, p.107.
    10 S Gorshkov, Adm., Soviet Navy, The Seapower of the State,
Naval Institute Press, 1979, Introduction IX.
security ties between Hanoi and Moscow.  Moreover, the power
equilibrum tilted in favour of the USSR after its support of
Vietnam in the invasion of Kampuchea in Dec 1978.  Since then,
there has been a dramatic increase in the presence of Soviet
air and naval forces in Vietnam.  It is apparent that they
have access to not only Cam Ranh Bay naval facilities but
also Danang airbase and Kompong Som in Kampuchea.
     Military assistance has been the most effective instru-
ment of Soviet foreign policy.  This was clearly demonstrated
in Vietnam where from 1978 through 1984, military assistance
to support its occupation of Kampuchea and counter Chinese
military pressure along the Sino-Vietnamese border amounted
to over $5 billion in arms aid along with 2,500 Soviet
military advisers to support the programmes.11  On the economic
front, more than $7 billion in Soviet economic aid has been
received by Vietnam.  It is estimated that the Soviets have
been giving Vietnam more than $3 million per day in assistance.
In addition, Vietnam received 90% of its food imports, 90% of
its cotton, 80% of its metal and 70% of its fertilizers from
the USSR.  Vietnamese dependence on Soviet petroleum products
is near total.12
     11 Soviet Military Power, 1986, p.131.
     12 Fitzgerald, p.53.
     By Jan 1980, Tu-95 "Bear-Ds" and Tu-142 "Bear-Fs" were
operating from Cam Ranh airfield for reconnaissance missions
over the South China Sea.  The period 1981 to 1984 saw a
rapid expansion of Soviet naval and air forces in Vietnam.
Within 5 years, the Soviets have transformed Cam Ranh Bay
into the largest Soviet naval forward deployment base outside
the Warsaw Pact (Fig 3).  By 1984, up to 24 Soviet naval
vessels were anchored at Cam Ranh Bay on any given day (Fig 4).
In addition, by late 1984, 10 Tu-16 "Badgers" were deployed
at Cam Ranh airfield.  The number of Tu-95 and Tu-142 "Bears"
operating from Cam Ranh were increased to 8.13  Permanent
facilities to support a squadron of "Badgers" strike and re-
connaissance aircrafts are under expansion and this eventually
could support a regimental-size force of up to 30 aircrafts
(Fig 5).  Along with these developments, a squadron of Soviet
MIG-23 fighters has been deployed at Cam Ranh which will
primarily be employed for air defence and strike escort for
Soviet "Badgers" operating in the region.14  Of greater
significance is the fact that in April 1984, the carrier MINSK
along with the IVAN-ROGOV class (LPD) amphibious warship
operated with Vietnamese units in carrying out the Soviet
     13 Soviet Military Power, 1986, p.138.
     14 Soviet Military Power, 1985, p.106.
Click here to view image
Navy's first amphibious landing on the Vietnamese coast.15
     This unprecedented build-up of Soviet military power in
Southeast Asia is a stark reality which will invariably
influence the threat perceptions of countries in the region,
that is ASEAN.
     Today, Cam Ranh Bay has evolved from an irregular
support facility into a major naval/air complex for the Soviet
Pacific Fleet.  Together with Danang airbase, it has the
capability to provide the following facilities:
     Naval Support Facilities:
     a.  Maintenance workshops for ship repairs (includes an
     8,500 ton floating dry dock).16
     b.  Nuclear submarine pens.
     c.  Refuelling and Replenishment.
     Air Support Facilities:
     a.  Squadron of MIG-23/FLOGGERS.
     b.  16 Tu-16 "Badgers" bomber aircrafts.
     c.  8 Tu-95 and Tu-142 "Bears reconnaissance and ASW planes.
     15 Donald C. Daniel and Gael D. Tarleton, "The Soviet
Navy in 1984," Proceedings, US Naval Institute, May 1985,
p. 361.
