Sihanouk, Norodom
October 1970
Foreign Affairs;Oct70, Vol. 49 Issue 1, p1
This article argues that the U.S. government should respect the Khmers' resistance in Cambodia instead of treating it as hostile. In April 1970 U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered U.S. armed forces stationed in South Vietnam to invade Cambodia with orders to wipe out the Vietcong sanctuaries there. In appraising that invasion U.S. Senator William Fulbright stated that the purpose of the proxy military campaign is not merely to eliminate communist border sanctuaries but to sustain the military régime of Lon Nol in Phnompenh. The communist sanctuaries in fact occupied an infinitesimal part of Cambodia before the invasion, occupied a third of the country in the course of the invasion and occupy up to two-thirds of the country in the wake of the withdrawal of the U.S. troops. Without waiting for the end of hostilities, U.S. diplomacy has been very active in creating a Phnompenh-Saigon-Bangkok-Vientiane Axis. It is an axis,the objective of which is to keep the countries of the region in the U.S. camp and to prevent their peoples from embracing communism or socialism. The U.S. has valid reasons for defending itself against the propagation of communism in Asia and most particularly in Southeast Asia, if one looks at it from the standpoint of the highest interest of the U.S. alone, of its influence and its strategic position in the world. In the face of the pro-U.S. Phnompenh-Saigon-Bangkok-Vientiane Axis there was formed, in April 1970, the Axis of the revolutionary peoples of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China and North Korea. On April 25, 1970 a Joint Declaration from the Summit Conference of Indochinese Peoples was issued. Certain Western circles seem to be banking on racial antagonism between the Khmers and their neighbors to make it impossible for them to get together, so that they will thus always remain weak and will consequently feel the need to have themselves protected by a Western imperialist power.


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