What are some weaknesses in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The success of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, est. 1949) spurred countries in the Southeast Asian area to create a sister group, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO, est. 1954) which would act as a coordinated defense for those countries. However, SEATO was unable to provide results, and collapsed in 1977 after a string of failed initiatives.

The major weakness in the SEATO plan was that the countries did not agree on an alliance of defense -- attacking one country would not be construed as an attack on all its allies; the result was that each country had the ability to block votes in session, and since every resolution needed to be unanimous, agreement was difficult. Another problem was the failure to establish joint commands or independent intelligence programs; troops could not be called by other countries without a resolution passed by SEATO, which was problematic. An example of SEATO's failure as a treaty alliance was their non-involvement in Vietnam; despite interest from several allies, no vote was ever reached, and their inaction caused both NATO powers and their own allied countries to draw away.

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