Cambodia is not a small not a weak nation
Moliere, the French actor and writer of the 17th century said that the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. Recently I got an email of a concern Cambodian suggesting that the United States should come ‘to defend the country‘ from the ‘Thai aggressions.’ Along the last 8 troublesome days of clashes between the two armies in Preah Vihia and Oddor Meanchey, I listened others saying that Cambodia would receive the support of Vietnam or China in the event of a war against Thailand. Of course, it came from some persons, but it shows a certain idea that Thailand is bigger and military superior to Cambodia that in fact is true. I do not have the single idea why a country like United States that bombed so heavily Cambodia during the 1960s, would come to ‘help‘ it now, in which way and with which interest – Cambodia has not meaningful reserves of oil, just to give an example, then it is not a Kuwait. Or how would be possible that Vietnam would get involved in a Cambodian-Thailand border dispute when it itself has had border disputes with Cambodia, although it is not said. What we have to learn in Cambodia is that no country of this planet would get involved in a war at least it has an evident interest. What Cambodia has to learn is to play with its own possibilities and believe in its own capacities. I think that Cambodia is not a small or weak country and that Thailand must learn to respect its neighbors.
The Cambodian-Thailand border dispute is a political puppet, especially in Bangkok. It is an evidence that not need much investigation that Thailand is today a political divided nation and it is desperate on it. The danger of a war would be rather a civil war inside Thailand. The government of Abhisit is really weak and under the rule of the military. Analyzing the speeches of the Thai premier during this week of tensions, you have the impression that he does not say nothing original and nothing that contradicts his generals. At the end, the 8 days of clashes were ended just by few minutes of talks between the high commanders of both armies. It is sure that the next Thai elections will be worthy of follow, because many things will change for the so sounded Cambodian-Thailand border dispute.
Another evidence is that Cambodia has rightful evidences of its sovereignty over the temples. The land around Preah Vihia temple was let by the 1962 verdict of the International Tribunal of Justice to be discussed in a bilateral dialog. It is true also that Cambodia was ready to such dialog until a new Thai government, backed by the ultra-nationalists Yellow T-shirts insisted in assume that such land was in fact Thai sovereignty. Therefore, it is not likely possible that Thailand, if leaded by a sound government and a civilized military, would go forward with any war without a real legal background. It is not the 17th century. The clashes at the border will remain a political puppet until the Kingdom of Thailand will be united again and we hope it will happen soon for the good of the regional stability.
By the Cambodian part, it is time that the country changes this perception of smallness. Again, this is not the middle age. In modern times, a country with a huge territory does not mean power by itself. Cambodia is bigger than some actual powerful countries like the Netherlands or Singapore. There are several African countries with huge territories but much poverty. As for sophisticated arsenal, it does not guarantee also that a country with powerful weapons would win a war. If that were true, United States had to win the War of Vietnam and it did not happen. Why a country like Cambodia that faced more than three decades of war and could endure it, though with so much suffering, is going to be intimidated by the interests of other nation? Cambodians know how to hold on their feet and so no fear.
Cambodia is a rich country. It is rich in resources. Its people is wonderful, intelligent, strong and they have vision. As it is written in the Constitution, it must be an Island of Peace and it must work day by day to recover its ancient glory. It does not need to become an Empire anymore. Modern empires are built by economy, development, equal opportunities for all its citizens, peace, ecological balance and wise management of the natural resources.