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Old 2008-11-24, 12:58   Link #1
risingstar3110
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History: Cambodia and Polpot

First, i want to state the reasons of why i put up this topic:
- it puzzles me (after reading some Japanese foreign relationship information)
- reading several topics here makes me realising that: many of us have good knowledge at international affairs
- we all comes from various countries and various cultures, ethnics background makes the discussion to be more diverse and portray general "public" opinions
- it's an anime forum and we have same interest, so hopefully no grudges would be hold over other's opinion (as i experienced it sometime in other forums)



Ok, back to the main topics.
It's general to know that Polpot's regime was considered as a genocide regime that killed 1.2 to 3 millions people(depend on sources) within its 4 years of existence (1975-1979), means up to 25% of its population and equivalent in number to 10-25% of Holocaust's victims.
But if i am not wrong, Polpot's regime still hold UN seat even after it was brought down, and still have their our military camps in Thailand under UN's name up to the 1990s . They were also supplied with Chinese and Western weapons (many sources and documentary films stated "by China and CIA", but it may not be solid proofs) during that time, so they can retake control from Vietnamese-installed regime of Heng Samrin.

My question is: why such things were let to be happend?

Certainly there is such thing called "sovereign right", but an exile regime wouldn't stand without being supported (and hold it seats in UN). You may stated that similar things happened in China, or in Soviet. But it was never in such scale and many people actually demonising Stalin and Mao by blaming conflict and starvation victims into them. In the case of Cambodia, they have mass grave, killing-fields, and many were executed in very gruesome methods.


Then in the same topic, we knows that Vietnam(SRV) invaded Democratic Kampuchea(or Polpot'sregiem) and overthrew it. But 20 months before that, the DK have invaded SRV several times and massacred large number of Vietnamese civilians (up to tens thousands people were recorded to be killed as some villages of 3000 were wiped out with only 2-3 survivors) and any diplomatic or invasion warning were rejected by DK.
It's never right to invading a country, but would it be more justified in this case for Vietnam to attack when obviously they have to try everything before put up a full scale attacks against China's ally (which leads to a short but bloody Sino–Vietnamese War later)?

PS: Btw, it's a dark topic, but don't take things so serious. A short comment is fine
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Old 2008-11-24, 15:14   Link #2
Shadow Kira01
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The reason why people around the world are not too concerned about the case of mass-murdering in Cambodia, because it doesn't play a huge role in international affairs. Unlike the Soviet Union and Communist China, where their economy and military powers can cause an impact to the world, Cambodia doesn't have such influence.

Likewise, the same situation as Iraq and Afganistan is actually occuring over many countries in the continent of Africa, yet the US did not send any troops. The Middle East has oil mines which serves as a common interest for the world to pursue, whereas Africa does not have any oil mines.

In other words, many of the military conflicts around the world right now could have been prevented, yet countries with power chose not to do so, because there is no justified reason to send your own country's soldiers to a risky battlefield. This is merely a general concept. I don't have the sufficient amount of knowledge regarding Cambodian history to make this post any better. Sorry. (-_-)"

Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
First, i want to state the reasons of why i put up this topic:
- reading several topics here makes me realising that: many of us have good knowledge at international affairs
- we all comes from various countries and various cultures, ethnics background makes the discussion to be more diverse and portray general "public" opinions
- it's an anime forum and we have same interest, so hopefully no grudges would be hold over other's opinion (as i experienced it sometime in other forums)
Totally agree.
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Last edited by Shadow Kira01; 2008-11-24 at 15:21. Reason: added suggestion
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Old 2008-11-24, 15:18   Link #3
Thingle
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Simple Answer.

There's no oil in Cambodia.

People are motivated not by ideas, but by material gain. If there's nothing to be gained from putting your soldiers' life at risk peacekeeping, why bother?

Iraq was lucky.
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Old 2008-11-24, 17:16   Link #4
Nervous Venus
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Ah, my father survived this regime, actually. I was never really interested to know what happened, and he had no interest in telling me. But I knew enough to know that things ran deeper than "lack of interest" or " lack of material gain," as the US was not simply ignoring what happened, but supporting the Khmer Rouge. This means, giving them "aid", "shelter", etc. That reeks a lot more than "turning a blind eye," because there was nothing to gain out of it.

