Laos: King's Turn

Just about everybody else had offered an idea for ending the civil war in Laos. Last week the most peaceable man around, King Savang Vatthana, had his try. Clad in a gold-buttoned tunic, grey pantaloons and black silk stockings, the King plucked a pink folder from atop a silver urn proffered by a kneeling courtier. In cadenced, elegant French, he read a message to "the countries of the world." Laos, he declared, was "a peaceful country, which for more than 20 years has known neither peace nor security." Savang Vatthana promised to...

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