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JC History Tuition Online - What are the Seven Sisters Oil Companies - Global Economy Notes

What are the Seven Sisters Oil Companies?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Reasons for growth of the global economy

Learn more about the history of oil to understand its impacts on the global economy [Video by Geo History]

What are the ‘Seven Sisters’?
It refers to a group of integrated international oil companies that dominated the global oil markets from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s. In the 1950s, the head of the Italian state-owned company Eni Enrico Mattei dubbed these companies as the ‘Seven Sisters’.

There were seven members:

  • Anglo-Iranian Oil Company
  • Gulf Oil
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Standard Oil Company of California
  • Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
  • Standard Oil Company of New York
  • Toxaco

Some of these members took on more familiar names, partly due to mergers. For instance, Gulf Oil and Texaco are part of Chevron. Notably, among these companies, most were owned by the Americans, including the well-known Rockefeller (Standard Oil).

By 1949, they occupied 82% of the discovered oil reserves outside the United States. The main role of the Seven Sisters was to keep oil prices stable so as to prevent the problematic ‘price collapse’ that frequently haunted the oil industry.

Price setting
The Seven Sisters established a system to ascertain the pricing of crude oil. Between the 1920 and the early 1970s, there were two markets: the US and the non-US. In the US, crude oil prices were set in free markets.

Outside the US, major oil producers had greater influence on production, which affects supply. Producers used a ‘basing point’ price system to prevent the occurrence of price wars.

The goal of the basing point price system was to discourage cheating through transparency and to prevent price wars. The cement and steel industries had operated similar systems. The bane of cartels, after all, had been cheating by members tempted to illicitly sell below the price established by the cartel but still high enough to earn the clandestine seller a juicy profit. Since the base price was published for all to see and freight charges were jointly agreed, all producers could be confident they weren’t being undercut by a rival.

An excerpt from “Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices” by Robert McNally.

A new age: Enter OPEC
In the Middle East, governments in oil-rich countries began to organise themselves.

In April 1951, the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh nationalised the nation’s oil assets, angering the owners of British Petroleum (BP). In retaliation, the Seven Sister members boycotted Iranian oil exports, forcing its output to fall to almost zero. In August 1953, Mossadegh was overthrown, resulting in the reversal of the nationalisation policies.

In 1958, two anti-Western uprising took place in Iraq and Venezuela, eventually leading to the diminished influence of the Seven Sisters in the global crude oil industry. In January 1958, a revolution had toppled the military regime under General Pérez Jiménez. The new Venezuelan government requested a lawyer Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo (later known as the ‘Father of OPEC’) to form a national oil company. In six months later, Iraqi forces led a military coup against King Faisal II and the pro-Western Nuri al-Said.

In September 1960, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia gathered in Baghdad and set up the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). By then, OPEC had occupied more than four-fifths of the world’s oil exports.

Libya made the first move to challenge the dominance of the Seven Sisters. In September 1969, a military coup against King Idris I resulted in the rise of the leader Muammar Qaddafi. Qaddafi successfully demanded a hike in the per barrel price of oil. Subsequently, other OPEC members followed suit, setting off a frenzy.

Fearful of being picked off one by one, the seven majors, Total, and eight independents banded together in a united front to bargain with OPEC.

[…] The Shah played on western officials and companies’ fears, warning the former that if oil companies resisted, “the entire Gulf would be shutdown and no oil would flow,” and admonishing that the “all-powerful Six or Seven Sisters have got to open their eyes, and see they they’re living in 1971, and not in 1948 or 1949.” Washington—terrified above all of a supply cut off it no longer had ample spare capacity to offset— sided with the Shah and against oil companies, supporting OPEC’s demand for two regional negotiations.

An excerpt from “Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices” by Robert McNally.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that oil was the most significant factor that influenced the development of the global economy in the post-war years.

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the topic on the Global Economy, namely the ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ and the ‘Crisis Decades’. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - ASEAN - What caused the Sino-Vietnamese War

What caused the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Learn more about how the Sino-Vietnamese War occurred in 1979, affecting the Indochinese region. [Video by The Gulf War Channel]

Historical context: The Sino-Soviet split
On 17 February 1979, Chinese forces entered the northern border of Vietnam, sparking off a war between the two. Although the war only lasted for a month, it had significant impacts in the 1980s, such as increased involvement by the regional organisation ASEAN during the Third Indochina War.

Before the war, China and the Soviet Union were at odds with one another. During the Vietnam War, the two Communist powers offered aid to North Vietnam in hopes of isolating the other party and assuming leadership in the ideological bloc. Initially, Hanoi sided with China to resist the American forces in Vietnam.