The Vietnamese were communists. No matter how atrocious, vile, or disgusting the Khmer Rouge were, they were against the Vietnamese, and the US were against the Vietnamese. There were some benefits; they just never bothered to tell us

Oh, some interwebs digging brought this up:

Quote:
For more than a decade, official Western support for Deng Xiaoping's China spilled over into support for his protégé Pol Pot. Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recalls that in 1979, "I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him, but China could." According to Brzezinski, the United States "winked, semi-publicly" at Chinese and Thai aid to the Khmer Rouge. At the same time, international aid to the Khmer Rouge on the Thai border was pushed through by United States officials.
You should read some Kiernan. I think I actually bought his books.

History: Cambodia's Twisted Path to Justice
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Old 2008-11-24, 17:27   Link #5
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
Ah, my father survived this regime, actually. I was never really interested to know what happened, and he had no interest in telling me. But I knew enough to know that things ran deeper than "lack of interest" or " lack of material gain," as the US was not simply ignoring what happened, but supporting the Khmer Rouge. This means, giving them "aid", "shelter", etc. That reeks a lot more than "turning a blind eye," because there was nothing to gain out of it.
Welcome to Power 101. You don't actually want people believing there's another way to do things than your own.

The US did something very similar to our country in the 70s (though not in such scale).
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Old 2008-11-24, 18:18   Link #6
ganbaru
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The lack of strategics ressources may explain in part the lack of interest, but it's not only that.

-The (amerianc) public, after the vietnam war, didn't not want ot hear of that region.
-There was nothing than could attact much public attention before PolPot
( the only reason we still talk about Tibet is because of the DalaiLama and those ''artists'' favourable to his cause)
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Old 2008-11-24, 22:07   Link #7
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
My question is: why such things were let to be happend?
Because of a combination of lack of geopolitical interest and personal delusion about what Pol Pot's regime represented.

As others have noted, because of the Vietnam War, Americans became sick of the entire region and did not want any further entanglements in the region. In fact, Nixon's expansion of American bombing into Cambodia, in the context of the Vietnam War, is roundly condemned today. So, in a sense, there was considerable international sympathy for any indigenous Cambodian government that tried to rebuild its country. Unfortunately, that government turned out to be Pol Pot's.

It's not just Americans who failed to understand the true nature of the regime. Some Swedes, for example, also were.

Repetent Khmer Rouge fan returns to Cambodia
Quote:
Phnom Penh (Nov 18, 2008): A Swedish man who supported the Khmer Rouge movement has returned to Cambodia for the first time in 30 years.

Mr Gunnar Bergstrom was part of a group which toured the country and dined with the Khmer Rouge leadership in 1978. He now says he regrets what he did — and plans to apologise to survivors of the Pol Pot era.

The last time Mr Bergstrom came to Phnom Penh, there was virtually nobody in the city. The Khmer Rouge had evacuated the population to the countryside. Many of them died there — from malnutrition, disease or summary execution.

But Mr Bergstrom's Swedish support group saw the Khmer Rouge in a different light. They thought the ultra-Maoist organisation had liberated Cambodia from imperialist Western powers.

On their carefully controlled tour in 1978, the Swedes saw only the positive side of the revolution — factories, hospitals, and smiling peasants.

Even then, Mr Bergstrom says, he felt troubled by the stories which were starting to emerge.

"There were times when the doubts crept into my mind, but I wouldn't express them to the group of the other people until later. But you shouldn't exaggerate it. I was crazy enough to support the Khmer Rouge when I came home, and I quieted that voice," he said.

Now Mr Bergstrom is trying to make up for not speaking out at the time. He is staging an exhibition of his photographs from the time, called "Living Hell". This time, he will be addressing public forums for survivors of the Khmer Rouge era.

And he is prepared for strong reactions. "I can answer questions and will have to deal with any reaction I meet," he said.

