Cambodia Geostrategic Exit

Firstly, I would like to personally appeal to the Cambodian government to release the 11 detainees immediately without delay in order to shoulder for national strength to face a new challenging international geopolitics changes.

11 Prisoners of Conscience
The 11 political activists who were convicted with felony insurrection

At the moment, the changes of political landscape of the world have clearly complex, the bloc has been shaped differently, and the post cold war domino effect theory is likely irrelevant.

Domino effect was accurately theorized by Western scholar to shun the communism spread pushed by China to Vietnam to Cambodia and to Thailand. But now, this domino phenomena has been changing faces and directions.

Domino EffectRight now, China and Vietnam have heated up conflicts on the ownership of Spratly Island. The history of China-Vietnam conflicts has been recorded since the ancient politics but it was changed during the cold war and post-cold war. However, the patronage of China towards Vietnam in dismantling the USA base of South Vietnam, and the help of China to unify the North and South Vietnam, had turned bad effect on China when Vietnam unanimously decided to invade Cambodia in January 7, 1979. During that time, Vietnam was with Russia in the belief to change its patron by changing political ideology from Maoism to Leninism while both ideologies are just byproduct of Marxism, the extreme scholar/theorist on human equality.

Domino Theory and Key cold war termsThis July 23, 2015, Vietnam top leader Nyuen Phu Truong and Thailand’s military leader Prayuth Chan-ocha shook hand to strengthen bilateral trade and political cooperation. This happened after few days of Vietnamese top leader was greeted and shaken hand by American president Barack Obama in honor to reopen diplomatic tie between both countries as well as to diffuse more military and investment boost for Vietnam.

So where is Cambodia now?

Courtesy: Facebook of CSIS
Courtesy: Facebook of CSIS

With the government head leans towards China, Cambodia is believed to strengthen tie with China closer than any time of Cambodia historical diplomacy ties beside of the Khmer Rouge government. This tie strengthening has triggered many doubts on how Cambodia could use this opportunity efficiently, or Cambodia has no clue on its true foreign policy?

Foreign policy means extra territorial nation state relationship that can boost mutual interest at the maximum. Cambodia must be concerned on foreign policy pragmatism that all countries around the world are important friends for Cambodia. USA, China, Vietnam,  or Thailand, etc.; Cambodia must ensure that we can go along with them all except a country violates Cambodia interests.

Hence, a strong country can pursue a strong foreign policy depends on the internal strength of that country. Now, Cambodian people have questioned that “how much Cambodia internal unity and nation institution are strong?”

It is hard to comprehend on this as:

  1. Government is not reluctant to use the court to silent the critics and threaten the opposition party CNRP by convicting the 11 political activists of the CNRP on lethal felony nation insurrection to jail termed between 7 to 20 years.
  2. Government without fear to pass the controversial law on NGOs and civil society (LANGO) even-though there are strong opposes by the international communities.

These recent two scenarios have placed Cambodia into a self-inflicting pot in front of the flashing heated foreign policy challenges.

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 29

Public Policy and Policy Platform of the Political Parties

leadership-poemThis part (29), the author Mr. Sophan Seng renewed his talk regarding the Public Policy and Policy Analysis that are the cornerstone for the Policy Platform Crafting. By exposing the finding from Asia Foundation on their survey to collect political opinions from the Cambodian constituents, the summery of key recommendation for the political parties, are following:

1. Corruption is perceived as the biggest problem facing Cambodia. Including a counter-corruption objective in a political party platform will broadly appeal to the electorate’s desire for change. While individual politicians can increase their popularity by leading highly visible counter-corruption campaigns in the run-up to the next national elections, a greater degree of transparency in the conduct of political parties can counter feelings of distrust of political parties, as the survey findings demonstrated.

2. At the local level, poverty, unemployment, and associated issues are perceived as the biggest problems. Visible commitment at the local level to addressing the root cause of these issues will likely be highly popular.

3. Although vote buying or gift giving may still be an effective strategy for getting out a party’s own supporters, it is clear that in Cambodia it is not effective in changing how voters choose to vote. Parties that wish to attract new voters would be better off spending their resources to develop and publicize programs attractive to the electorate at large.

4. It is clear that the public favors political decentralization, with very large majorities in favor of directly elected officials at all levels. Although political parties would prefer to retain control over the selection of officials, there is a huge potential electoral payoff for any party willing to embrace political and fiscal decentralization.

5. The political parties in Cambodia have failed to differentiate themselves in the public mind, and due to the nature of the electoral system, it is likely that voters associate the parties more with their leaders than with specific programs. Developing a detailed platform that can be distilled into four or five bullet points, to be repeated over and over, will differentiate the parties in the public’s mind. Periodic polling will help determine if their messages are sinking in and to gauge their popularity with the general public. These polls will then allow parties to fine-tune their messages as they prepare for the 2018 elections.

These five bullet-points are wholly derived from the finding. It is imperative to comprehend that these recommendations subsumed from the research don’t mention the border effort to protect from neighboring encroachments. This absence might be caused by:
– The borderline issues are more sensitive issue that shall not build strong foundation for the nation in sustaining development, and it is regarded as more polarized than unified within a nation-state if the state institution is not strong.
– It is possible that the researchers didn’t include questions towards the respondents, or the general opinions are too vague on the issue.

In brief, the key recommendations to the political parties are:
– Crafting robust policy platform to anti-corruption
– Family economy improvements through creating more jobs and increase price of their agriculture products as well as to provide them cheap or free healthcare and seniors salary etc.
– Focus more on robust policy and genuine political will than to encourage vote-buying
– Need more decentralized and delegate administration of the party than to consolidate the central power, or organize candidate elections than conduct direct nomination.
– Parties must prepare well-informed information on their political policy platform than to persuade vague personalities to attract the voters.

At the end, the borderline trigger to maximize nation’s interests is imperative but they must be putting aside the attack on each other.