[First published 21/05/2015; re-posted with additional remarks].
Op-Ed by School of Vice
Cambodia went to war with Thailand a couple of times over the Preah Vihear-related territorial issue, in addition to asking the ICJ to review the underlying legal wrangle that underpinned the conflict between the two countries since 2008. Yet, not once since the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979 has the Hanoi-installed Phnom Penh regime made any serious effort to resolve the perennial issue of Vietnam's land encroachments along the border in the east.
Va Kim Hong [the regime's expert on border affairs] is known to have expressed preference for a policy of shearing chunks of one's flesh off [Cambodia's territory] to feed and satisfy the tiger [Vietnam]. Ke Kim Yan [former RCAF chief] was unceremoniously stripped off his army post for having detailed a series of territorial infringements by Vietnam along the border in an otherwise obligatory routine report expected of his duty as a soldier. The 'leaked' charge or allegation made against Kim Yan was that he was removed from his post due to the vast personal land deals he had accumulated in his name. But if the charge of abuse of one’s position and power, and of massive corruption constituted the real reason behind his demotion, then he was hardly an exception out of all his CPP colleagues holding powerful positions in the military or elsewhere.
It is clear that Mr Hun Sen would rather opt for the policy of 'appeasing the tiger' favoured by Kim Hong whenever the tiger demands to be fed, rather than exploring other possibilities that would not end up violating Cambodia's territorial integrity as affirmed under the terms of the Paris Peace Accords of 23 October 1991. Just as he publicly threatened to abolish the monarchy for its perceived reluctance to give the royal seal of approval for the controversial 2005 supplemental Treaty demanded by Vietnam.
Fitting into this same pattern also entails the favourable land leases [99 years of ELCs] to Vietnamese 'companies'; open-door policy on Vietnamese immigration/settlement; allowing Vietnamese nationals to enjoy a lion's share in ownership and control over vital economic arteries of the country, ranging from the Angkor Archaeological Park, national airlines, telecommunications, timber and mining industries, Bokor resort, numerous prime real estates, Vietnamese 'advisors' and nationals holding government ministry positions, including within the inner cabinet of the CPP regime itself as well as the military [that's one reason why Kim Yan was caught off-guard so timely!], the imprisonment of the two Svay Rieng province farmers and conviction in absentia of opposition leader Sam Rainsy for the border stakes uprooting incident a few years back, ... The list goes on and on. Yet, Mr Hun Sen would like to claim: 'There is no traitor in my family line'!
The tragedy for the Khmer people and, perhaps, the saddest part in all this is that, [unless Mr Hun Sen himself is 'Vietnamese' somewhere at the core of his soul and being] he really didn't have to do what he had or has done in the course of his time in power. True political wisdom [or even a modicum of good leadership sense] points to better means and approaches of dealing with one's more powerful neighbours or patrons. In opting for the course of brutality and violence even where the perceived threat or danger to his rule has not warranted the means used, he has allowed the savage inside of him to overpower his emotions and take complete reign of his better judgement and resolve. Each time this happens, the savagery in him multiplies and the humanity in him further diminishes.
So it was that many precious and innocent lives had been ruined along with this mortally diseased soul of a mad man [or beast], viewing himself as a genius nevertheless; all in self-destructive devotion to feeding the blood-lust of the Savage inside him on the one hand, and the insatiable hunger of the Tiger, on the other.