     16 Fitzgerald, p.51.
     Electronic and Communication Facilities for monitoring:
     a.  Regional communications for the Soviet Navy and
     Airforce.
     b.  Chinese military activities.
     c.  Movement of US 7th fleet in the area.
     Soviet ships and planes are now in a position to threaten
not only China, but also all of ASEAN's capital; the Malacca,
Lombok and Makassar Straits; US bases in the Philippines; and
northern Australia.  Geographically, the acquisition of bases
in Vietnam has extended the Soviet Pacific Fleet's operational
range by some 2,000 nautical miles.17
              RAMIFICATIONS ON SOUTHEAST ASIA
     While they concede that the bases in IndoChina, notably
Vietnam and Kampuchea, offer certain advantages to the USSR,
eminent scholars like Michael Leifer and Frank B. Weinstein
contend that the USSR does not pose a threat to Southeast
Asia.  Their views were based upon the following analysis.
Firstly, the Soviet has been traditionally a land power.
Secondly, even with the increase in Soviet naval forces, the
     17 Fitzgerald, p.50.
US still maintains superiority in overall navy and air
capabilities in East and Southeast Asia.  This superiority
is further reinforced by US naval and air support facilities
in Japan, Philippines, S. Korea and Guam.  In times of crisis,
possible support could also be obtained from Singapore and
Thailand.  Thirdly, the principal Soviet bases for the
Pacific Fleet are vulnerable to blockade, and Cam Ranh Bay is
vulnerable to mining and lacks seaward defences.  Lastly, the
Soviet Navy is particularly weak in anti-submarine warfare
(ASW) capability while their carrier borne air power is
rather limited.
     From the global point of view, these postulations are
valid and acceptable.  However, it is significant to note
that for the first time in history, the USSR has a military
presence in Southeast Asia.  It would be realistic for us to
assume that this permanent presence of Soviet forces in
Southeast Asia will have long term security implications to
ASEAN.  An immediate concern is the fact that with the current
force level in Southeast Asia, the Soviets are in a position
to threaten the sealines of communications of Japan from
Europe, Middle East and Australia.  They could interdict the
access of the US 7th Fleet to the Indian Ocean via the Straits
of Malacca as well as augment the SOVINDRON in crisis in the
Persian Gulf area.18
     Given the fact that the Soviet Navy has been inferior
to the US Navy in many respects, the USSR has made significant
improvements in the last two decades in terms of force
structure and expansion.  With its current build-up in Indo-
China, it has projected itself as a Pacific power that cannot
be ignored.  Marked improvements have been made by the Soviet
Navy in its ASW capability.  The arrival of 2 IVAN ROGOV
(Fig 6) large amphibious warships, increased 'Alligator' LSTs
from 3 to 5, and 5 'Ropucha' units have significantly enhanced
her amphibious capability.19
     Finally, the USSR is on the threshold of acquiring a
true carrier borne air capability.  Today, her 'Kiev' class
carriers are equipped with 'YAK-38' VTOL fighters for fleet
defence.20  Even more significantly, they have commenced the
construction of attack carriers.  Approximately 300m long
with a displacement of more than 65,000 tons; it is likely
     18 Soviet Military Power, 1985, p.106.
     19 Lt-Comdr Gerry S. Thomas, US Navy, "Their Pacific
Fleet," Proceedings, US Naval Institute, Oct 1982, p.83.
     20 Walsh, p.62.
Click here to view image
that it will be equipped with the capability to operate CTOL
aircrafts at sea.  The Soviets are conducting tests and
evaluation programmes in the Black Sea region for the air-
craft that will be launched on the new carriers.  The latest
generation of Soviet fighter/interceptor aircrafts have been
designated for the tests: notably, the Su-27 'Flanker',
MIG-29 'Fulcrum'and Su-25 'Frogfoot'.  It is expected that
these carriers will be operational by 1990.21  Thus, it is
only a matter of time before the Soviets will have a carrier 
borne air capability that may pose a potential challenge to 
the US.
