East timor questions & answers Stephen R. Shalom,

In the aftermath of World War II, U.S. policy toward the Asian colonies of the European powers followed a simple rule: where the nationalists in a territory were leftist (as in Vietnam), Washington would support the re imposition of European colonial rule, while in those places where the nationalist movement was safely non leftist (India, for example), Washington would support their independence as a way to remove them from the exclusive jurisdiction of a rival power. At first, Indonesian nationalists were not deemed sufficiently pliable, so U.S. armed British troops (assisted by Japanese soldiers) went into action against the Indonesians to pave the way for the return of Dutch troops, also armed by the United States. In 1948, however, moderate Indonesian nationalists under Sukarno crushed a left wing coup attempt, and Washington then decided that the Dutch should be encouraged to settle with Sukarno, accepting Indonesian independence.
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