Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lost Sense of Reality

Today there was an article about Sam Rainsy in The Khmer Times. He warned that the government must finally introduce policies that would ensure the democratic process otherwise the donor nations would curtail or even cut all aid to Cambodia. That is a very dire and unnerving prediction.  The way he wrote this on his Facebook page read like he had concrete knowledge of such plans. Of course, his statement was formulated in such a way that only more educated people would understand the context. It
would certainly not raise a lot of interest in the majority of the population. Aid to Cambodia is an unknown, if not abstract, concept to them, I venture to say. He certainly has no concrete information from any government at all. The PM was in the U. S. for the U. S. – ASEAN meeting and even had a photo op with President Obama.  No announcement regarding aid was made there or in the aftermath. The call for civil liberties, democratic processes, etc. is common at the end of such meetings.

At the same time, and this was published even on the same day as his FB post was reported, the EU issued a statement that it would increase aid to Cambodia by roughly 50%. The EU, that is 27 countries, mind you. So what was the good gentleman thinking when he posted this on his facebook page? Was he just trying to remind people that he is still around and alive? Seeing the situation of Cambodia in terms of realpolitik there must this creeping feeling of futility and that he is being overtaken by events elsewhere and that Cambodia is on the farthest backburner of governments that would be able to exert but a token of influence. He is trying to overcome this, so it seems, by believing  his FB posts can sort of counter this.

Meanwhile the party’s vice president negotiates an entitlement program with the chief negotiator for the CPP, Sar Kheng. So one is trying to open up that much-cited culture of dialogue with a few bread crumbs strewn in for his own benefit while the other one is raising his finger in admonition warning of dire consequences for the people of Cambodia.  Are those two still on the same page, or is one pursuing his own agenda in the meantime? After all, he has to shoulder the brunt of the work. By all rights, he should be the president of the party, now shouldn’t he? In the past one had occasionally gotten the feeling  the Sam Rainsy is a little bit out of touch with what’s going on around him.  Thomas Fuller, the New York Times Correspondent for SE Asia for 10 years, is taking a new assignment and wrote a summary of what’s going on SE Asia. I was waiting to read something about Cambodia there too. Not one word – the main topic was Thailand and the military junta, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar were mentioned but not Cambodia . This seems to be symptomatic of Cambodia’s role on the world stage, it just doesn’t count for much. Perhaps, Sam Rainsy might realize this too eventually and instead of looking for support outside Cambodia he should mobilize forces within. And this can only be done if he is here on the ground. But then, prison is a pretty unsavory prospect.

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