Talk for Article "Help report on Cambodia’s slide into one-party rule"

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    I would like to see Cambodia’s slide into one-party rule reported on through the lens of Selectorate Theory, as espoused in The Logic of Political Survival and The Dictator’s Handbook, the latter of which is a bit easier to read.

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      Hi James. I haven’t read either book and am not familiar with the theory. What did you have in mind?

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    please interview/reach out to Elizabeth Becker who writes:
    I would be happy to be interviewed – I covered the whole gamut – the war, interviewing Pol Pot, covering the peace talks, then the peace plan and interviewing Hun Sen multiple times.

    http://www.elizabethbecker.com
    OVERBOOKED: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism

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    In November 2017 the CNRP, a party which resulted from a merger of a Sam Rainsy Party and a Human Rights Party, was ruled dissolved by Cambodia’s Supreme Court. Take a look at Sam Rainsy, the man, not the party. Look back at the early 1990s and you should find that the exact same measures were used to oust Sam Rainsy from a position to which he was lawfully elected. Rainsy felt the need to relocate to California.

    The point is: In questions posed about this story there is a theme of “slide from democracy.” I don’t see it. I lived in Cambodia for more than six years, leaving Cambodia for Thailand in 2000. I didn’t see democracy at that time and that was closer in time to the UN-sponsored elections ignored by Hun Sen who, while agreeing to elections, refused to step down as Prime Minister. For years, Cambodia had not only two Prime Ministers, it had two ministers for every ministry. Hun Sen solved this in a time-honored Cambodian tradition, he waited until the other Prime Minister, the King’s son Prince Ranaridh went on vacation to France. Hun Sen the invited him not to come back with unspecified sanctions to be imposed if he did. Eventually, the Prince was allowed to return but with little of the power he had formerly. He even lost the backing of his father, the King because the King was replaced with a younger version approved by Hun Sen.
    Looking at Cambodia as some abstract experiment in democracy is difficult. Looking at the people in power is a bit easier. Focus on Hun Sen. It is not amazing that Hun Sen looks to Donald Trump. Look back at Hun Sen’s public pronouncements and you will see many similarities of “style.”

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      Hi Ronald. Thanks for your comment. You raise really interesting points. If I understand correctly, your point is: Hun Sen’s Cambodia has never really been a democracy, so to focus on the country’s apparent slide away into authoritarianism is to miss the point?

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        True, that is my point. Here is one point that should be easy to check since it can be checked on the US end. After the 1996 coup that cemented Hun Sen’s position as the one and only Prime Minister, the US remained interested in having some influence over the development of good governance. When foreign aid money was given to Cambodia for education programs, it was not given through Hun Sen but was given directly to the Minister for Education.

        Hun Sen was reportedly furious but I felt that to be only anecdotal and incorrect. The Education Minister would not have the position if not for Hun Sen. Yes, there were attempts at reform but they had to receive the blessings of the PM.

        If we look at the pronouncements of Hun Sen and believe that he is a “supreme ruler,” we cannot then say it was democratic and is now becoming less so.

        When Hun Sen is called on any of his public pronouncements, those that appear in the Cambodian English Language Press, he frequently and predictably responds that his words were mistranslated.

        I struggle to not mention who this reminds me of.

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          Hi Roland. We just published a new story on Cambodia with one of your comments in it. Please do have a look and let me know what you think of the article. Thanks again!

          https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/02/19/cambodia/cambodia-inches-toward-a-chinese-style-political-system/49988/

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