From Hobbes to Hun Sen

ជាសង្ខេប អត្ថបទដោយលោកដេវីដ ហាត់ចង់បង្ហាញពីវប្បធម៌នយោបាយរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែនដែលយកអំពើហឹង្សាជាយានឈានទៅរកការគ្រប់គ្រង់ទោះក្នុងរូបភាពណាក៏ដោយ។ ការប្រៀបធៀបថាកម្ពុជាសព្វថ្ងៃជាសមិទ្ធិផលខុសឆ្ងាយពីរបបខ្មែរក្រហមហើយខ្លួននឹងខិតខំគ្រប់រូបភាពដើម្បីការពារសន្តិភាពគឺជាសក្ខីកម្មខាងការគំរាមគំហែងថាមានតែខ្លួនទេដែលអាចរក្សាសន្តិភាពដូចគ្នានឹងអ្វីដែលមេដឹកនាំខ្មែរក្រហមធ្លាប់អៈអាងដូច្នេះដែរ។ ក្នុងទស្សនៈរដ្ឋធម្មជាតិ(state of nature)របស់ហប់ ទស្សនៈវិទូនយោបាយក្រិចបុរាណ ទំលាប់នៃអំពើហឹង្សា(violence)គឺជាគន្លឹះសំខាន់នៃរដ្ឋអជ្ញាបុរាណ។ រដ្ឋធម្មជាតិនេះគ្មានទេយុត្តិធម៌ សេរីភាព និងកម្មសិទ្ធិឯកជន។ ផ្ទុយទៅវិញឡក់(Locke)ផ្តល់អត្ថន័យរដ្ឋធម្មជាតិខុសពីហប់(Hobbes) ត្រង់ថារដ្ឋធម្មជាតិជាបណ្តុំនាំអោយមានការប្រកួតប្រជែងតាមសេរីភាពនិងកំរិតសមត្ថភាពរបស់មនុស្សម្នាក់ៗដើម្បីឈរអោយបានខ្ពស់ដាច់គេ។ ការប្រកួតប្រជែងនេះហើយ ដែលធ្វើអោយរដ្ឋធម្មជាតិឈានទៅជារដ្ឋប្រជាជាតិទំនើប(modern nation-state)បច្ចុប្បន្នដោយម្នាក់ៗខ្លាចការបង្ហូរឈាមបើនៅតែសាចដាក់គ្នាដោយការឈានមករកកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងបង្កើតជាច្បាប់ឡើយ…តែការយកច្បាប់ជាឈ្នាន់និងជាន់ឈ្លីតាមអំណាចលោភៈរបស់មនុស្សមានអំណាចម្នាក់នឹងនាំទៅរករដ្ឋធម្មជាតិ(state of nature)វិញដូចគ្នា។

From Hobbes to Hun Sen

David Hutt

Op-Ed: Asia Times

By DAVID HUTT

History doesn’t repeat itself, despite the thoughts of a certain German philosopher, and it certainly doesn’t manifest a dyad of tragedy and farce. If there is one iron law of history, it is of unintended consequences. Yet the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) assumes the first and neglects the latter.

State of Nature in views of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau

For decades, the CPP, which came to power in 1979 after helping to overthrow the Khmer Rouge regime, has delighted in telling its citizens that Cambodia will fall back into the murderous, anarchic ways of the 1970s if the ruling party is ever removed from office. Just this week, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng warned that if the CPP were toppled from power, Cambodia would “fall into mud” like in the 1970s.

Prime Minister Hun Sen is often more explicit. “You must know that as long as I am the prime minister, I will not let them kill me. At any cost, I must protect peace and lives of Cambodian people,” he said on one occasion. On another, this January, he said that his government had “ended completely the chronic civil war” and brought “full peace” to Cambodia. “Cambodia, which used to be full of killing fields and dominated by the dictatorship regime and horrific genocidal regime, now becomes a land of freedom,” he said.

This narrative is well known among ordinary Cambodians, journalists and analysts, but it is worth reviewing every now and then, for it reveals a certain psychology of the ruling party. In the CPP’s framing of events, history certainly does appear to be repeating itself.