The deteriorating Sino-Soviet relationship during the latter part of the 1960s eventually derailed Chinese-Vietnamese relations. While the Soviet Union did indeed use its support for North Vietnam in an attempt to win influence in Hanoi, China did so as well, hoping to coerce the Vietnamese into endorsing Beijing’s hard-line anti-Soviet revisionist position. Especially after suffering significant military losses during the 1968 Tet Offensive, the Vietnamese, who needed help from both socialist nations, were greatly annoyed by China’s increasing intractability, particularly the PRC’s growing perception of the Soviet Union, not the United States, as the primary threat to China’s national security in early 1969. Perhaps even worse, Beijing began to withdraw Chinese troops from Vietnam, although leaders promised that the forces would return if the Americans came back.

An excerpt from “Deng Xiaoping’s Long War: The Military Conflict Between China and Vietnam, 1979-1991” by Zhang Xiaoming.

However, Hanoi allied with the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s, as seen by its admission to the Council of Mutual Economic Cooperation (COMECON) in August 1978. Also, the two nations signed the Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation in November 1978. In return, Vietnam received extensive military support from the Soviets.

From then on, China-Vietnam relations had soured.

Chinese engagement with Thailand
After Vietnam signed the treaty with the Soviet Union, Deng met Thai Prime Minister General Kriangsak Chamanan, offering to withdraw support for the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and strengthen Thai border security. This was to assure the Thai authorities that the looming Vietnamese threat would be pre-empted.

On 25 December 1978, nearly 220,000 Vietnamese troops invaded Kampuchea. By January 1979, the pro-Beijing Khmer Rouge was forcibly removed from power. Instead, a Vietnamese puppet government known as the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (FUNSK) was established and helmed by Heng Samrin.

Increased Chinese hostility: Teach Vietnam a lesson
On 7 January 1979, the Chinese government wrote a letter to the United Nations, accusing Vietnam on invading Kampuchea by force and seeking to create an “Indochinese Federation” with the help of the Soviet Union. Deng remarked in a meeting with the US President Jimmy Carter that they should “put a restraint on the wild ambitions of the Vietnamese and to give them an appropriate limited lesson”.

Afterwards, the Sino-Vietnamese War began in February 1979. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) mobilised 400,000 troops, an extremely large undertaking ever since their intervention in the Korean War. During the clash, both sides suffered significant losses. On 16 March 1979, the Sino-Vietnamese War came to an end.

However, the PLA were willing to absorb heavy losses, as long as the conflict achieved its strategic goals. The PLA believed these goals had been achieved, and that the war had succeeded in ‘exposing Moscow’s inability or unwillingness to back Vietnam’. While the use of force against Vietnam had been condemned by the US, albeit ambiguously, and raised the suspicions of regional states such as Indonesia and Malaysia, ultimately there was very little backlash, regionally or internationally.

An excerpt from “ASEAN Resistance to Sovereignty Violation: Interests, Balancing and the Role of the Vanguard State” by Laura Southgate.

After the war, Beijing stated five reasons to explain why they attacked Vietnam:

  1. Vietnam had become a hegemonic power, claiming to be the world’s third military superpower.
  2. Hanoi refused to respect China’s borders and repeatedly made incursions.
  3. Mistreatment of the Chinese in Vietnam.
  4. Oppression of the Vietnamese people.
  5. The Soviet Union’s expansionist policy in Southeast Asia to undermine China.

Consequences on the Kampuchean conflict
Yet, the month-long clash had failed to halt Vietnam’s occupation of Kampuchea. Open hostilities between China and Vietnam had persisted even after.

The two viewpoints expressed above bring to light the fact that both Hanoi and Beijing were at odds with each other principally because they were competing for influence in the region and feared what would happen if the other succeeded. Thus, for the Chinese, border problems, ethnic Chinese problems, and other problems could not be separated from Vietnam’s overall ambitions in Indochina because they reflected Hanoi’s expansionist tendencies.

An excerpt from “Dragons Entangled: Indochina and the China-Vietnam War” by Steven J. Hood.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you u agree that the Sino-Vietnamese War was key in explaining Chinese involvement in the Third Indochina War?

