Saturday, May 31, 2014

Week 10 - Viet Nam War as Concept Conclusion

Viet Thanh Nguyen - Refugee Memories and Asian American Critique

The article calls for a transnational and globalized framework to be incorporated when analyzing and examining diasporas outside of the homeland. The refugee’s point of view won’t match and converge with the experiences of successive generations who winded up growing up in a different era, place, and circumstances. I do not think that Asian American Studies do not accurately analyze the Southeast Asian experience because it’s experience is uniquely different from the rest of the ethnic experiences within the pan-ethnic identity of Asian American.
The author speaks of the Southeast Asians and Southeast Asian Americans  that are “the kind of subjugated and voiceless people that have inspired Asian American Studies and for whom it has always advocated” (922). Are the Southeast Asians really voiceless? I feel that the Southeast Asians are vocal about their needs and issues but no one is listening. They have a story and a past that many are willing to tell but there doesn’t seem to be someone to listen to their grievances especially since they are a smaller population within the Asian American panethnic identity. The disproportionate make up of the differing ethnic communities within the Asian American identity doesn’t allow for the voices of the Southeast Asians to be heard. Instead, the voices of the East Asians , the larger group, tends to be more prevalent. Southeast Asians do have a voice but they are not being heard. It may be the language barrier faced by the Southeast Asians that are preventing their voices from being heard or even listened to. If the Southeast Asians did not have a voice, the Vietnamese diaspora would not be mobilizing to gain support for Madison Nguyen in her electoral race for Mayor of San Jose. The mobilization of the Vietnamese diaspora is not representative of the Southeast Asian community as a whole as evidence that they have a voice as a whole but there are times and certain ethnic groups that have a voice but they may or may not utilize.
“In identity-based forms of academic study, subject and object tend to converge--hence women study women...etc” (pg 927). I think this is something that cannot be avoided because there would not be someone else who would better understand the identity and better study it than the person who identifies similarly. It is similar to the reading in which we talked about how researchers can only do so much in comparison to the natives who provide the information to the researchers. The researchers will not be able to get the whole story if they have not lived it or even experience it. Only the natives and those who have experienced it will be able to better understand and analyze the experiences and identities. However, I do recognize that biases can easily arise from such a method of researching and analysis of an identity that you may have connections with.

Mark Beeson - U.S Hegemony And Southeast Asia

           In the article U.S Hegemony and Southeast Asia, Mark Beeson argues that U.S.'s foreign policies may be weakening it's hegemonic role in the Southeast Asian countries. As stated, U.S. has been a very influential participant in foreign affairs, especially when it comes to financial affairs. Post-Cold War, during the financial crisis, U.S. influences in foreign financial affairs stirred opposition from third world countries, such as Indonesia and Thailand. Although there were opposition from civilians and the middle classes in these countries, they were shortly lived or weren't significant due to limitations from authoritative government and resources.
           Southeast Asia is invested by three major powers: United States, China, and Japan. The constant pushing and yielding between these three powers is one major factor determining the outcome and further actions of the Southeast Asian countries.
Since the end of the Cold War, the US has been pushing a globalization of democratic implementations. Unfortunately to the U.S.'s agenda of spreading democracy to implement their policies, many of the Southeast Asian countries are showing favor towards the idea of democracy or semi-democracy. United States hegemonic influences in the Southeast Asia regions are proving to be a failure, as US's approach becomes unilateral, relying mostly on military powers to implement their superiority. This proved to be true as the war on terror was declared by the United States became a direct warning message to many groups that may have any kind of connections with terrorist groups. Instead of institutionalizing multilateral orders with globalization and influencing political and economic activities like they were doing right after the Cold War, the US is announcing their hegemonic agenda through violent military powers. Although the elites of Southeast Asia still show support in favor of U.S. military involvement in Asia, many are beginning to recognize that the policies influenced by U.S. may hinder their development. Thus, Fareed Zarkaria predicts that “anti-Americanism will become the global language of protest”. (Beeson, 457).
           I agree with Mark Beeson when he argued that U.S.'s hegemonic position is fading. The idea of U.S.'s hegemony declining has been a topic of discussion this decade. With the world powers China and India quickly climbing up behind, U.S. is not in its best financial condition to compete in the upcoming years. Now, the question would be, is a decline in U.S. hegemony bad? Southeast Asian countries' future actions will depend on the wavering hegemonic power of the United States to China. Recently, many people are beginning to question how China hegemony would change international political and economic policies and it's possible effect on southeast asian countries.
           Below is a video of a discussion of United State's agenda for pushing democracy as a hegemonic power in the the Middle east and Asia. 
RT. "CrossTalk: Exporting freedom or Imposing Hegemony?." YouTube. 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 31 May. 2014.

Discussion Questions:
1. “This cessation can take place with either the full integration of Asian Americans into the United States via the eradication of racial difference, or with the end of US identity, period” (922). The article speaks of the cessation of the Asian American identity, what would be the consequences or outcomes of such a cessation? What would the end of a US identity look like?
2. Who are the current scholars of Southeast Asians and what direction are they heading towards in terms of their scholarship? 
3. How would Southeast Asian Studies and Southeast Asian American Studies be combined when the perspectives come from different sources? 
4. How does the Asian American studies critique's notion of justice clash with the Southeast Asians, as refugees, notions of justice? If there is a contradiction between the two's notions of justice, can they be reconciled? 
5.  What is the refugee critique and what are some of its flaws in critiquing the refugee experience? 
6. What are the pros and cons of a decline in U.S. hegemony?
7. In what ways were Southeast Asian countries affected by U.S. hegemony?

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