Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reality Check

This Friday the multi-national military exercise Angkor Sentinel 2010 with the support of the U. S. came to its conclusion.

On July 21 Cambodia and the U. S. celebrated the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations attended by Sok An, Carol Rodley, among others.

Previously an Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs had visited Cambodia. He promptly came under fire for the military exercises. Critics, including Md. Mu Suchua, condemned the exercises claiming human rights violations by some of the participating Cambodian military units.

Whatever the case, nothing can better demonstrate the U. S.’s stance towards Cambodia. This all must have come like a slap in the face for all those critics who had turned to the U. S. seeking support from the House of Representatives and even the President in punishing Cambodia because of the government’s human rights record, including the curtailment of freedom of expression, etc. Even the possible imprisonment of an MP did not cause the U. S. to reconsider their military commitment.

The opposition must now realize that their efforts abroad are rather futile and won’t amount to much, if to anything at all, and focus on domestic issues instead. I have pointed this out in previous posts. If the opposition wants to be heard they need to play to their constituents in Cambodia, not to some obscure U. S. politicians or the overseas Khmer community; or submitting practically worthless petitions; which is not to say that petitions shouldn’t be used as an instrument in a political struggle, but it should certainly be used more selectively. Looking back on the last few years, I don’t think the SRP and their supporters will ever learn how the game of politics is played.

As a footnote, it is interesting to note that Md. Mu Sochua travels to the U. S. a lot. These trips are expensive, as I know from my own experience, traveling back and forth around 4, sometimes 5, times a year. Her salary as an MP is around $1,000. Who pays for all this – the party and their supporters with their donations? Couldn’t the money be used for a better purpose rather than enhancing her own international profile? Of course, if she pays for this out of her own pocket, it’s an entirely different story.

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