Rise of Khmer Rouge

In 1970, military commander Lon Nol seized power in a coup, supported though not necessarily materially backed by the US. But his brief republic was plagued by corruption and mismanagement, and five years later the Khmer Rouge violently took power, instigating a four-year tyrannous regime. Fast-forward to late 2017 and the CPP claimed that its main political opponent, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was also plotting a coup, and also with US backing – claims that have never been supported by a shred of evidence. The Supreme Court forcibly dissolved the CNRP in November 2017.

The CPP clearly wants to demonstrate that if it were ever ousted, it would be a repeat of Lon Nol’s coup of 1970 – the implication being that whoever removes the CPP from office would unleash the same disorder that allowed the Khmer Rouge to come to power, and then decades of civil war. Yet the CPP’s analogy of a repetitional history is sloppy. Today, there is no band of Maoist radicals waiting in the forests to seize power and unleash class warfare; there is no major geopolitical flagellation taking place in neighboring Vietnam and Laos; and Cambodians have known peace for decades now (remember Norodom Sihanouk’s regime only ruled for 17 years between independence in 1953 and Lon Nol’s coup in 1970).

Historical analogies are attractive for their simplicity and ease of understanding, but all too often they are widely off the mark. Yet they are revealing about the thoughts of the interlocutor.

Read between the lines and what the CPP is saying is that all that separates Cambodians from slipping back into the tyrannous brutality of the 1970s is the calming hand of the CPP

Pay attention to the latent meaning of the CPP’s warnings. What it basically assumes is that Cambodian society, at its heart, is brutish and violent and anarchic  – bellum omnium contra omnes. Indeed, read between the lines and what the CPP is saying is that all that separates Cambodians from slipping back into the tyrannous brutality of the 1970s is the calming hand of the CPP – the Leviathan on the Mekong. (Indeed, modern Cambodian politics resemble the paying out of the Hobbes-Locke debates.)

If the party falls from power, it says, anarchy and murder will resume. It is a rather nihilistic view of the society it governs over. It is also rather arrogant and paternalist. Indeed, it assumes the worst instincts in its citizens and the finest in the government. Self-reverentially, the party sees itself as the force of order that prevails over a brutal state of nature.

Of course, all this might be described as just rhetoric, a clever (and quite effective) way of the CPP presenting itself as the noble savior and custodian of Cambodian peace – Cambodia itself, if the analogy is taken to its logical conclusion. Yet there is no reason to doubt that senior CPP politicians don’t believe in their own stories.

Continue reading “From Hobbes to Hun Sen”
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Cambodia to Arizona: Bo Dul’s extraordinary journey to democracy

Cambodia to Arizona: Bo Dul’s extraordinary journey to democracy

Op-Ed: Arizona Capital Times, By: Katie Campbell and Carmen Forman April 19, 2019


Founders Day 2018: Sambo “Bo” Dul – Young Alumni Achievement Award
Sambo “Bo” Dul is the elections director under Secretary of State Katie Hobbs

Sambo “Bo” Dul wasn’t born in a democracy.

Her father gave his life to smuggle her and her family out of Cambodia following the Khmer Rouge genocide.

Thirty-five years later, she’s a crucial cog in Arizona’s elections.

On January 7, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tapped Dul, a former election law attorney at Perkins Coie, to be her elections director.

“It was very hard to think of leaving [Perkins Coie], but I also couldn’t not think about it,” Dul said. “It was like once that genie came out of the bottle, I couldn’t put it back in.”

PATRIOTS

Dul was born in Cambodia at one of the most tumultuous times in the country’s history.

Her family fled the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide when she was just a year old.

The trek to a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border was perilous. Her father didn’t survive.

Pure luck may have been all that kept Dul, her pregnant mother and siblings alive.

Crying babies aren’t ideal for quietly fleeing a country, so her family slipped Dula sleeping pill before the trip.

As the Duls approached the Thai-Cambodian border under the cover of night, the sleeping pill wore off. Dul, finding herself in the arms of a stranger as her mother had grown too weary to carry her, started wailing.

That might’ve been the end, but the wind was blowing away from the soldiers lining the border, carrying the sound of her cries in the opposite direction. She was carried to safety.

She lived in the camp on the Cambodian-Thai border until she was 5.

