The Asian Swat Team From Washington

How a U.S. Treasury trio helped to contain the Asian crisis

Few Americans know that David A. Lipton is a key player in the Asian economic crisis, but at least his dry cleaner does. Lipton, Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury, flew to Seoul before Christmas on a delicate mission: gauge President-elect Kim Dae Jung's commitment to the harsh reforms demanded by the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund before Korea got billions in new aid. In Korea, Lipton's visit was front-page news and a hot topic on the television programs. In the U.S., few noticed. But on his return, Lipton dropped off laundry at the neighborhood Korean cleaners. The clerk said, "I saw you on TV. You're famous!" Turns out she watches the Korean news on an international cable channel.

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