[GEORGE WORKING ON THE STORY]
Twenty-five years after the Paris accords paved the way for national reconciliation between warring Cambodian factions and a guilt-ridden West poured billions of dollars in aid, Cambodia is returning to authoritarianism.
Hun Sen, the longest serving prime minister in the world, has moved hard and fast against political rivals, a free press and NGOs in the past year. SOMETHING ABOUT THIS NOT BEING THE NEW NORMAL – strangio
Now, he wants to go all the way to the creation of what analysts say is a single-party state modelled on China and Russia. ANALYST
It appears likely he will have a free hand, despite wittering from the United Nations and the European Union, because he feels he no longer needs the billions which have kept the country afloat from NGOs and Western aid. China, SOMEONE SAYS, is filling in the gaps.
Hun Sen quotes Donald Trump on the media being enemies of the people and clearly believes that the US president, who has given support to other Asian strongmen in the Philippines and Thailand [LINK], won’t interfere. Besides, Moscow and Beijing are his new best friends, not Washington [rewrite].
Why should we care about Cambodia? [rewrite]
The west, particularly the United States has had a nearly 40-year guilt trip about Cambodia. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger illegally bombed Cambodia during the Vietnam war, ultimately leading to a takeover by the Khmer Rouge — a fanatical communist regime which believed in starting afresh from an agraian state.
Pol Pot and his regime killed perhaps a fifth of the population, evacuated the capital Phnom Penh almost overight, and ushered in twenty years of civl war which ended in 1993.
Hun Sen has since presided over what his backers see as an economic miracle but which is opponents argue has been the creation of a kleptocratic state run by oligarchs, the military and his family in ever-narrowing concentric circles.
To speed it up you can even then say: here is what those who know say: