The academic analyst of contemporary international politics is something of a ship's captain trying to guide his craft safely between the Scylla of subsequent events, which may render the analyses of earlier happenings irrelevant, and the Charybdis of his choice of analytical tools, which may foreclose explanations that are later seen to be more appropriate.He has the advantages neither of the political journalist, who can alter his reports frequently enough to tie them to the specific situations they purport to explain, nor of the historian, whose task is to lay bare the causal connections among events which have already concluded. Instead, he appears to be forever trapped in some limbo between the past and the future, doing his utmost to discern a connection between the two but seeing through a glass darkly. If the analyst of current international affairs has a unique perspective to offer his reader, it is the latter's ability to judge for himself the validity of the author's projection of the future on the basis of past events. One of the main tasks of the political scientist dealing with international politics must be to show, then, how past behaviors affect present situations and future outcomes. His analyses are vulnerable to the passage of time; but that very passage of time may show both the author and his reader how and why his projections succeeded or failed.
It is in the foregoing spirit that the following study of the Cambodian segment of the still active Indochina war is presented.Perhaps these pages will assist the reader in understanding the major actors—what their goals are, what each is willing to settle for—and thus help him reconstruct in his own mind the calculations that they have brought to bear on their decisions.
The author wishes to express his gratitude to several individuals and institutions which provided both resources and time to make this study possible. Particular thanks go to Professors Mark Zacher and R. S. Milne of the University of British Columbia, Albert Eldridge of Duke University, and Vincent Davis of the University of Kentucky for their encouragement and helpful criticisms.The author is also indebted to the University of Kentucky and the Institute of International Relations of the University of British Columbia for their financial support of the completion of the study.A sabbatical appointment as research associate professor in the Institute of International Relations at the University of British Columbia provided the time to complete the manuscript.
Finally, but by no means least in importance, thanks go to my wife, Charlann, and son, Alex, for their good-natured forbearance in sharing husband and father with his mistress these many months—a Remington portable typewriter.
S. W. S.
August 1973 . . .