Her family arrived in the United States as refugees in the 1980s.

Her mother, Leng Poch Dul, didn’t speak English, so Dul was in charge of completing her family’s immigration paperwork and securing their place in the U.S.

While in high school, the Dul family’s immigration status was renewed for another year, but something had gone wrong with her paperwork and immigrations officials couldn’t pinpoint the problem even after she skipped school in Tempe to go to the immigration office in Phoenix.

Her experience highlighted how bureaucratic errors could plunge the lives of immigrants into a tailspin of anxiety, anger and even resignation.

“At some point, I was just like what can I do? There’s nothing I can do?” she said.

It took nearly a year for Dul to find out that someone had misfiled her paperwork. All this time, she feared deportation.

Dul later became a U.S. citizen, and took full advantage of what America has to offer.

She graduated summa cum laude with three degrees from Arizona State University, and went on to simultaneously earn a law degree from New York University and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University. She built a successful law career and a family of her own.

And she set out to help others like her family through a pro bono immigration law program called the Phoenix Legal Action Network or PLAN.

Telling her story isn’t always easy, but it’s evenmore important now than ever to combat misinformation about other immigrants who fought so hard to get to America, she said.

Dul said it’s important to share what she went through – and what she does now – out of love for America, Arizona and democracy. Stories like hers prove that immigrants can be “patriots,” too.

INVALUABLE

Attorney Roopali Desai had made the call and given the pitch.

Continue reading “Cambodia to Arizona: Bo Dul’s extraordinary journey to democracy”
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Cambodia hires Brownstein Hyatt

កុងត្រាជាមួយមន្ត្រីព្រឹទ្ធសភាជាន់ទាបថ្នាក់ឃុំសង្កាត់រដ្ឋវ៉ាសុឺនតោនក្នុងទឹកប្រាក់៥សែនដុល្លាក្នុងមួយខែ ឥឡូវជាមួយក្រុមហ៊ុន Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck ក្នុងទឹកប្រាក់៦សែនដុល្លាក្នុងមួយខែទៀត ដើម្បីជួយឡបប៊ីសហរដ្ឋអមេរិកនូវអ្វីដែលយើងអាចយល់ថាជាការសំរួលអោយសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកយោគយល់រដ្ឋបាលឯកបក្សរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែន។ ក្រោមការដឹកនាំបែបអត្តចរិកពុករលួយ(corrupt mindset) ទោះនាឡិការដៃតំលៃជាង៣លានដុល្លាអាមេរិកក៏ហ៊ានពាក់បង្ហាញជាសាធារណៈដែរ ចុះទំរាំលុយជាតិជាច្រើនយកមកប្រើទិញនិងជួលដើម្បីរក្សាអំណាចផ្ទាល់ខ្លួននោះ មិនមានអ្វីចំលែកទេសម្រាប់មនុស្សវង្វេងផ្លូវលុសក្នុងអំណាចយោងតាមទ្រឹស្តីព្រះពុទ្ធជាម្ចាស់៖ អវិជ្ជា បច្ចយា សង្ខារា នោះ។ តែអ្វីដែលគួរអោយអនិច្ចានោះគឺមានបណ្ឌិតមួយចំនួនហៃអើដើរតាមដានជើងមនុស្សវង្វេងផ្លូវនោះថែមទៀត ដោយមិនគិតគូរដល់អនាគតកូនចៅខ្លួនឯងក៏ដូចជាយុវជនខ្មែរជំនាន់ក្រោយៗទៀតសោះឡើយ។

Cambodia hires Brownstein Hyatt

Op-Ed: Politico, By THEODORIC MEYER (tmeyer@politico.com

04/19/2019 01:52 PM EDT,With Daniel Lippman

BROWNSTEIN HYATT WILL LOBBY FOR CAMBODIA: The government of Cambodia has hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby on its behalf in Washington. “We’re going to be helping to forge and renew their relationship with the U.S. government,” Marc Lampkin, the managing partner of the firm’s Washington office, told PI in an interview. Al MotturDouglas MaguireAri ZimmermanDavid Cohen and Brian McKeon will lobby for the country as well, according to Justice Department filings. The contract is worth $60,000 a month and lasts nearly a year.