     The USSR will continue to expand her presence in South-
East Asia, Pacific and Indian Oceans.  In the long term
however, the volatile political climate in Southeast Asia has
the potential for regional rivalry.  The Soviet Union may
exploit these rivalries to expand her influence and presence
in the region.  The reactivation and initiation of an
additional 142 ships will bring the US Navy to a 600-ship
force.  Out of 142, about half of these will be based on the
Pacific Fleet.22  These actions by the Reagan Administration
     21 Ulrich-Joachim-Schulz-Torge, p.121-122.
     22 Fitzgerald, p.56.
were initiated largely in response to the growing Soviet
naval capabilities.
     Though it is doubtful that the Soviets have any perceived
long term plan regarding Southeast Asia, they are more likely
in the near future, to take advantage of opportunities that
may emerge or more importantly that they may create.23
     Having dealt with the effects on Southeast Asia in
general, it is pertinent at this point to focus our attention
on ASEAN.  The threat perceptions of these countries are
weighted as much by domestic factors and regional politics as
by objective assessments of the relative long term dangers
from Moscow, Beijing or Hanoi.24  In more specific terms,
what, in fact, are the long term threat perceptions in ASEAN?
Although an ASEAN consensus did emerge in respect to the
appropriate diplomatic and political measures to be taken on
the question of Cambodia, this did not signify a broader
consensus on the nature and imminence of threat perceptions
of external powers.  There are clearly varying degrees in the
     23 Fitzgerald, p.5l.
     24 Donald E. Weatherbee, "The View from ASEAN's Southern
Flank," Strategic Review, Vol XI; Spring 1983, United States
Strategic Institute, Washington D.C. p.54.
threat perception of Soviet presence in IndoChina.
     Singapore and Thailand certainly see the presence as a
threat, particularly because of Soviet support to the Vietnamese
occupation of Kampuchea.  The apprehensions of Thailand have
been somewhat alleviated with a tacit Chinese security
assurance that 'should the Vietnamese  authorities attempt to
invade Thailand by force, the Chinese government and people
will stand firmly by the side of Thailand and give all support
to the Thai people in their just stand against opposing
aggression'.25
     From Singapore's perspective, the Soviet factor was the
main concern for Mr Lee Kuan Yew's urging greater military
co-operation among the ASEAN states.  As he categorically
stated, the main issue was whether the Soviet Union is to
become a major power or influence in the region because of
Vietnam.26  This expression of concern stemmed from 2
important factors: firstly, Singapore's vulnerability to any
interruption in seaborne trade through the Straits of Malacca
and secondly, its position with an ethnic Chinese majority
     25 Weatherbee, p.56.
     26 Weatherbee, p.59.
population -- a sensitive issue that could be exploited
politically and socially.  Therefore, balance of power con-
siderations clearly dominate Singapore's approach to regional
security.  Singapore has perceived that the Soviet Union is
the principal threat to the current status quo, both in
terms of increased Soviet naval capability and Vietnam --
their proxy.  Singapore has established her credentials as a
'front-line' state seeking hard-line by ASEAN on
Cambodia.
     Indonesia and Malaysia perceive the threat as less
significant, rather, they see the Soviet presence in IndoChina
as a counterweight to potential Chinese expansion in Southeast
Asia.  Indonesia's apprehension of PRC as a greater threat
represents at least in part, a projection of concern related
to domestic, social, and political problems: specifically,
the nation's ethnic Chinese minority.  The alleged Chinese
involvement in the 1965 coup attempt tends to couch their
apprehensions about the loyalties of Chinese residents in
terms of a possible revival of the Indonesian Communist
Party (PKI) that is pro-Beijing.27
     27 Weatherbee, p.57.
     Malaysia shares Jakarta's strategic perspectives but has
its own independent view of why China is perceived a greater
threat than the Soviet Union.  Malaysia's view of the PRC is
conditioned by concerns about continuing Chinese sympathy and
support for the Communist Party of Malaya.  The chronic
communist insurgency in Malaysia is managed by ethnic Chinese
cadres and is still regarded by Malaysia as their primary
security problem.