Join our JC History Tuition to study the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

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JC History Tuition Online - What are the five regional groups of the United Nations General Assembly

What are the five regional groups of the United Nations General Assembly?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about regional groups like the Group of 77 to understand their contributions to the General Assembly [Video by the United Nations]

Historical context
When the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was tasked to choose members to fill the non-permanent seats on the Security Council (UNSC), it then led to the creation of five groups:

  1. African states
  2. Asia-Pacific states
  3. Latin American and Caribbean states
  4. Eastern European states
  5. Western European and Other states

These groups were formed based on geography. Initially, these regional groups were affected by changing political conditions, such as the decolonisation of the Third World nations from 1954 to 1960. For instance, British colonies that gained independence had joined groups based on their geographical proximities rather than being in the Commonwealth.

The only explicit provisions of the Charter on geographical distribution concern the election of the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council (Article 23, para. 1) and the recruitment of the staff of the Organization (Article 101, para. 3).

[…]

The members of certain regional groups also use the groups for discussion and consultation on policy issues. Moreover, since groupings of Member States by geographical region have evolved as an informal arrangement for a number of practical purposes, different groupings are sometimes used for different purposes, or in the context of different United Nations bodies.

An excerpt from the United Nations Juridical Yearbook 1996 (Letter to the Senior Legal Adviser of the Universal Postal Union).

Apart from the consideration of these five regional groups, it is important to look at the formation of other groupings that affected the voting behavior of member nations in the UNGA.

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
The NAM was formed during the Cold War by the Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. It was established for countries that sought to stay neutral, refusing to align either with the United States or the Soviet Union. During the Bandung Conference in April 1955, the concepts for the NAM were created.

There were four key aims in the Conference:

  1. To promote goodwill and cooperation among the nations of Asia and Africa, to explore and advance their mutual as well as common interests, and to establish and further friendliness and neighbourly relations;
  2. To consider consider social, economic and cultural problems and relations of the countries represented;
  3. To consider problems of special interest to Asian and African peoples;
  4. To view the position of Africa and Asia and their peoples in the world of today and the contribution they can make to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

In 1961, the NAM was founded in Belgrade (during the Non-Aligned Conference) under the leadership of Marshall Tito, Jawaharlal Nehru and Gamal Abdel Nasser. 25 Arab, Asian and African countries attended the Summit that marked its founding. Members in the NAM had objected to foreign intervention in the Middle East (such as the Suez Canal Crisis), labelling Western interference as ‘acts of imperialism’.

The African Group at the UN was created in 1958 and soon made its presence felt on decolonisation and anti-apartheid issues, eventually ostracising South Africa at the UN and maintaining pressure for the liberation of Rhodesia-Zimbabwe and Namibia. NAM states led the expansion of the UN Security Council and the Economic and Social Council by the mid-1970s. During this period, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was agreed; a committee on decolonisation was established; and the special committee against apartheid was created.

[…]

Due to the pressure of a determined Southern majority, the People’s Republic of China took its permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 1971 in the teeth of US opposition. Western disenchantment with the global South’s dominance of multilateral diplomacy eventually led to the creation of the Group of Seven industrialised advanced nations in 1975.

An excerpt from “Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order” by Amitav Acharya and See Seng Tan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the importance of regional groups in influencing the effectiveness of the United Nations General Assembly.

Join our JC History Tuition to study the role of the United Nations and its principal organs. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - Why did Albania leave the Warsaw Pact - Sino-Soviet Split

Why did Albania leave the Warsaw Pact?

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979)

Historical context: The Warsaw Pact
After the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the Western military alliance, known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in 1949. Afterwards, the Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact, a collective defense treaty in 1955, with seven other Eastern bloc nations. The Warsaw Pact functioned as a counterweight against NATO.

During the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1955, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev delivered his speech of that sent shockwaves across the Communist bloc. To some, Khrushchev’s speech of ‘de-Stalinisation’ and ‘Peaceful Co-existence’ were considered revisionist, including the Albanian leader Enver Hoxha.

Let us take the question of the criticism of Stalin and his work. Our Party, as a Marxist-Leninist one, is fully aware that the cult of the individual is an alien and dangerous manifestation for the parties and for the communist movement itself. … Looking at it from this angle, we fully agree that the cult of the individual of Stalin should be criticized as a dangerous manifestation in the life of the party. But in our opinion, the 20th Congress, and especially Comrade Khrushchev’s secret report, did not put the question of Comrade Stalin correctly, in an objective Marxist-Leninist way.

An excerpt from a speech by Enver Hoxha delivered at the meeting of 81 Communist and Workers’ Parties in Moscow, 16 November 1960.

Switching sides
During the third Romanian Party Congress in Bucharest, all communist parties were present in June 1960 to exchange views on matters pertaining to the Communist and workers’ parties of the world. Khrushchev had intended to unite his Communist allies to challenge the Chinese. Yet, Hoxha was absent.

