Few Americans had even heard of East Timor before it emerged as a global hotspot in the 1990s. But the East Timorese knew much about the United States, whose navy had taken an interest in the submarine-friendly deep-water channel to its north.

Jerry Sweeney is a professor in and the head of the Department of History at South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota.
AsiaDefense and Foreign PolicyDiplomacy and Foreign AidEuropeGovernment and PoliticsInternational Economics and DevelopmentPolitical History