— Cambodia has shelled out to bolster its representation in the U.S. over the past month. As PI reported earlier this month, the Cambodian government hired Doug Ericksen, a sitting Washington state senator, and Jay Rodne, a former state representative, to lobby on its behalf through their company, PacRim Bridges LLC. The contract is worth $500,000 a year. Ericksen praised the country’s widely criticized elections last year, calling them “amazingly transparent” and “incredibly well conducted.” Ericksen didn’t respond to PI’s request for comment, but he defended the arrangement in an interview with The Seattle Times. “We could have tried to skirt the rules and not file under FARA,” he said. “We are doing everything out in public. I am just trying to make my way in this world.’”

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Has new war between US and China in Cambodia reignited again?


The United States and China — The Avoidable War: read article, watch video

ចាប់ផ្តើមដោយនិយាយការពិតពីកម្ពុជាបាត់បង់ចំណូលជាតិមហិមារពីឱនភាពពាណិជ្ជកម្មជាមួយចិន ប្រជាជនកម្ពុជាត្រូវបង្ខំចិត្តធ្វើចំណាកស្រុកនិងអត់ឃ្លាតនៅលើគំនាតខុសគ្នាឆ្ងាយណាស់រវាងអ្នកមានអំណាចនិងប្រជាពលរដ្ឋទូទៅ។ ហ៊ុន-សែន កូនចៅ និងបក្សពួករបស់គាត់មានកប់ក្តោងដោយជួនកាលអាចយកលុយផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនជួយអ្នកក្រជាជាងយកលុយជាតិជួយទៀតនោះក៏អាចធ្វើបានដែរ ហើយក្រុមពួកគាត់នេះបានកំពុងទទួលផលប្រយោជន៌ពីការបន្តកាន់អំណាចដែលខ្វះភាពស្របច្បាប់ ដោយការទទួលយកថវិកាពីចិនធ្វើផ្លូវថ្នល់ដែលជាកម្ចីអោយប្រជាជនខ្មែរជាអ្នកសងជំពាក់វិញ ឬវិនិយោគវារីអគ្គីសនីដែលប៉ះពាល់ដល់បរិដ្ឋាននិងប្រជាជនរស់នៅក្បែរៗនោះ។ សមិទ្ធិផលផ្លូវថ្នល់និងវារីអគ្គីសនីនេះត្រូវបានស្ថានទូតចិនលើកមកអួតដាក់សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ដូចគ្នានឹងលោកហ៊ុន-សែនអួតប្រាប់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរថាជាសមិទ្ធិផលខ្លួនផងដែរ។

ប៉ុន្តែអ្វីដែលបារម្មណ៌បំផុតនោះ អំណាចហ៊ុន-សែនក្រោមការដាក់ជើងដោយចិនហាក់ដូចជាអណ្តែតនៅលើព្យុះក្រោមទឹកសព្វថ្ងៃនេះ…តើវាសនាកម្ពុជានឹងធ្លាក់ចុះដូចសម័យខ្មែរក្រហមក្រោមការគាំទ្ររបស់ចិនទៀតឬមួយយ៉ាងណា?

Beginning with truth speech about the huge trade deficit of Cambodia with China. Cambodian people must surrender to migrate to work in another countries for the survival and the huge gap of socioeconomic status of all Cambodian people particularly between general Cambodians and the family of powerful and patronage leaders. Hun Sen, his family and patrons have accumulated largess wealth and sometime they could transfer those personal wealth to support Cambodian people rather than national treasury. The powerful family and patrons have benefited from China’s support to renew their power although this power has been illegitimate. With such power aide, China boasted US about their road buildings and dams while those infrastructures are loans that shall burden all Cambodian citizens to repay, and the dams projects have devastated environment and local Cambodians exponentially. China’s boasting is at the same level of Hun Sen’s who has always manipulated his success to cheat Cambodian people.

But what has been so worried is Hun Sen’s power is just on the tray lifted up by China, in which this tray is floating on the water surface with circling storm underneath….shall destiny of Cambodia will fall into Khmer Rouge style under China’s aids again?

