What was achieved in SEATO? What tensions arose between the USSR and the US because of this?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization was created in 1954. Member nations included the United States, Great Britain, France, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Thailand, and Pakistan. The goal of the organization was to prevent the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. It is interesting to note that most nations in Southeast Asia didn’t join this organization.

The creation of this organization is another example of the tensions that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union as part of the Cold War. We were trying to stop the spread of communism while the Soviet Union was trying to spread it. One of the activities of this organization was to make the economies of this region strong. We believed a strong economy was an effective deterrent in stopping the spread of communism. We also used the charter of SEATO as the legal basis for our involvement in Vietnam. Our involvement in the Vietnam War heightened tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States.

SEATO was different from NATO in that SEATO didn’t have a way to authorize military action if needed. There was nothing in its charter that allowed member nations to create a military force to take action if needed. There also was no organized intelligence-gathering system within SEATO.

For various reasons, member nations left the organization in the 1970s. When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, there was no longer a reason for this organization to exist. By 1977, SEATO no longer existed as an organization.