Friday, November 6, 2009

Tension Between Monarchies in SE Asia

The two remaining monarchies in Indochina, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia are again in a political stand-off. For some time now there have been minor skirmishes on the shared border of the two countries regarding territorial disputes and shouting between the two governments. However, things have recently become worse when the Cambodian government appointed the ousted former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to an economic advisory council (Shinawatra is a telecommunications mogul). Cambodia has also said that they consider the former Thai PM a political refugee and have refused Thai requests for his extradition. The outraged government of Thailand took this as an intentional slap in the face and have recalled their ambassador to Cambodia, effectively breaking off diplomatic relations with the Khmer monarchy -though I'm sure it is not quite as serious as it sounds; they are certainly still keeping in-touch so to speak. It pains me greatly that these two countries should continue this feuding when they are both endangered species. However, I also feel it essential to point out that the government in Cambodia is effectively a communist one in all but name. Ever since the fall of Pol Pot at the time of the Vietnamese invasion the Cambodian government has been dominated by Prime Minister Hun Sen, an ally of the communist Vietnamese and the leader of the Cambodian People's Party. He is a communist himself though he does not openly call himself by that title anymore and he has seen to it that some national emergency always arises which enables him to deploy troops around election time to ensure that he is reelected every time.

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