Southeast Asia: Illusion and Reality in Politics and Economics was first published in 1964. There can be little doubt that Southeast Asia occupies a critical place in the developing course of international affairs. Yet, in spite of the importance of the region on the world horizon, there has been a great deal of wishful thinking about and unrealistic appraisal of the situation. Professor Mills’ hardheaded, realistic account of political and economic developments will, it is hoped, provide the basis for a clearer understanding of the area and its problems on the part of general readers as well as students and specialists. The author analyzes the governments of the various countries, devoting major sections to the Philippines, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, South Vietnam, and Thailand, with lesser emphasis on North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. He shows, through his careful analysis, that all the governments are dictatorships or oligarchies, even though they exist on paper as democracies, and he stresses the importance of this fact in a realistic consideration of the problems involved. He goes on to examine the economic status of the countries, dealing at length with questions of financial and technical aid from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, and the basic economic problem of unlimited population growth. The book makes available for the first time in a single volume the background information needed by political scientists, economists, military and government personnel, and others concerned with the present and future of Southeast Asia.
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