- BBC News
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Old 2008-11-25, 00:13   Link #8
Lathdrinor
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The US wanted to punish and contain Vietnam. So did China. They saw Pol Pot as a means to accomplish that end. For this reason, they ignored both his monstrous nature and the importance of human rights. It should further be understood that during the Cold War the West was not as liberal-humanist as it is today - the US, for example, often supported brutal dictators (like Saddam) when it served American interests to do so. Actually, the US is still doing that, and so is China and Russia.
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Old 2008-11-25, 04:56   Link #9
risingstar3110
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It's good to read everyone's comments on the issue.

Do not have high expectation but still hopes that UN and the superpowers behind would put up a more righteous decision if something like that ever happens again.

But then, who knows if something like that may still happens around now in some place on the world
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Old 2008-11-25, 05:24   Link #10
LeoXiao
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China supported Cambodia's government heavily, so that's why the UN thing ended up the way it did. This demonstrates how ineffective the UN is at getting anything done.
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Old 2008-11-25, 10:31   Link #11
Shadow Kira01
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Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
China supported Cambodia's government heavily, so that's why the UN thing ended up the way it did. This demonstrates how ineffective the UN is at getting anything done.
You know, the United Nation is controlled by 5 nations: Britain, France, China, US, Russia. The situation back then..

Britain is a loyal ally of the US and are both enemies of the Communists: Soviet Union + China. France on the other hand is one of the first Marxist nations and also don't like the idea of getting controlled and pushed around by the US all the time, so the French naturally took the side of Communist China and the Soviet Union. More over, it was also related to the WWII incident in which France was air-raided by the US and Britain over German troops, even though France had hope that they won't bomb their lands, since they were all allies, yet they did.

Communist China had supported the government of Cambodia, while the Soviet Union don't care since it was irrelevant to them. Both the US and Britain wouldn't bother with the situation, since Cambodia's influence in the world is minor and also mainly that there is no oil. This leaves France which is also unrelated to such a military conflict. The other nations, members of the United Nations wouldn't have a say under such a circumstance, would they?
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Old 2008-11-25, 11:20   Link #12
Thingle
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In 20 years I'll listen more to the BRIC countries and what they have to say about foreign policy.
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Old 2008-11-25, 11:28   Link #13
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Originally Posted by Shadow Minato
Britain is a loyal ally of the US and are both enemies of the Communists: Soviet Union + China. France on the other hand is one of the first Marxist nations and also don't like the idea of getting controlled and pushed around by the US all the time, so the French naturally took the side of Communist China and the Soviet Union. More over, it was also related to the WWII incident in which France was air-raided by the US and Britain over German troops, even though France had hope that they won't bomb their lands, since they were all allies, yet they did.
What are you talking about?

(Free/Post-War) France was never angry about any imaginary allied bombing against it by the Western allies, and it was never, ever a Marxist nation, despite a historically very powerful left wing. There was one moment that came remotely close to what you portray during WW2, and that was when the British attacked the French navy after France surrendered in fear of Vichy France using this navy to support the Germans' naval operations. Vichy France was angry, the common Frenchman couldn't care less, given that they weren't very pleased with the German puppets (French resistance was very strong and provided the allies with crucial intelligence throughout the war, though not very militant themselves unlike the Yugoslavians' epic La Resistance), and they cheered the Allies whole-heartedly when the landings in Normandy and Southern France happened. There is no resentment by France against the Allies for World War 2, unless you count some stupid power-play among Free French leaders down over in Africa.

The "issue" with France's "rivalry" came post-war: De Gaulle was a French nationalist, and as President of France for the Fifth Republic which he became following the Algerian crisis through what's essentially a coup d'etat, he didn't like Anglo-American "domination" of the First World. Kind of offended his gigantic ego I think.



But back to topic: the support for Pol Pot is both communist containment (an objective that "justified" countless US-supported atrocities in countless places throughout the Cold War -- and one of the reasons the Savior of the Free World is so hated today in said many places) and other geopolitical "concerns." That the communist Chinese would support Khmer Rouge against communist Vietnam is "internal" politics in the communist world as much as the US attempt to break the domino theory though. The ridiculousness of it all is ignoring the genocides because the monster was an enemy of Communist Vietnam. The oil thing is non sequitur at best.
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Old 2008-11-25, 11:29   Link #14
Thingle
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Pol Pot studied in France if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 2008-11-25, 13:28   Link #15
Lathdrinor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
It's good to read everyone's comments on the issue.

