Asian Review

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The events of September 11 have changed US relations with Malaysia and the Southeast Asian region in general. Although Malaysia has been a long-term ally of the US, relations have been complicated by prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's anti-Western stand. Malaysia-US relations reached an all-time low during the East Asian economic crisis which began in 1997. Subsequently, Mahathir has been more conciliatory towards the US. However, the hawkish aggression of the US in Afghanistan and Iraq is again putting pressure on Malaysia-US ties. There is a risk that the US is forsaking its role as a beacon of democracy in the world. Whilst questions pertaining to democracy and human rights are expected to remain an irritant in Malaysia-US relations, economic and security considerations will have greater influence in the bilateral conduct between the two countries in the years ahead.



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