PRESENT-DAY CAMBODIA
By Vorak Ny,

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PREAH VIHEAR-BORDER-CONFLICTS

Preah Vihear is rightfully ours inheritance and Cambodian should be proud of it! The border dispute with neighboring countries Thailand-Vietnam with Cambodia is nothing new. In 2008, only weeks in the lead-up to the national election, the issue of Preah Vihear has reemerged –old story in a modern-day history. The issue often triggers ultra-nationalism time-and-time again. What to do about it? How to deal with it? Twelve Simple Strategies -By Ronnies Yimsut

Our common approach to solution is to boycott Thai products. But Cambodian tends to overlook who is buying and selling Thai products, and illegally runs cross border trade with Thailand. We like to think that Cambodian military strength would overrun the Thai with more state of the art superior military might only to show the ultranationalist Cambodian is. Some would think that Cambodia would punish Thailand with economic sanction. To engage war with Thailand, Cambodian needs more than patriotic acts and gift donations. One can't be independence unless one is sufficient.

Let’s not forget that Thai had gone through financial crisis in 1997 and reemerge relatively in a short time. This simply meant that Thailand had mastered the basic rules of modern economics. They liberalized their economies, encouraged foreign investment flows, and practiced thrifty in fiscal policies. The high level of domestic savings gave them a comfortable economic buffer than Cambodia.

We like to live believing that we are in our prime of psychological warfare. War is not a liable solution to the problem for Cambodia. There is nothing wrong to be pride of oneself. Cambodian needs to rethink of ourselves and confront the issues that are facing us today. Cambodia’s best result is to engage it with diplomatic means. Economic independence may well be a good place to start.

Cambodia-Thailand-Vietnam has a border-dispute-trade-love-hate relationship. According to The US International Trade Commission, Thailand exported $1.4 billion worth of goods to Cambodia compared to $49 million exported to Thailand in 2007. India’s exports to Cambodia totaled $31 million in 2007, while Cambodia's exports to India totaled $500,000. Is it trade deficit?

SELECTED TOPIC

Twelve Simple Strategies
Political Pretext
Confronting the Past
Leadership Qualities
Leadership in Context

DISPUTE TIMELINE

1962: International court awards temple to Cambodia -Pending demarcation.
1970s-1990s: Occupied by Khmer Rouge
2001-2002: Thai troops block access over water row
July 2008: Unesco lists temple as a World Heritage Site
July 2008: Both sides move troops to temple area
Oct 2008: Skirmish broke out

Everyone is unbridled greed and corruption. Our foreign policy inspires more by opportunism than by the desire to preserve national independence, of an economy and a political system that are rapidly coming apart.

We are accustomed to feed ourselves too much of foreign goods, we begin to feel that Thai is in needs of our micro-household-economy of fourteen millions population.

For any undeveloped country, the first challenge in the development of any society is economic and –a change of attitude may well be the one Cambodian needs and diplomatic approach is the best alternative to war.

Cambodian’s feeling toward neighboring counties remains unchanged. Thai is well structured in terms of economic and military strength despite no major war engagement in the last 50 years.

Vietnam, on the other hands, has many that both Cambodia and Thailand want in exchange. Cambodia has no match with Vietnam and Thailand, should the war break out.

One lesson in history is that unity is formed from within and is difficult to impose from the outside. The battle of wills is a start but the conflict will destabilize the peace and security in the region.

Political unrest in Thailand, with Samak Sundaravej facing overwhelming opposition and ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of corruptions charges; and the National Election, should not be viewed as diplomatic breakdown for bilateral negotiations over the Preah Vihear. Let’s not forget that it is rightfully Cambodian to keep!

Revolution does not happen in fairytales, but in a social, political, cultural, and economic context. To make the most of this extraordinary change, one must be aware of the changes that surround you. And indeed, there have never been more resources and ideal since the collapse of the post Khmer Rouge era.

Should diplomacy exhausted, never misunderstood that our reluctance for conflict be misjudged as a failure of will when action is required to serve and protect our sovereignty. And war may well be a resort to peace. But that only makes diplomacy more important.

As we move toward this extraordinary time, the mythology of the events consciously or not, is reengaging, the rulebook has been rewritten for the development of our war-ruin country. Our rhetoric "Proud to be born Khmer" Are we? -Acts on it accordingly!

About the Author: Vorak, Ny is the founder of www.khmerwriter.com

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