This fascinating book recounts the remarkable tale of a career UN official caught in the turmoil of international and domestic politics swirling around Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. First as a member of the UN transitional authority and then as a personal envoy to the UN secretary-general, Benny Widyono re-creates the fierce battles for power centering on King Norodom Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and Prime Minister Hun Sen. He also sets the international context, arguing that great-power geopolitics throughout the Cold War and post-Cold War eras triggered and sustained a tragedy of enormous proportions in Cambodia for decades, leading to a flawed peace process and the decline of Sihanouk as a dominant political figure. Putting a human face on international operations, this book will be invaluable reading for anyone interested in Southeast Asia, the role of international peacekeeping, and the international response to genocide.
Benny Widyono, born in Indonesia to ethnic Chinese parents, was a career UN diplomat. He was a peacekeeper with UNTAC from 1992 to 1993 and representative of the UN secretary-general in Cambodia from 1994 to 1997. He holds a Ph.D. in economics and wrote this book while a visiting scholar at the Kahin Center on Advanced Research on Southeast Asia at Cornell University.
Part I: The View from the Field, 1992-1993 Chapter 1: When the World "Invaded" Cambodia Chapter 2: A Glimpse into the Past Chapter 3: The Intricate Dance of Governance Chapter 4: We Stared at Each Other and I Blinked Chapter 5: The Khmer Rouge Derail Demobilization Chapter 6: The Rocky Road to Elections Chapter 7: A Vote for Peace? Part II: A UN Envoy in Phnom Penh, 1994-1997 Chapter 8: Not Enough Actors for the Play Chapter 9: King Reigns but Does Not Rule Chapter 10: A Mysterious Coup Attempt Chapter 11: Is There an Asian Model for Development? Chapter 12: A Puppet Prime Minister? Chapter 13: Toward a Climax Chapter 14: The Final Showdown Epilogue Chronology Appendix 1: Deployment of UNTAC Appendix 2: The Royal Government of Cambodia, November 1993