After the Bucharest debacle, Khrushchev withdrew economic aid for Albania, which pushed other Eastern European allies to do the same.

Thus Khrushchev had ironically undermined his own position by inadvertently weakening the pro-Khrushchevite faction and enabling the Sino- Albanian friendship. This friendship was mutually advantageous: Mao had gained a cheap and loyal ally, and Albania had found such a distant protector, that it would not ‘become a puppet of its protector but rather would increase its own degree of independence of maneuver in foreign and domestic affairs’.

An excerpt from “The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered: International Relations in Eastern Europe, 1955-1969” by Laurien Crump.

The Soviet Union continued to cut off economic support for Albania. In December 1960, the Soviets cancelled grants, cut off all trade and withdrew its advisers. Notably, the issue worsened when the Soviet-owned submarines withdrew in June 1961, leaving Albania’s security exposed.

Open Confrontation
During the 22nd CPSU Congress in October 1961, Khrushchev launched a series of criticisms at the Albanian leaders. In response, the Albanians spoke up against the Soviet leader. In 1962, Albania no longer resided in the Warsaw Pact. Consequently, Albanian turned to PRC for economic support, thereby widening the Sino-Soviet chasm.

As he sought to propel China towards a more radical path internationally, Mao Zedong sensed an opportunity in the growing Soviet-Albanian estrangement. Sino-Albanian solidarity was plainly emergent at the first open confrontation between Moscow and Beijing, at the communist-front General Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions in early June 1960.

… Internationally, both countries saw themselves in a two-front struggle against “imperialism” and “modern revisionism.” The Sino-Albanian “friendship” survived so long as the common struggle on the two fronts continued. Only in the wake of the Sino-American rapprochement in the 1970s did this close alliance unravel with the same fervor that had fostered its creation.

An excerpt from the Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issue 16, titled “‘Albania is not Cuba.’ Sino-Albanian Summits and the Sino-Soviet Split” by Ana Lalaj, Christian F. Ostermann, and Ryan Gage.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Sino-Albanian split was the main reason for the deterioration of Sino-Soviet relations?

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse factors affecting the superpower relations with China. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was ASEAN's response to the Third Indochina War

What was ASEAN’s response to the Third Indochina War?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Historical context: A violation of national sovereignty
In December 1978, Vietnamese forces launched a full-scale assault, crossing the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

In January 1979, the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh was occupied by an alternative government, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK).

In the same month, Singapore joined other member nations for an urgent meeting. After much deliberation, ASEAN issued a joint statement to deplore the invasion, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Cambodia.

4. Towards this end, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers called for the immediate and total withdrawal of the foreign forces from Kampuchean territory.

5. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the United Nations Security Council to consider without delay the situation in Indochina, and strongly urged the Council to take the necessary and appropriate measures to restore peace, security and stability in the area.

An excerpt from the “Joint Statement The Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting On The Current Political Development In The Southeast Asia Region Bangkok“, 12 January 1979.

Notably, ASEAN not only made a united stand against military aggression, but also called on the United Nations to address this escalating threat that had endangered regional stability.

Contestation by Great Powers
On 17 February 1979, China engaged in a military confrontation with Vietnam. Observers interpreted the attack as a hint to Moscow that China would not remain on the sidelines following the invasion. Yet, ASEAN members were increasingly concerned with the Chinese involvement in the conflict.

After much persuasion with member nations in the United Nations General Assembly, the International Conference on Kampuchea (ICK) was held from 13 to 17 July 1981. However, there were some shortcomings.

The pro-Communist bloc nations like Soviet Union and Vietnam were absent. Additionally, China had disagreed with ASEAN’s draft for the ICK, particularly the disarmament of Khmer resistance groups and the creation of an interim administration.

Singapore saw this inflexible Chinese position as evidence of Beijing not wanting an early solution, and that it was more interested in a protracted conflict to “bleed” Vietnam. Its ultimate objective was to use the armed forces of the Khmer Rouge to restore a pro-China regime in Phnom Penh, and hopefully see the emergence of a Chinese-friendly Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Manila felt that ASEAN should not be seen to be succumbing to China’s pressure at this stage whereas Bangkok was more interested in accommodating China, as its overriding concern was to ensure that China could help defend Thailand against a Soviet-supported Vietnam.

An excerpt from “Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict 1978-1991” by Ang Cheng Guan.

