Roy D. Morley, The United Nations at Work in Asia (Jefferson: McFarland, 2014), 300 pp.

The groundwork for the Asian economic miracle was established in the last 25 or so years—the time period covered in this book. China and Vietnam started substituting pragmatism for communist ideology and Thailand started on a path toward greater democracy. The timing was perfect for an American United Nations representative to arrive in the two communist countries because, for the first time, both placed a premium on improving relations with the U.S. and both were moving toward a market economy.

This book acquaints the reader with evolving political, economic and social conditions in these countries and the role played by UN organizations. A chapter on the South Pacific details the challenges of providing useful development assistance in small isolated countries. The book also reveals a hidden side of the United Nations, the role played by more than 30 UN agencies, funds and programs in providing development and humanitarian assistance.

The past two or three decades were a period of great upheaval in Asia. Enormous events and developments involving the United Nations are analyzed in the book. These include the Tiananmen Square crisis in China; 300,000 Cambodian refugees camped along the Thai border; escaping the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge; efforts to rid the Golden Triangle of opium production; the sensitive diplomacy required in fostering cooperation among North Korea, South Korea, China and Mongolia; and a firsthand account of negotiating the international agreement creating the Mekong River Commission.

About the Author
Roy D. Morey is an international consultant living in Tucson, Arizona. Previously he was chair of the Department of Political Science at Denison University. He was on the White House staff and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. For twenty-two years he was a senior officer with the United Nations Development Programme.