Heading South?

In November 1971, foreign ministers from five Southeast Asian countries—Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines—gathered in Kuala Lumpur to confront a frighteningly changed world. Richard Nixon had declared the famous Nixon Doctrine, which said, in effect, that Asians were on their own: the U.S. wasn't going to protect them anymore. War was raging in Vietnam, and the communists were winning. Four weeks earlier, Mao Zedong's China had wrested away Taiwan's seat in the United Nations.

To deal with such tectonic shifts on their own geopolitical map, the ministers labored hard—and created an acronym you've probably never heard...

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