The situation had become even more complex when the US delegation sided with China. Then Foreign Minister of Singapore Dhanabalan had revealed that attempts to convince Big Powers like the USA and China had been challenging, given their diverging interests with ASEAN members during the Cold War.

I was surprised to note how keen the U.S. was to accommodate the PRC’s request. I explained to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State that it was not possible to accede to the PRC’s request as it was wrong and would also not get any support from the conference. He ended the meeting by threatening that he would go over my head and take the matter up with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore… It was a real life experience for me that interests and not principles determine the actions of big powers.

An excerpt from “The Little Red Dot: Reflections by Singapore’s Diplomats” by Tommy Koh and Li Lin Chang.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the challenges that ASEAN faced in response to the Third Indochina War.

Join our JC History Tuition to study how ASEAN managed various regional and international threats during the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning programmes to organise your content awareness and writing skills for essay and source based case study. We organise free writing practices for students to hone their answering techniques.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Kuantan Doctrine - ASEAN Notes

What is the Kuantan Doctrine?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Historical context: A looming threat of Great Powers
In response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in December 1978, the Indonesian President Suharto and Malaysian Prime Minister Hussein Onn met in Kuantan in March 1980. Both parties agreed that the Cambodian conflict posed a grave threat to regional security, if left unchecked.

The threat extended beyond the presence of a pro-Vietnam government in Cambodia, particularly the dangers posed by the Soviet Union and China.

The joint statement issued by Malaysia and Indonesia took into consideration the broader security concerns of the two countries, such as the perceived threat posed by China and the increased influence of the Soviet Union in the region. The statement envisaged a Vietnam free from the influences of both China and the Soviet Union and took into consideration Vietnam’s security interests in Cambodia. In other words, the Kuantan Principle sought to bring Vietnam out of the Sino-Soviet dispute and to reduce the influence of these two powers in the region. It also displayed a less confrontational stand toward Vietnam over the Cambodian situation as compared with the ASEAN policy.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor” by Keat Gin Ooi.

However, the Kuantan Doctrine was never put into practice as other member states of ASEAN rejected the proposed solution. For instance, the frontline member Thailand was concerned with its border security, given its proximity to Cambodia.

Soviet Union or China: A greater threat?
Although ASEAN eventually issued a joint statement to deplore the Vietnamese aggression, diverging perceptions among some member states had given rise to disagreements.

From Suharto’s point of view, China was deemed a more serious threat than Vietnam. As such, Indonesia put forward the idea of granting a certain degree of autonomy to Vietnam for its presence in Cambodia.

As the interlocutor of ASEAN on the Kampuchea issue, Indonesia was mainly concerned that the conflict might divide the region into two clusters: maritime ASEAN and Indochina under Vietnamese domination. Indonesia feared that a bipolar Southeast Asia could pit the communist against the non-communist states, thereby opening the door to intervention by external great powers.

An excerpt from “Indonesia’s Ascent: Power, Leadership, and the Regional Order” by Christopher Roberts, Ahmad Habir and Leonard Sebastian.

On the other hand, both Thailand and Singapore perceived a Soviet-backed Vietnam as a more significant threat than China. To some political observers, inaction may mean that neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia condone sovereignty violation.

However, Singapore’s strident anti-communist posture was essentially aimed at the Soviet Union and its perceived regional proxy, Vietnam. Hence, curiously enough, whereas there was clear evidence of Chinese support for communist insurgency in Southeast Asia, the most aggressive policy pronouncements against communism were those aimed at the Soviet Union.

An excerpt from “Realism and Interdependence in Singapore’s Foreign Policy” by Narayanan Ganesan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Singapore’s foreign policy responses were successful during the Third Indochina War?

Join our JC History Tuition to study conflicts and challenges such as the Third Indochina War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning classes to develop sound thinking and writing skills. We provide concise study notes and hold guided writing practices to prepare you for the GCE A Level History examinations.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary Online Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC H2 H1 History Tuition Online - What were Dag Hammarskjöld's contributions - United Nations Essay Notes

What were Dag Hammarskjöld’s contributions?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the Secretary-General’s vision of the United Nations in the 1950s [Video by the United Nations]

About the Secretary-General
Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist who was appointed as the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 7 April 1953. He was re-elected to serve another term in September 1957. Hammarskjöld was an exemplary diplomat who made remarkable contributions to the international organisation, such as the institutionalisation of peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

The Sino-American hostage crisis: ‘Peking Diplomacy’
Following the end of the Korean War, the Secretary-General visited the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai to secure the release of fifteen American pilots in January 1955. These pilots were captured by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the Korean conflict.

