Magazine article The Nation

Khmer Ruse

Magazine article The Nation

Khmer Ruse

Article excerpt

After Peter Jennings's ABC News special on Cambodia in April, there was a two-hour panel discussion during which Stephen Solarz, the Democrats' Mr. Cambodia, demanded proof of who was responsible for diverting to the Khmer Rouge aid intended for the. non-Communist resistance. Give me names, the Congressman cried, I'll call hearings! As the documentary made clear, the U.S. role in reviving Pol Pot's army goes much deeper than the activities of some rogue operative handing out M-16s behind the Bangkok embassy. The program probably helped make a shift in policy inevitable, and the change came July 18, when the State Department withdrew recognition from the coalition dominated by Pol Pot and announced that it would move toward direct talks with Vietnam.

Motives: Dubious. The policy was altered only because of the rapid advances of the Khmer Rouge since Vietnamese troops pulled out last September. That led to growing diplomatic pressure on the Administration and to cold feet in Congress. Simultaneously, all the old rationales for U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia vanished. The Chinese are cosseted allies, the Vietnamese are out, and the Soviet Union has lost interest. Yet there is still bipartisan agreement that the Hun Sen government in Phnom Penh is a Vietnamese puppet regime"; right-wing fantasies of P.O.W.s alive in the jungles remain a powerful brake on any sensible policy; and in the same week as the change in Cambodia policy was announced, the United States christened a new warship the Hue City. One day, Vietnam may again become a country; for now it remains a war, and a state of mind. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.