Following the Korean War, proxy battles in the Third World became an important arena of superpower competition. This was in line with the US policy shift towards Asia in general. Since the competition between the two powers had decreased European domination over Africa, Latin America and Asia, it led to currents of decolonization which presented new grounds of expansion for the Cold War enemies.
East Asia was seeing its share of newly formed countries and with the presence of a gigantic communist China in the backyard, action by the United States was necessary to maintain some balance. The South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) was formed in 1954 with this in mind. It incorporated Philippines and Thailand along with a consortium of Western Nations, Australia and Pakistan in a defense pact relating to East Asia. The members were to engage in collective efforts should some war happen in the region. The pact however proved relatively useless for the United States as the proceedings frequently ended in deadlock with some members not willing to contribute their support in emerging conflicts.