Hammarskjöld responded with sympathy to two claims made by Zhou Enlai, namely (1) the argument that communist China had wrongly been denied admission to the United Nations, and (2) criticism by China that the United States had unduly refused to allow Chinese students to return to the People’s Republic of China… But at the end of the talks, (Zhou) agreed to comply with two of the Secretary-General’s requests. He agreed that the People’s Republic of China would comply with the policy terms regarding the treatment of foreign prisoners, announced at Geneva, which implied lenient sentences.

An excerpt from “Peace Diplomacy, Global Justice and International Agency: Rethinking Human Security and Ethics in the Spirit of Dag Hammarskjöld” by Carsten Stahn and Henning Melber.

After the conclusion of the visit, Hammarskjöld described his diplomatic approach as the ‘Peking Formula‘, which referred to his role as the ‘Secretary-General under the Charter of the United Nations and not as a representative of what was stated in the General Assembly resolution’.

Eventually, PRC agreed to release the US airmen, reflecting the success of the Secretary-General’s personal touch in resolving the dispute in spite of the growing Sino-American tensions.

Peacekeeping: UNEF
During the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, Hammarskjöld conceptualised peacekeeping and applied it to the first UN peacekeeping force – the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF).

There are three guiding principles of peacekeeping:

  • Consent of the parties
  • Impartiality
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

Ever since, these principles have set the standard for subsequent UN missions.

The most telling aspect of UNEF’s creation, and ultimately the most problematic from the Canadian perspective, was the need to respect Egypt’s sovereignty and obtain Nasser’s consent to place the peacekeeping force on Egyptian territory.

…The speed with which Hammarskjöld was able to organize the peacekeeping mission was nothing short of incredible. By 6 November, in just over two days, he had been able to sketch out the basics of the mission, and less than two weeks later the first troops landed on the ground in Egypt.

An excerpt from “Pearson’s Peacekeepers: Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force, 1956-67” by Michael K. Carroll.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of the Dag Hammarskjöld in fulfilling his duties as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the organisational structure of the United Nations. We provide summary notes, essay and source based case study practices to reinforce your thematic knowledge and refine the essential writing techniques.

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JC H2 History Tuition - What is World Trade Organization and its function - JC History Essay Notes

What is World Trade Organization and its function?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapters 1: Reasons for growth of the global economy & Problems of economic liberalisation

Re-look at the contributions of the World Trade Organization ever since its inception in 1995 [Video by the World Trade Organization]

What is the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
The WTO is an inter-governmental organization that formalized international trade. Under the Marrakesh Agreement, the organization was formed on 1 January 1995, replacing the multilateral framework known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

A Prelude to WTO: Trade Rounds under GATT
Before the WTO was established, GATT provided the essential guidelines on international trade from 1948 to 1994. During the Bretton Woods Conference, an International Trade Organization (ITO) was supposed to be formed alongside two other pillars (World Bank and the International Monetary Fund). Yet, the US Congress refused to ratify the Havana Charter. As such, the concept of an ITO was not realized.

Even so, GATT had played its part in promoting multilateral discussions. In the post-war years, GATT contributed to tariff reductions of nearly 8 percent on average till the 1960s.

1. Kennedy Round (1964-1967)
During the Kennedy Round, an Anti-Dumping Agreement was passed. ‘Dumping’ refers to an unfair trade practice in which a firm sell its exports at a price below the price set in the domestic market. The Act was recognized as a success, especially for developing nations.

Recognizing that anti-dumping practices should not constitute an unjustifiable impediment to international trade and that anti-dumping duties may be applied against dumping only if such dumping causes or threatens material injury to an established industry or materially retards the establishment of an industry;

Considering that it is desirable to provide for equitable and open procedures as the basis for a full examination of dumping cases;

An excerpt from the Kennedy Round.

2. Tokyo Round (1973-1979)
In the 1970s, the Tokyo Round was held with the intention to manage the imposition of non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Although participating countries managed to agree on the reduction of tariffs on industrial goods, they were unable to accept the use of plurilateral agreements (they are trade agreements between more than two countries).

The Tokyo Round also led to the adoption of a range of specific new disciplines. These included the legalization of preferential tariff and nontariff treatment in favour of developing countries and among developing countries.

Codes were negotiated on subsidies and countervailing measures, technical barriers to trade (product standards), government procurement, customs valuation, import licensing, antidumping (a revision of a Kennedy Round code), bovine meat, dairy products and civil aircraft…

By negotiating a code, like-minded countries were able to agree to new, legally binding commitments, without having all GATT contracting parties on board.