Do not have high expectation but still hopes that UN and the superpowers behind would put up a more righteous decision if something like that ever happens again.

But then, who knows if something like that may still happens around now in some place on the world
It's still happening. See places like Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Rwanda, and Kosovo. The days of Communist lunacy are largely gone, so we're back to the old mold of ethnic cleansing, autocratic oppression, and national "self-interest." The big powers (the US, China, Russia) are still largely involved and are still, in many cases, putting self-interests before human rights. I wouldn't be surprised if, looking back in twenty years, we have another "WTF was the UN thinking/doing" moment regarding the events that are transpiring today.

Out of all the emerging powers, the one that I am most hopeful of is India (though even they have some serious issues, ie religious violence). Unfortunately, India is not part of the UNSC, which is still pretty much divided into Cold War blocs (Russia + China vs. US + Britain + France).
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Old 2008-11-25, 13:44   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
It's good to read everyone's comments on the issue.

Do not have high expectation but still hopes that UN and the superpowers behind would put up a more righteous decision if something like that ever happens again.

But then, who knows if something like that may still happens around now in some place on the world
it happen in the Congo

it happen in Bosneia

It is happening in Darfur and all parts of Africa.

nothing will get done till afterwards, no matter what the world say about human rights and international law. none of them will get invovle until their is a clear interest for them to do so. All the pretty words are just that pretty words.
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Old 2008-11-25, 17:40   Link #17
Shadow Kira01
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
What are you talking about?

(Free/Post-War) France was never angry about any imaginary allied bombing against it by the Western allies, and it was never, ever a Marxist nation, despite a historically very powerful left wing. There was one moment that came remotely close to what you portray during WW2, and that was when the British attacked the French navy after France surrendered in fear of Vichy France using this navy to support the Germans' naval operations. Vichy France was angry, the common Frenchman couldn't care less, given that they weren't very pleased with the German puppets (French resistance was very strong and provided the allies with crucial intelligence throughout the war, though not very militant themselves unlike the Yugoslavians' epic La Resistance), and they cheered the Allies whole-heartedly when the landings in Normandy and Southern France happened. There is no resentment by France against the Allies for World War 2, unless you count some stupid power-play among Free French leaders down over in Africa.
This is what I call "propaganda". France had always been a marxist nation only until very recently. It is also well-known that the French and British colonization rivalry had existed prior to the world wars. France has 52 colonies and Britain had 51. During WWII, the alliance did bomb France due to the fact that France was already taken over by German soldiers and was considered as occupied. The rivalry between France and Britain had gone a few centuries into the past, while the disagreement between France and the US occurred after WWII. Do you even know which nation helped Communist China succeed in terms of their nuclear bombing abilities? China originally failed in their nuclear tests, but succeeded after receiving aid from a female French scientist. More over, France was one of the first nations that featured a communist regime. Although, this is all now in the past. France is now a democratic society that sides with NATO. Previous allied bombings and its marxist revolution should be left behind.
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Old 2008-11-25, 17:46   Link #18
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
France had always been a marxist nation
lol

France? The mother of the bourgeoisie revolution?

Surely you jest.

Quote:
More over, France was one of the first nations that featured a communist regime.
lol communism.

Go back to history class. There wasn't even a democracy set up in France when the Paris Commune had its fledging life--and that's what the workers pushed for. No Marxist vindication of any kind (though Marx obviously partly supported this uprising).
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Old 2008-11-25, 18:45   Link #19
ganbaru
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Guy, are you sure you aren't mistaking communism and marxist with socialism?
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Old 2008-11-25, 19:28   Link #20
WanderingKnight
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Guy, are you sure you aren't mistaking communism and marxist with socialism?
Oh, I'm sure they're not. Everyone knows that socialists are beard-wearing terrorists that all they want is to benefit from other people's work.
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