     Though both countries deemed the PRC a greater threat
than the Soviet Union this does not mean that they ignore the
latter.  In fact, some second thoughts may now be perceived
with the expansion of Soviet presence and influence in
IndoChina.
     Lastly, with the current political instability in the
Philippines, the Soviets would welcome domestic unrest there.
A prolonged Philippines civil war would greatly benefit the
Soviets.
     Given that the Soviet Union is viewed as a potential
long term threat to Southeast Asia, it is prudent at this
stage to identify where are the problem areas which the Soviets
may exploit to expand their influence.
     Firstly, with the recent political development in the
Philippines, the Soviets are poised to play a bigger role
there.  The current in-fighting amongst the leaders of the
New People's Army (NPA) over the political settlement of the
civil war has given the Soviets the excellent opportunity for
intervention.  The Soviets have reportedly made significant
progress in their effort to exert greater influence on the
fragile situation.  Philippine intelligence sources have
claimed that the KGB has taken the advantage of the recent
60-day ceasefire accord between the Aquino government and
the NPA to infiltrate into communist strongholds and is now
firmly entrenched in the southern provinces particularly
Mindanao.28
     Western military sources have indicated that Soviet
operations have supplied arms to the rebels while Soviet
planes and ships have been conducting daily reconnaissance
missions near the Philippines from their advanced naval base
at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam.
     Secondly, in the event of a superpower confrontation
     28 Tom Breen, "Soviet Increasing their Involvement with
Filipino Rebels," Washington Times, Mar 9, 1987, Section A,
p. 1.
with US, China and Japan, the Soviets would attempt to deny
the use of the Straits of Malacca and the Indonesian
Archipelago to Japanese, Chinese and US shipping as well as
the US Pacific Fleet access to the Indian Ocean.29
     Thirdly, the Soviets could support Vietnam or other
claimants in a conflict arising out of overlapping claims of
sovereignty over Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) either in
defence of territory or in response to exploration of oil.
     Lastly, USSR could also support Vietnam's incursion
into Thailand in order to solve the Kampuchea resistance
problem.  This would certainly be resisted by Thailand with
full support from members of ASEAN.30
                      CONCLUSION
     Barring any major shift in political alliance in Indo-
China in the near future, Soviet interest and presence in
Southeast Asia, the Pacific and the Indian Oceans is a stark
     29 Michael Leifer, p.22.
     30 Milan Vego, "Their Operations in the Third World,"
Proceedings, US Naval Institute, Jan 1984, p.56.
reality that countries in the region have to live with.
Though Soviet presence in the region appears benign today, her
naval and air presence in Vietnam and Kampuchea have given
her the capability to adopt a more ambitious and belligerent
posture should the Soviet leadership choose to do so.
     There are potential problem areas in Southeast Asia
which can be exploited to expand her presence or influence.
They have confirmed our suspicion of their hegamonistic
desire with their latest involvement in the Philippines
civil war.  In view of this potential threat, it is important
for ASEAN to safeguard its solidarity and deny the Soviets
any opportunity to expand its influence.
     The continued military presence of the United States in
the Philippines and Western Pacific is vital in view of
Soviet's military expansion in Southeast Asia.  Increased US
presence would be a very effective counterweight to Soviet
expanionist tendencies.  Last, and perhaps the most
significant is that the US should move to normalize relations
with Vietnam in order to reduce Vietnam's total reliance on
Moscow.  Though the Vietnamese will continue to rely on
Soviet aid, the establishment of US diplomatic and economic
relations -- especially economic aid -- would give Hanoi
significantly greater latitude in its dealing with the
Soviets.31  If the United States succeeds without disrupting
its developing ties with PRC which the Japanese achieved,
then it will be easier for the ASEAN countries to pursue
their relations with Hanoi without jeopardizing their
relations with China.
    31 Franklin B. Weinstein, A US Foreign Policy for Asia:
US Role in East and Southeast Asia.  Hoover Institution
Press; Stanford University, 1982, p.136 - 137.
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