An excerpt from “The Political Economy of the World Trading System” by Bernard M. Hoekman, Michel M. Kostecki

3. Uruguay Round (1986-1994)
The eighth and final round lasted nearly seven and a half years. In the wake of the twin oil shocks of the 1970s, the Uruguay Round was held as the largest multilateral trade negotiation. The main purpose of the round was to reduce agricultural subsidies, introduce the protection of intellectual property and liberalise trade services in the banking sector. It was a tricky issue due to the sensitivity of the agricultural and textile sectors that affected many developing countries. Furthermore, the round dragged on due to the lack of consensus between the USA and European Union (EU) [also known as the “European Community”, EC] over the reforms to agricultural trade.

For much of the Round the USA and the EC held their own mini-round and their mutual intransigence, especially over agriculture and specifically a long-running dispute over oil seeds, stalled the Uruguay Round for some time. Completion of the Round was in the end facilitated by the so-called Blair House (Washington) accords…

Negotiations on agriculture were among the most contentious of the Round, the final Agreement on Agriculture seeking reforms for a ‘fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system’, but with special consideration for poorer countries and for non-trade concerns such as food security, environmental protection or schemes for diversification from narcotic crops and the like.

An excerpt from “The Free Trade Adventure: The WTO, the Uruguay Round and Globalism–a Critique” by Graham Dunkley.

The WTO
As the Uruguay Round concluded in December 1993, the Marrakesh Agreement was signed on 15 April 1994 by 123 participating nations. Officially, the WTO was formed eight months later, ushering a new era for international trade. The WTO replaced GATT as the institutional framework for trade.

1. The WTO shall facilitate the implementation, administration and operation, and further the objectives, of this Agreement and of the Multilateral Trade Agreements, and shall also provide the framework for the implementation, administration and operation of the Plurilateral Trade Agreements.

2. The WTO shall provide the forum for negotiations among its Members concerning their multilateral trade relations in matters dealt with under the agreements in the Annexes to this Agreement. The WTO may also provide a forum for further negotiations among its Members concerning their multilateral trade relations, and a framework for the implementation of the results of such negotiations, as may be decided by the Ministerial Conference.

An excerpt from the Marrakesh Agreement – Article 3 “Functions of the WTO”, 15 April 1994.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that trade liberalization was beneficial to the global economy from 1945 to 2000?

Join our JC History Tuition and find out more about the Bretton Woods System and other areas relating to the global economy. We provide summary notes for H2 History and H1 History as well as practices for essay writing and source based case studies. Attend our online learning classes to develop an analytical mind.

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JC History Tuition Online - What is the Green Revolution - Economic Development - JC History Essay Notes

What is the Green Revolution?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Learn more about the the Norman Borlaug, “Father of the Green Revolution”.

Origins of the Green Revolution: Enter Norman Borlaug
Many countries such as Mexico and India were facing hunger and poverty. Together with a growing population, rice producers could not keep up with the burgeoning demand for food.

After Norman Ernest Borlaug completed his studies at the University of Minnesota, he embarked on his research journey in Mexico. He held the belief that sustainable agriculture could be achieved. In time, Borlaug’s efforts had paid off. It led to the creation of disease-resistant wheat strains that paved the way for the Green Revolution.

In 1964, Borlaug joined the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT) that specialised in the improvement of maize and wheat as well as the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR later became the central network for international organisations that engaged in research on food security.

Over the years, Borlaug’s contributions led to the improvement of new crops like barley, sorghum and triticale.

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
In 1960, the Philippine Government oversaw the creation of the IRRI. The institute set up its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna (near Manila). With funding support from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the IRRI aims to reduce poverty and hunger via rice research.

In 1978, the government capitalised on the Green Revolution by launching the Masagana 99 (Rice production programme) to improve credit access to rice farmers and achieve rice self-sufficiency. As a result, the local farmers benefited from the cultivation of high-yielding varieties (HYVs).

Impacts on Southeast Asian economies
The Green Revolution was a boon to many economies in the region. In Thailand, the government increased its investments in fertilisers and high-yielding strains of rice. From the late 1960s to early 1970s, rice production doubled.

In Indonesia, Suharto introduced the BIMAS (agricultural guidance programme) to facilitate the distribution of high-yielding rice varieities. By 1985, poverty was significantly reduced and the country attained self-sufficiency in rice.

