In the past five or six years crisis has settled upon Southeast Asian studies in the United States, and among those close to the field professionally it is common to blame the Vietnam conflict and related post-war mentality, the so-called ‘Vietnam syndrome’, for this unhappy circumstance. Thegeneral atmosphere in the United States at the present time makes it difficult to conclude otherwise. We live, on theonehand, ina time of forgetting, when small-town mayors remark, ‘Vietnam? I can't think of anything that concerns me less,’ and profes-sors speak bookishly butnota great deal more eloquently of ‘premeditated amnesia.’ On the other hand, we also come into daily contact with what in large part arethelong-term results of ourVietnam involvement: a highly inflationary economy, confusion in foreign affairs, lingering social and political malaise, and a controversial refugee policy. Little wonder that the vast majority of Americans, for whom the words ‘Southeast Asia’ have come to mean simply Vietnam and possibly Cambodia, prefer to ignore the entire region as much as possible and fortherest seek solace ina feweasy myths and characterizations.