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Hard Interests, Soft Illusions

Southeast Asia and American Power
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In Hard Interests, Soft Illusions, Natasha Hamilton-Hart explores the belief held by foreign policy elites in much of Southeast Asia-Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam-that the United States is a relatively benign power. She argues that this belief is an important factor underpinning U.S. preeminence in the region, because beliefs inform specific foreign policy decisions and form the basis for broad orientations of alignment, opposition, or nonalignment. Such foundational beliefs, however, do not simply reflect objective facts and reasoning processes. Hamilton-Hart argues that they are driven by both interests-in this case the political and economic interests of ruling groups in Southeast Asia-and illusions.
1. Beliefs about American Hegemony in Southeast Asia2. Behind Beliefs: Hard Interests, Soft Illusions3. The Politics and Economics of Interests4. History Lessons5. Professional Expertise6. Regime Interests, Beliefs, and KnowledgeAppendix: InterviewsReferencesIndex

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