“BIMAS is a system of agricultural extension, planned and on a mass scale, that aims to raise agricultural production, and at the same time to increase the propserity of farmers and of society…”

Soedarsono Hadisapoetro, Agriculture Minister (1978-1973)

Conclusion: Was the Green Revolution important?
In view of these developments, it is imperative to consider the significance of the Green Revolution in driving the growth of the economies in independent Southeast Asian states. Its importance has to be understood by analysing the state-guided approaches as well as the outcomes.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the economic development of independent Southeast Asian states was largely the result of external factors [to be discussed in class]?

Sign up for our JC History Tuition and find out how you can organise your content for the topic on Paths to Economic Development. Given the wide spectrum of issues to consider, we have derived a condensed set of notes to support your revision.

Besides, we have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What were the twin deficits of USA - Global Economy Notes

What were the twin deficits of USA?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Problems of economic liberalisation

Find out what it means for USA to experience a trade deficit to understand this contributing factor that led to the decline of the US economic dominance in the 1970s – Video by Peterson Institute for International Economics

Why was the “Golden Age of Capitalism” unsustainable?
In the first two decades of the post-WWII period were characterised by the miraculous economic recovery and expansion of many countries, such as Japan and Western Europe.

USA, as the major advocate of trade liberalisation, also benefited from this sustained period of economic progress, as observed by its wide-reaching influences through the deployment of American multi-national corporations (MNCs). Host countries gained from influx of foreign investment as well as job creation.

However, this economic exuberance did not last by the 1960s. USA experienced a severe economic problem known as the “twin deficits”. Furthermore, the energy crises (oil shocks) of the 1970s further exacerbated the problem as it gave rise to stagflation in the USA.

What are the “twin deficits”?
The “twin deficits” refer to the onset of fiscal deficit and current account deficit.

1. Fiscal Deficit: Overspending
By definition, fiscal deficit occurs when the government expenditure exceeds its revenues. This is more commonly known as a ‘budget deficit’. In the case of the post-war years, countries encounter a fiscal deficit when the government spend large sums of money to rebuild their infrastructure. Similarly, this form of deficit can also be seen when governments are trying to recover from a recession.

Fiscal Deficit - Problems of Economic Liberalisation
Understand the fiscal deficit of the USA to recognise its impacts on the economy.

The causes of fiscal deficit in USA were largely linked to two notable areas: US President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programme and the Vietnam War.

In 1964, Johnson introduced the welfare programme to eliminate poverty (War on Poverty) and improve the socioeconomic conditions of the American people.

However, as the American troops were increasingly deployed in Vietnam to fight the Cold War proxy conflict, the US President had to divert his funds from the above-mentioned welfare programme to sustain the war effort.

According to The New York Times, the American government spent approximately $141 billion in Vietnam over the course of 14 years. It was reported that the Vietnam War cost the USA nearly $2 billion per month.

Therefore, the US government directed the Federal Reserve to increase money supply by printing more US dollars (USD). Later, this created an oversupply issue that caused the collapse of the Gold-Dollar fixed exchange rate system in 1971.

2. Current Account Deficit: Trade Imbalances
The second type of deficit is more closely related to the condition whereby the import expenditure exceeds the export revenue. This is a problematic condition as the government has to finance the trade deficit.

US Trade Deficit - Problems of Economic Liberalisation
Examine the trends of the US trade deficit to understand how it hampered the economy.

This trade deficit can be explained by the increased trade competition with Western Europe and Japan. In the post-war years, USA tolerated the protectionist measures of these two growing economies so that they can become new markets for trade.

However, after these economies achieved pre-war industrial levels of production, many firms competed with American counterparts. In particular, West Germany and Japan became the key competitors that outpaced USA in the global markets.

For example, Japanese automobiles were highly sought-after due to its fuel efficiency and affordability. In fact, some of the top ten automobiles originated from Japan, such as Nissan and Toyota.

As a result of the loss of export competitiveness, USA experienced severe trade imbalances vis-à-vis West Germany and Japan. By 1980, US trade deficit rose to $40 billion. In response, USA reversed its trade liberalisation policy and engaged in protectionism, as seen by its imposition of the Voluntary Export Restraint (VER) towards Japan autos in May 1981 to mitigate the adverse effects of trade imbalances.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the twin deficits of USA were the most important cause for the decline of American economic dominance in the 1970s [to be discussed in class]?

Join our JC History Tuition and discover the essentials of essay writing for the topic of the Global Economy. We also offer H1 History Tuition for students who are in need of guidance. We provide summary notes, essay outlines and source based case study practice questions to raise the productivity of your revision.

Besides, we have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.