Cambodia-US relations will only worsen as Washington continues to make demands.
Written by Paul Antonopoulos, independent geopolitical analyst
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered his country’s military to destroy or submit to warehouses all weapons that were produced in the US. The reason for such a harsh reaction by the Cambodian leader is because of provocative actions and further threats of sanctions from US authorities.
The White House has decided to punish Cambodia for daring to build their country’s military with Chinese support. What infuriates Washington is not so much the fact that the port of Ream in southern Cambodia is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, but rather their belief that the Chinese are building a new naval base on a site that was recently constructed with American funding, something that Cambodian officials vehemently deny.
Despite this denial, Washington has imposed a series of sanctions against Cambodia, including an embargo on the supply of American weapons and military equipment.
Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page: “The US embargo on the supply of weapons is a warning to the next generation of Cambodian citizens, to the leaders of the government. If you want your own independent defence bloc, don’t use American weapons.”
Cambodia’s leader, according to some sources, dreams that one day his eldest son, Lieutenant General Hun Manet, will become his successor. Manet is currently deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and Hun Sen believes that he is a future prime minister. In this way, if the US continues to sanction and antagonise Cambodia, the split between the two countries could become generational.
In modern international law, only sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council are recognized. Unilateral sanctions, such as those imposed by the US against a plethora of countries, are illegal according to international law, something that countries like Russia and China repeatedly highlight. With this in mind, the sanctions the US imposed against Cambodia were unilateral, and therefore illegal.
None-the-less, like other countries, Cambodia has the opportunity to buy weapons from elsewhere, and therefore the embargo is unlikely to affect the impoverished Southeast Asian country in a major way. It is recalled that Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the Southeast Asia region and does not procure major weapons like advanced frigates or fourth/fifth generation fighter jets. Therefore, Cambodia’s military needs are modest and can be easily supplied from other countries.
Southeast Asian countries are a favoured destination for Russian, Chinese, Israeli and French military suppliers. The US lost its monopoly on a variety of products in the region and it appears that it is difficult for the Americans to acknowledge this bitter truth.
It is recalled that in 2016, the US refused to supply weapons to the Philippines, citing human rights violations in the country. At the time, the Filipino president asked China and Russia for help and his country received new weaponry. However, it appears once again that the US, despite being under a new administration, has not learned its lesson that countries will just simply move onto another supplier if the only way they can procure new military equipment is with conditions attached that dictates their domestic and foreign policies.
Cambodia is a minnow state within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but it took over the chairmanship of the bloc last week from Brunei. On December 6, Hun Sen stated that Myanmar should be entitled to attend the Association’s forum as a member of the ASEAN family. He also announced plans to meet with the ruler of Myanmar, General Min Aung Hlaing, saying: “If I don’t work with the leader, who can I work with?”
Although it is unlikely that there will be a substantive breakthrough in overcoming the crisis in Myanmar during Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN, Phnom Penh has a greater willingness and ability than Brunei to coordinate action on Myanmar, especially as it does not place preconditions on meeting with General Hlaing like the Bruneians did.
Last week while on a trip to Malaysia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington plans to impose further sanctions against Myanmar’s military leaders. Blinken did not rule out the possibility of assessing the actions of the Myanmar military against citizens as genocide. At the same time, Washington recently announced additional sanctions against organisations and individuals linked to Myanmar’s military.
With Cambodia holding the ASEAN chairmanship for the next mandate period and having ambitions to try and resolve the Myanmar crisis, it will surely lead to another point of tension with Washington. The US is trying to break China’s influence across Southeast Asia, and this has directly led to tensions with Cambodia, the Philippines and Myanmar.
This suggests that the problems between Washington and Phnom Penh will not subside anytime soon. Rather, off the back of US weapon embargoes and Cambodia’s intentions to reconcile Myanmar and ASEAN, relations will only continue to deteriorate, especially as Cambodia continues to unapologetically strengthen its relations with China.
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It is for sure mostly symbolic but they showing the hostile imperialist US the Finger.
Blinken did not rule out the possibility of assessing the actions of the isrealhelli military against PALESTINIANS citizens as genocide?
I will believe that when i see it,Blinken is a fanatic.
All those fanatical fascist NeoCon lunatics such as Blinken Sullivan or Nuland are Not the sharpest knifes in the drawer….they always screw up big time w/o any consequences for them but leaving only death destruction chaos misery and oceans of blood behind.
Blinken is a tribe member, just like Noodleman (“Nuland”).
No one in the top US political circle gets there without the support of Israel. Since when do you bite the hand that feeds you.
Gotta love the censors on this comment board.
Just write a letter, then post comment, after that click on the button manage comment(right in the corner) and edit your comment.
You should be able to write anything down with this tactic, i hope i could help u.
Funny how the Work From Home spammers never get sensored here.
The empire has become retarded.
Which one are you talking about? We already know the u.s. is but destroying equipment you already own just to make a statement is pretty retarded too.
The inhuman US imperialist savages can $uck on some east-Asian coq! “Blinken did not rule out the possibility of assessing the actions of the Myanmar military against citizens as genocide.” The idiotic warmongers keep waving the word “genocide” all over the place without any actual proof, it’s almost as hilarious as it’s pathetic! The worst genociders are the main NATO countries followed by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Those Asian countries are hated by the US but loved by Israel. What does that mean?
The failure of the U.S. Military Industrial Congressional Complex foreign policy is clearly highlighted here. The U.S. has no business interfering in other nation’s affairs. But it continues to happen, since the greasing of the skids of the deep state must continue. Economic sanctions are joke, and do nothing but harm the citizenry of the targeted country. Illegal sanctions against Myanmar, Cambodia, or anyone else accomplishes nothing. The rulers of those countries will not be ousted by them. They will just double down on whatever domestic or foreign policies they have.
Only sanction imposed by the UN are legal. Unilateral sanctions by the US are illegal … such as the sanction against Iran , Venezuela , Belarus , Cuba , Iraq , Syria and others . They only work because the US controls the international money payment system , SWIFT , which countries must use to pay each other for imports/exports. Yes Russia and China are working on an alternative which is taking years which shows how difficult it is to circumvent the US.
The QFS is in the process of being set up…..this will de-throne the US, Swift etc forever.
Well i get you don’t wanna get sanctioned but why would you destroy you’re own weapons, its not as if its gonna affect the Americans, its you’re own weapons, youre weakening youre self by doing this, dumb ass needs to get a ass whooping.
A wise man. Aside from that those rusty toys and tincans wont be missed. Its worth to mention, that during the Vietnam war CIA black ops death squads ventured into Cambodia and Laos, killing thousends of inocent people to starve the Vietcong from any potential food source. They also bombed them on a regular basis.
When the U.S. lost the Vietnam war, Kissinger and the CIA toppled the legitim govt in Cambodia, putting the Khmer Rouge in power. Whom genocided 5million Cambodians.
They did that because Pol Pot promised to invade Vietnam. It was a revenge. But Vietnam won. The genocide ended. Pol pot and a few of his supporters escaped hiding in the jungle. But CIA support didn’t end. They sent weapons, meds, food, weapons, landmines, instructors on how to create havok. Both the U.S. and UK. are guilty of warcrimes, genocide and terrorism.
The U.S. and British landmines the Khmer rouge terrorists deployed, are still killing people to this very day. Only because the U.S. lost the war in Vietnam, which was a bad idea to begin with And this country is lecturing others about freedom, democracy and decency. I rest my case.
Pol Pot was communist just like Viet Cong.
Cold War has ended. lol