Saturday, July 26, 2014

Who get what in this agreement?

Image credit: Sam Rainsy Facebook


After nearly a year-long battle on election dispute with the ruling party, CPP, finally CNRP doesn't  get what it deserves most--an independent inquiry on election fraud and re-election.  But the CNRP has successfully forced the CPP to accept a deeply electoral reform, balancing the power in the National Election Committee (NEC) which has been solely controlled by the CPP over 20 years.  This is a glimpse of hope for an acceptable election result in the future. However, this political solution has sent a mixed message to the CNRP supporters while most of them have cautiously cheered an agreement, the others felt betrayed by the CNRP as they have strongly opposed any attempt to compromise with the CPP which has been well known as traitor and Hanoi puppet.  Meanwhile, the CNRP has asked its supporters to follow up its actions and to give the party more time to prove how its new shifted strategy may work better than the current one-- to shift a battle from the streets to the national assembly floor.

The current political solution doesn't mean the CNRP surrenders to the CPP but agrees to work with them in the national assembly rather than to challenge with them on the streets which has produced nothing more than deaths, injuries, and jail terms while Hun Sen still firmly holds the power.  And since the violent incident on Veng Sreng Rd. January 2, 2014, the CNRP activities against Hun Sen regime has been faltered and curbed by the government.  Every action has been faced with violent confrontations with CPP's thugs and organized supporters from rural areas to the capital city, particularly at Freedom Park where the police had installed barbed wires to fence off the opposition supporters from staging a rally.  All attempts to reopen it were met with brutal crackdown from the police and security forces.   On the other hand, CNRP's diplomatic mission abroad had drawn mixed results though many countries around the world supported the CNRP's peaceful struggle, but they also urged the party to seek negotiation with an adamant CPP.  Even American officials told the CNRP leaders that the U.S. supported the CNRP's political struggle against the current dictatorial regime, but the U.S. could not do that job for them; they had to do on their own.  Actually, the international community hesitates to take any concrete action against the regime besides giving some warnings and urging both parties to continue negotiation.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hun Sen and his Questionable Legitimate Rule

Hun Sen greets King Sihamoni (Image


Legitimacy is a core value to all governments around the world, and the government in each country  has different levels of legitimacy depends on how it comes to power-- by forces, cheated election, and free and fair election.  For Cambodia, a question of legitimacy for the government has been raised since 1979 when Vietnam had invaded Cambodia and installed its satellite regime to rule the country on its behest until today.  Despite legitimacy has been questionable, Hun Sen regime has managed to hold its power for over three decades with minimum interruption.  Literally, legitimacy means that the rightful king or queen is on the throne by reason of "legitimate birth."  Since the European Middle Age, the term means to the legal and psychological rights to govern.  But nowadays legitimacy is more referred to an attitude in people's minds--in some countries strong, in other weak--that the government's rule is rightful.  As the current Cambodian unilateral government has been decried for its legitimacy, Hun Sen recently has brazenly compared himself with a Thai military coup leader, General Prayuth Chan Ocha, who had launched a bloodless coup to topple an elected government and proclaimed himself as a legitimate ruler of Thailand when he got endorsement from the king.  Hun Sen assumed that if Prayuth was a legitimate leader why not him since he and Gen. Prayuth have received the same royal endorsement.  Can the king or queen give legitimacy to any leader on his or her own will?

Since Thailand is the most prominent constitutional monarchy and democracy in the region, a recent military coup in Thailand has sent a wrong message to the entire region while democracies are flourishing in some countries--Indonesia and Philippines-- some are struggling to nurture it-- Cambodia and Myanmar--and the others are either partially democratic-- Singapore and Malaysia--or autocratic--Brunei, Laos, and Vietnam.  Cambodia which has gained momentum in searching for true democracy, the Thai military coup has pushed the democratic forces into disadvantageous position when Hun Sen, a braggart and dictatorial leader, has used a situation in Thailand as a good excuse for iron fist rule.  He confused himself, stating that the Thai coup leader, Gen. Prayuth Chan Ocha was legitimate leader why not him when he and Gen. Prayuth got the same approval from the king, the highest authority in the country.  Hun Sen's thinking is in hundreds years back to the European Middle Ages.  Nowadays even if legitimacy is still endorsed by the king or Queen in some countries, the true legitimacy is stemmed from the hearts and minds of the people.  The king or queen in Britain, Japan, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and so forth can only endorse any leader if and only if the leader was freely and fairly elected by the people.  In this scenario, Prayuth is not a legitimate leader of Thailand in the eyes of people and the international community though he was endorsed by the king because he was not elected by the people.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Don't be confused with other national interests and our own's

Map flags of US and Cambodia (Google image)

National interest is a top priority for all countries around the world in conducting their foreign policies.  Without national interest in their hearts, the leaders in this world will lead their countries into self-destruction.  But the leaders can't pursue their own national interest successfully without sufficient power.  And power is not necessarily evil or aggressive; it may be simply persuading the aggressors" to leave me alone."  In International Relation term, power refers to military, economic, political, and psychological factors, and the best known power is rational persuasion, demonstrating that the country has leverage to repel all outside attempts.  Because the power of each country is very tricky to calculate, the CIA spends millions of dollar each year to figure out how much power various countries possess, and it's still not well concluded until the war breaks out.  Then the war will provide terrible price for the people--a clear answer about which side had more power.  National interest will be well protected if and only if the country has enough power to deter the aggressor to stay away.  And national interest is divided into different categories based on levels of danger the nation has faced: 1. vital versus secondary, 2.  temporary versus permanent, 3. specific versus general, and 4. complementary versus conflicting.

1. A vital interest versus secondary: a vital interest one that potentially threatens the life of one nation, such as Soviet installed its nuclear missiles in Cuba directing toward the U.S. in 1962, which nearly broke into nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union .  Vietnam saw the Khmer Rouge incursions on its border, trailed by atrocity against its civilians as a great threat to its vital interest that led to its military invasion in Cambodia in 1979.  For secondary interest, nations may incline to negotiate or compromise although military action is still on the table.  For instances, the U.S. has an interest in open world oil supply without restricting from other nations, and the free sea lane for U.S. navy in South China Sea may also fall into U.S.'s secondary interest since it is not a vital threat to U.S. national security directly if the water way is blocked, though it shares common interests with some countries in the region such as Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and so forth.