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[Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2019 at 3:20AM local time] *English below*
ប្រទេសចិនគឺជាដៃគូពាណិជ្ជកម្មធំជាងគេរបស់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា តែទំនាក់ទំនងនេះចំណេញខ្លាំងទៅខាងប្រទេសចិន។ ប្រហែល ៨៧% នៃទំនិញដោះដូរគ្នាគឺជាទំនិញនាំចូលមកពីប្រទេសចិន ដែលមិនជួយដល់ការធ្វើអោយមានការងារ ឬជួយដល់ឧស្សាហកម្មដូចទំនាក់ទំនងរបស់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាជាមួយសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ឬសហភាពអឺរ៉ុបនោះទេ។ នេះគ្រាន់តែជាផ្លូវមួយទៀតដែលប្រទេសកម្ពុជា បានងាកចេញពីយុទ្ធសាស្រ្តសេដ្ឋកិច្ចដែលមានតុល្យភាព និងលក្ខណៈចម្រុះច្រើន ទៅរកយុទ្ធសាស្រ្តសេដ្ឋកិច្ចដែលមានការពឹងផ្អែកច្រើនទៅលើប្រទេសចិន។ #fullpictureKH
China is Cambodia’s largest trade partner, but this relationship is heavily skewed in China’s favor. About 87% of trade are Chinese imports, which do not support jobs or industry in the same way Cambodia’s trade relationship with the United States or EU does. This is just one more way Cambodia has shifted from a more balanced and diverse economic approach to one more dependent on China. #fullpictureKH

[Posted on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 1:30am] មិត្តកម្ពុជាទាំងអស់ចូរប្រុងប្រយ័ត្ន! សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកកំពុងតែបង្កបញ្ហាម្តងទៀតជាមួយនឹងអ្វីដែលគេហៅថា បញ្ហាឱនភាពពាណិជ្ជកម្ម (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156316819443224&substory_index=0&id=79770243223។ វាគឺជារឿងធម្មតាទេ ព្រោះនៅក្នុងពិភពនៃសកលភាវូបនីយកម្ម សកម្មភាពពាណិជ្ជកម្មតែងតែធ្វើដំណើរហួសពីកម្រិតទ្វេភាគី។ នៅក្នុងករណីកម្ពុជាវិញ ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាបាននាំចូលនូវវត្ថុធាតុដើមវាយនភ័ណ្ឌ និងគ្រឿងម៉ាស៊ីនវាយនភ័ណ្ឌយ៉ាងច្រើនពីប្រទេសចិន សម្រាប់បម្រើវិស័យកាត់ដេរខណៈដែលខ្លួនបាននាំចេញផលិតផលសម្រេចទៅកាន់គ្រប់ទីកន្លែងទូទាំងសកលលោក ក្នុងនោះរួមមានទាំងសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក និងសហភាពអឺរ៉ុបផងដែរ។
នៅក្នុងករណីនេះ វាគឺជាភាពសកម្មបំផុតរបស់កម្មករខ្មែរ ដែលបម្រើក្នុងវិស័យឧស្សាហកម្ម។ ក្រៅពីនេះ ទំនាក់ទំនងរវាងរដ្ឋ និងរដ្ឋ គឺមិនមែនត្រឹមតែដើម្បីពាណិជ្ជកម្មនោះឡើយ។ អ្វីដែលគួរឲ្យកត់សម្គាល់ គឺប្រទេសចិនបានកសាងផ្លូវចំនួន៣១ខ្សែ និងស្ពានចំនួន ៨ សម្រាប់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ដែលមានប្រវែងសរុបជាង ៣,០០០គីឡូម៉ែត្រ។ចុះតើសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកវិញធ្លាប់បានជួយធ្វើអ្វីខ្លះដល់កម្ពុជាសម្រាប់វិស័យមួយនេះ? ចិនបានជួយកសាងស្ថានីយវារីអគ្គិសនីទាំងអស់នៅកម្ពុជា (ស្មើនឹង ៨០%នៃសមត្ថភាពផលិតថាមពលអគ្គិសនី ដែលមានដំណើរការនៅកម្ពុជា)។ ចុះតើសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកបានធ្វើអ្វីខ្លះដែរ?

Continue reading “Has new war between US and China in Cambodia reignited again?”
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